About Me

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

WHEN CHURCH HURTS-MENTAL ILLNESS AND THE BELIEVER

"Christians should NEVER be depressed." a friend said to me.
"Yes, we have the mind of Christ." I foolishly agreed.
Then mental illness hit close to home.
I became depressed. Nothing helped. Prayer, confession, praise, not even memorizing the Word of God lifted the cloud completely. 
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which affects serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin can affect mood and social behavior, appetite, and digestion, sleep, memory and function.
My mind of Christ was clouded and confused.
I was prescribed a serotonin reuptake inhibitor and feel much better.
If I don't take care of myself, Depression takes over.
I'm in the Word daily, sing praise songs, pray to my Abba continually, and I eat healthier foods. This keeps me focused and joyful.
I know many believers who have fibromyalgia or another illness that affects their mood and mind.

Last week, I drove a dear friend to the hospital, she had suicidal thoughts and was very depressed. She was told her Depakote or Valporic Acid levels were severely low.
Her medications were adjusted and now she feels fine.
She loves Jesus with all her heart.  She fights her bipolar illness with prayer, meditation, and memorizing the Word. 

Two churches shunned her because they found out about her diagnosis. She left the churches heartbroken, feeling ashamed.
I have seen this dear friend lead others to Christ, sacrifice her last meal for someone, and drive miles out of the way to give rides to those without cars. She is a powerful prayer warrior and miracles happen around her.
Mental illness seems to be a taboo subject in many churches. If a person walks in with cancer, diabetes, or any other illness or disease no one questions. 
Mental illness seems to throw some believers into a tailspin.
They don't know how to react. I did not understand it until It affected my life.
The Bible is not silent about mental illness.
David, a man after God's own heart, was depressed.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?  Psalm 43:5 NIV
The psalmist wrote is the psalms of Asaph
My body and mind may waste away,
    but God remains the foundation of my life
 and my inheritance forever. Psalm 73:26 GW


Any illness is caused by the fall, including mental illness. A disease does not just attack the body and leave the brain alone- it attacks everything.
"When Adam and Eve exercised their free will and chose to sin against God, the world was affected forever.
I no longer believe the lie that Christians are immune to mental illness.
I know God can instantly heal if it is His will. He may also choose to wait until we get to Heaven.
Meanwhile, I pray that I will be loving and kind to those who suffer in silence.
May I be a testimony of God's power and grace as I cling to His Word & prayer.

Do you know someone who suffers from a mental illness?
What do you think about mental illness and the believer?
Join the conversation.


14 comments:

michelle adserias said...

I have a very good friend, a sincere believer, who has struggled with mental illness for years. The hardest part for me was knowing what to do -- how to help carry her burden. Praise God, with proper medical care, she's MUCH better now! I think depression is a normal human emotion, even in a Christian's life. In fact, I'm fairly certain David, the giant-killing king, would have been diagnosed as bipolar if he were alive today. Just think of all the beautiful psalms he wrote from places of sorrow and discouragement!

CHERRILYNN BISBANO said...

Michelle, Thank you for sharing. Yes, I believe every believer has experienced depression at one time or another. I asked my friend what she wanted me to do when she got in her depressed state. She said, "Be here for me, pray, and don't judge." I became her safe person. God is so good to give us the promise of Heaven where there is no pain or illness. Thanks for stopping by.

Deborah Crawford said...

Your honesty is beautiful, Cherrilynn, and because you speak truth, God will strengthen you. Meanwhile through you, others will be made stronger. Wonderful post!

CHERRILYNN BISBANO said...

Deborah, thank you for your encouragement. My prayer is that others would be strengthened and talk about this subject in the church. Thanks again for stopping by.

Lyneta Smith said...

Thank you for shining the light of grace on such a dark and misunderstood subject, Cherrilyn.

Beckie Lindsey said...

Thank you for writing on this issue. I too have struggled with depression and guilt over not being "Christ-like" enough because of what other believers said to me about depression.

CHERRILYNN BISBANO said...

Lyneta, Thank you for the encouragement. My prayer is that we as believers will discuss this subject and have compassion on those who have a mental illness. God bless you and thank you for stopping by.

CHERRILYNN BISBANO said...

Beckie, I'm so sorry others have treated you unlovingly. It's a vicious cycle of depression guilt depression. I'm praying for you. If you ever want to talk you know how to contact me. I want you to know that I see Christ in you. I believe our depression causes us to press into Jesus harder and closer. We are more than conquerors through Him. Thank you for stopping by and being so honest.

Heather said...

My husband has struggled with anxiety and a small amount of depression. I know very well how no amount of reason can get to him when he's like that. I'm glad you posted this because I think it's a misconception in the church sometimes.

Heather Bock
www.glimpsesofjesus.com

CHERRILYNN BISBANO said...

Heather thank you for sharing. I will pray for your family.

Jennifer DeFrates said...

It breaks my heart that churches would shun someone for having a mental illness. I have heard of churches that say all mental illness is being demon possessed and I am sure demons are much more at fault than we currently teach/discuss, but I like how you compared illness of the mind to illness of the body, just part of living in a fallen world.

CHERRILYNN BISBANO said...

Jennifer, Demon possession is blamed for many things. I do believe some mentally ill people are demon possessed or oppressed. We know believers cannot be possessed. It's a delicate subject. May we be sensitive and discerning. Thank you for your kind works.

leslie@lesliedevooght.com said...

Such an important issue. Thank you for your story and your vulnerability. I know it is making a difference.

CHERRILYNN BISBANO said...

Leslie. Thank you for your encouragement. I appreciate your taking time to comment