This is a really hard post to write. Why? Because I feel that I will be judged for it. But it’s real. Real to me. And real to many. So, I feel the need to share.
The other day, I wrote a post called “Hope.” I won’t rewrite it because you can read it if you’re interested. In it, I explained that I finally have hope because of a new doctor that took an hour and a half to get to know me, and he has a solid plan.
The next day, a friend told me that she really liked the post and was hopeful for me as well. It was in that moment that I realized something: I didn’t talk about Christ at all in my post about hope.
Well isn’t that anti-Christian of me? I felt horrible guilt in that moment. Jesus, who is the author of my life, the creator of this beautiful world, my Savior, didn’t make it into a post about hope.
My friend said that it was kind of implied. But was it? I talked all about medicine and counseling and supportive friends and family. But I didn’t mention Christ.
It was in that moment that I realized something: sometimes I simply forget about Him when it comes to mental illness.
I saw my brother struggle with this life-threatening illness for years and years. Countless times we prayed, sought God, read His Word, begged, pleaded for Him to take it away or at least give him relief. And after many years of this, the terrible illness ended up taking his life.
And now it’s a battle that I fight every day. In the middle of the panic attacks that cause my heart to race, my face to flush, my whole body to be shaky, to feel like I’m going to black out. In the middle of the depression that makes it difficult to do anything but sleep (yet I’m told I can’t take naps). The depression that makes me want to do anything to find relief. The depression that makes it difficult to find motivation to even shower most days, let alone do laundry, dishes, clean the house, do homework with the kids, make dinner, be pleasant around others, bathe the kids, pray with them every night, make sure they brush their teeth and get their meds, and receive lots of love and affection from me. The depression that helps me understand why my brother couldn’t make it anymore (even though I wouldn’t take my own life, I understand why he did some days).
I simply forget that He is there to help me through this some days. Most days.
I was chatting with a friend last night that also has a chronic illness and has to take meds. Despite her medicine, she still has a lot of the symptoms from the illness. Just like I do.
I was reminded of a few things in that conversation.
First, God can use ALL things for His glory, even if it’s not necessarily something He wants us to have to suffer through. This world is broken. Once sin entered into it, so did sickness and death. It’s inevitable. Some days we will not understand why. And that’s okay. But. He can still use it for His glory and to help others. I have come to the conclusion that I suffer with the illness that I do so that I can help others. Christ has a purpose in the midst of the suffering. Even if I never heal from it on this earth, He can use it for good.
Second, I’m human, and in the midst of suffering, sometimes it’s hard to see God’s hand in it. That doesn’t mean He’s not there. It doesn’t mean He won’t help me get through the day. It doesn’t mean that He doesn’t love me. It doesn’t mean that He doesn’t want me to be healed. It just mean that may not be what happens. And I may never, ever understand.
If you’re struggling to understand God’s plan in the midst of suffering today, know that you’re not alone. Know that it’s okay. And know that despite what our meager brains can comprehend, there’s something greater in store because of it. We may never see it on this earth, but it will all make more sense one day.