“For more than a week I was close to the gates of death and hell. I trembled in all my members. Christ was wholly lost.”
“. . .the content of the depressions was always the same, the loss of faith that God is good and that he is good to me.”
According to his famous biographer, Roland Bainton, he found himself “subject to recurrent periods of exaltation and depression of spirit.”
In 1572, the reformer who penned
“A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” Martin Luther (1483-1546)
I was what most people would consider a “good girl”. I went to private Christian school for middle school and made good grades. No one could have guessed that I had a serious struggle with my sexual identity that started in the fifth grade. From the age of ten, and for about ten years I struggled with a sexual addiction from sixteen to nineteen. Only a few days after my nineteenth birthday my father died suddenly of a pancreatic attack; six months later my mother was hospitalized with deadly food poisoning that ended in diagnosable typhoid fever, she came near death countless times with fevers reaching 109 degrees Fahrenheit. I was lost and spiraled into a life of promiscuity and witchcraft until I became ill with an unknown and painful sickness…and it was here, at the end of my rope, that I found Jesus.
Though I grew up in a Christian home, I was often never given reason as to why things that were “wrong” were wrong, or not right…I wasn’t aware of “consequences” in the spirit realm, or that there was a battle for my soul. I was told that Jesus loved me, but I never connected His love with His death. Sure I heard it, but I never heeded it. So when I hit puberty and discovered my body was “changing”, I gave little effort to control my desires and guard my heart. I did not know Jesus’ love for my heart and looked to men. By the time I was fifteen I had become addicted to pornography and masturbation. This is also the year I met my first boyfriend who was equally clueless about his body, or the consequences of sexual immorality.
Somewhere in me I knew that something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. We had been together only a month. We noticed our relationship was in turmoil and set some physical boundaries for about a year; however we did not keep it for long and were reckless in our physical involvement and behavior that destroyed our relationship. While we were together I lost my father and thought surely God did not care about me. Friends and family members urged us to maintain purity and boundaries that would have protected us, even presenting Biblical truths in their arguments, but it made no difference to us. Our relationship became entirely based on sexual experimentation so that we eventually broke up when he moved away. No physicality – no relationship.
In this path of sin, I started to have symptoms of what I thought was an STD. I went from doctor to doctor to find out what was wrong. Nothing ever came of the tests, but I was in constant pain, so much so I could barely walk. I stopped having sex, not because I wanted to, but because I was no longer able to even go to the bathroom without pain.
Weeks later, my mother became deathly ill. I remember the night she passed out while holding my hand. Much of the time after this was a blur, but I remember unintentionally losing 20 pounds as I went through a period of stress and depression while she recovered. The only contact I had was an elderly woman who called herself a “spirit guide”. She seemed like a wonderful friend to have, even coming to the hospital and visiting me as I cared for my mother. Slowly though, she introduced me to a life a witchcraft and sorcery. I had no clue what was happening, until my sister presented the Gospel of Jesus to me in a way I had not heard before… “He loves you, as you are”. As I am, I thought, with an unknown illness, depressed, suicidal, and lonely…as I am? I felt I was unable to please or satisfy any human being, let alone God.
I cannot pinpoint the exact day, but I know that over the next six months Jesus left His throne in heaven, came to where I was, and rescued me. I didn’t even notice I was healed until I realized I was functioning without pain months later. I didn’t even notice I had been saved until I found myself telling someone about my experience, my healing, and my new found joy. To this day, I fight with my flesh that cries out for me to meet its “needs”. I struggle with keeping my thoughts and actions pure, but I am nothing like I was. I have been celibate and single for over five years since I started following Christ. The years have been hard as the battle in my mind continues, and who knows if I will ever have another relationship or anything else in that arena…but I trust that God is faithful. My body still yells, but the voice of God is LOUDER!
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Take the MIC- Mental Illness with Christ. This is a site for those who have suffered a mental illness to share about what Christ means and has meant for them and to discuss topics related to mental illness and Christianity.
This is also a place where friends and family members can share, read, and discuss what Jesus Christ has meant to them as they walk through the difficulties associated with mental illness.
Sometimes it is hard to find a place to share about one’s powerful testimony of Christ in the midst of mental illness because of the fear of stigma, being misunderstood, or because it may not be our own story but that of a close friend or family member. Here is one place you can take the MIC and share – even anonymously- but yet perhaps find some connection with others going through the same things. Mental illness is a term used to describe any number of diagnoses found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the issues surrounding. Mental illness may be no discriminator of age, race, socio-economic status, religion, or gender.
2 Corinthians 2:6-7
If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
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