** This particular post is very personal for me and I am reluctant to share for fear of how other folks will react. I am going to share one example of something personal God has convicted me about because the Lord told me to and because it is the best picture I can offer up. The issue of our faith is what God wants to challenge here – not a stance on mental health or medication. **
Growing up I dealt with sexual abuse ( no one in my family) and Satan used this in my life to bring about shame and depression. The first time I was molested, I was 7 years old. He called me his “little secret girlfriend” and I believed that was what girls were supposed to do. I flailed through my first years of college, my parents felt most of my useless beating. I floundered through my twenties, job after job, relationship after relationship. After 21 years of being lost in my brokenness, I decided to check myself into a psychiatric ward at a local hospital. In my mind, I was a failure that destroyed people. I even told my then boyfriend that “everything I touched turned to dust”. The only way I could make sense of this was to assume I was mentally ill. I walked in to meet the psychiatrist and announced that I must be “bipolar” and without asking me a single question he prescribed me Lithium. After my time in the psychiatric ward, I began my mobilization (Army) at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and frantically searched for answers about my “sick” mind. I became convinced that I had Borderline Personality Disorder and continued the Lithium and therapy. Three months after my time in the hospital, my new psychiatrist took me off of the Lithium and I continued in therapy. One day my therapist said “Sarah, you are NOT crazy. Just really hurt.” Around the same time, I heard a woman named Beth Moore speak about God’s Word healing her of abuse she suffered as a little girl. I believed Jesus died for me and called myself a Christian but, never heard anyone talk about the Bible that way before. I figured, it worked for her, it will work for me! I began reading my Bible everyday as much as I could, if there was a spare moment in the day, I spent it reading about God. Much of it didn’t quite make sense but, I knew I just had to try to get as close to Him as I could. Soon I met Jeremy and in one breath, we got married; then pregnant. I was in bed for most of the pregnancy with different complications and became intensely lonely. To say our marriage was on the rocks would be a huge understatement. I wanted Jeremy to fix everything and he wanted to fix it all but, couldn’t. Jeremy lost 30 pounds that first year of our marriage. He was so wrought with anxiety about the pregnancy and marriage that he would throw up in the kitchen sink and then run out the door to work in the morning. Within weeks of our first daughter’s birth, we were separated and I went back on medication. My doctor prescribed (and rightfully so) Lexapro for the stress and post-partum. A month after starting the medication, I was pregnant again and had to stop it. God saved our marriage that year but, the Lord also healed things I never thought could be healed – just like Beth Moore said, through His Word. I was free of the guilt and shame I had been carrying all of those years and was able to forgive it all. It was amazing. I gave birth to our second daughter in January of the following year and went back on the Lexapro with no thoughts otherwise. I was terrified of going through what I had gone through the year before. I was pregnant yet again and the question came back up of me weaning off of the medication again. My doctor recommended that I just stay on it through the pregnancy in case. She must have seen the look of panic in my face at the thought of a third baby in just two short years and felt badly for me! So, here I am today, taking my Lexapro…
A little ways back, our wonderful church New Life Church in Biddeford, decided to embark on a journey in prayer. We would all take turns throughout the week going over and praying for an hour at a time, 24 hours a day, for 7 days straight. There were these huge rolls of paper spread out on tables and walls with labels above them. Missions, Healing, Repentance, Miracles, Salvation and Thanksgiving – I think that was it. We were to write down personal things that needed healing or a miracle etc. Immediately, Jeremy was drawn to the Missions table and began praying. I believe he spend his whole hour there. I was called to that Healing table though. As a read what was written on those sheets, God started to speak to my heart about my new community here in Biddeford. I read over and over, people who are afflicted with depression and addiction. I knew right away what these individuals were struggling with and wanted to reach into the paper as if to pull the pain out of these people’s hearts. As the weeks have gone by, I have been challenged by our pastor, Jeff as he has spoken about the Presence of God. This last Sunday in particular he began to preach about folks who come to church to find the Presence of God and that he doesn’t want to do that, he wants to BRING IT IN WITH HIM. I thought, what does that look like? I mean, sure we all know to praise and worship the Lord but, what accompanied Jesus who was the physical presence of God on this Earth? Then this past Tuesday I was at my women’s Bible study and I looked over at my leader Kathy limping due to a knee injury and wrote in my notebook “Why are we ‘powerless’ to these physical issues?” I began to read in scripture about Jesus’ ministry and he just healed the heck out of people! I started to have visions of us bringing the Presence of God into church with us and the explosion of healing that would happen. I am not talking about feeling an emotional high or going outside of God’s Will to get what we want. I am talking about what naturally happens when God’s Presence is flowing through His people.
I knew that this would be my next blog post and began to read about depression and God’s healing in the Bible. First of all, almost every great Biblical leader dealt with depression in their life-time and usually right after God put a call on their lives. Hannah in 1 Samuel was barren and depressed. She ran to God and trusted Him. The result was she gave birth one of Israel’s greatest prophets. I combed through scripture looking at how Jesus healed, why He healed, and when He didn’t heal. I questioned whether or not we are supposed to heal others. Luke 10:8-9 states clearly “Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.” Around this point in my research, I stopped and spoke to the Lord about what direction He wanted me to take this in the post. He spoke plainly to me “How can you write this, teaching others about healing when you don’t have faith in it for yourself?” I knew what He meant immediately, He was speaking about my Lexapro and my fear of going off of it. Now, I have had this “discussion” with God over this for months and every time I tell Him that I am not ready yet. So, I did what any “good” Christian would do in this situation, I googled Lexapro withdraw symptoms! After about 20 minutes of fooling around on the internet, and another 20 minutes telling Jeremy and hoping he would tell me I was wrong; I went back to Christ and said “ok”. Then He told me I would have to share this on the blog… I asked Him why and He gave me the word Witness while I read through Acts. While reading the Wiersbe Bible Commentary I found an interesting quote about being a witness, “When you are on the witness stand in court, the judge is not interested in your ideas or opinions; he only wants to hear what you KNOW.” No one reading this blog wants to waste their time hearing my opinion on healing but, wants to hear what I know from personal experience. So, I am having faith in what God has spoken to me today and being obedient for His healing touch.
One of our super friends, Dean Snee from church let us borrow a movie called “Faith Like Potatoes” – the name sounded dumb to me so I didn’t want to watch it but, Jeremy convinced me. This movie is an awesome true story! I was googling the gentleman this movie is about and I found some neat stuff. He began a statement about faith saying this: ” Revival doesn’t come in the way you think it would. You put your foot down and there’s rocks underneath…” I rolled this around in my mind for a while and thought about my road of faith. Revival in my life has not been a feeling, or something induced by just the right worship music, or something a pastor said in a sermon; instead it has been born from consistant obedience to God’s daily call to follow Him. Walking on the rocks, sometimes my feet are cut up and bleeding, but it is faith – the ONLY way to revival in my experience. I hope you take what little time you have left after reading this long post to watch this video (much of this is about his men’s ministry but, it addresses big faith stuff).
“You must attempt something that’s so big, that if it’s not from God, it’s doomed to fail. Why? Because when it works, nobody can touch God’s Glory. Everybody will say that it was God.” – Angus Buchan