I’ve battled mental illness my entire life. I was in the sixth grade when I first tried to kill myself. I’ve spent decades wanting relief from a life I didn’t want to be living. I’ve also been a Christian my entire life. I wish all the “name it and claim it” people were right. I wish God was a happy Santa Clause that answers our prayers with rainbows and sunshine. I can’t count the number of nights I spent crying out to God in pain, begging Him to answer my prayers. I would wake in the morning with yesterday’s make up washed away with my tears, the emptiness in my heart widening.
But I’m not writing these words lost in the pain I once felt. God has answered my prayers but in ways I couldn’t have imagined. I didn’t pray to God and get the answer I thought I deserved. I still have debilitating depression. I still battle psychosis. But I can see God at work through the pain. I’m no longer swallowed up by the dark. Now I’m able to live in the light – not all the time, but enough to keep me going.
God has answered my prayer with people around me that love and support me. He’s using me in ministering to others with mental illness. And I have a grandson on the way – my heart’s cry for over a decade. My physical health still leaves me in pain most of my day as my gastroparesis worsens. I still cry out to God, but I finally see Him working, no longer behind the scenes preparing me, but opening doors for me to joyously walk through.
Wherever you are in your walk – barely able to walk or skipping through life with a smile on your face – know you are not alone. If you’re struggling, know God loves you and is by your side no matter the circumstances. Know no matter how hard life may be right now, it can get better. There may never be rainbows and sunshine, but His arms are wrapped around you. You are never alone no matter how often it feels like you are. Hang on.