How do you start blogging again after so long an absence? I really wondered if I would ever have anything to say again. I had so many things I wanted to write about but for some reason when I sat down to type my thoughts were such a jumble, nothing made much sense to me or was worth sharing. A few weeks ago while driving in my car talking to the Lord I suddenly had one of those aha! moments. No light bulb appeared magically above my head but I was overwhelmed with the realization that even though it was never a problem for me to share about my health issues and open up about the emotions associated with living life chronically ill, my mental health was another matter entirely.
Several years ago when I was still posting here I slowly stopped writing and started sharing snippets and thoughts from devotionals or books I was reading. When I look back at this blog initially it was a safe place to collect my thoughts, work through theological ideas and learn and gain strength and encouragement from other bloggers. It’s obvious to me now that I was in the process of shutting down long before I stopped posting entirely. It’s taken me a few years to sort through what exactly happened, the mistakes I have made and to move forward with honesty, courage and repentance where necessary and to face the truth of my limitations with grace. It’s sometimes hard admitting your mistakes but it’s often harder to really leave them at the cross and go forward with some kind of mercy towards yourself. If that sounds radical or heretical it’s just how it is with mental illness, sometimes we are our own worst enemy. Shame helps nothing and it’s been a wrestling match trying to handle my issues without heaping more hot coals on my own head. It’s been an intense journey and it’s often seemed like one trial after another.
I’m happy to say that having survived these tests my faith is not only intact, it’s stronger than ever. For the first time as a Christian I feel real, lasting joy regardless of my circumstances. Like the Apostle Paul, or Joseph and so many saints before me I can say that the joy of the Lord has sustained me, regardless of prison, shipwreck or palace. I’m at a place beyond simple gratitude and thankfulness for my salvation, I’m at a renewed place of hope and real, lasting peace knowing that no matter what, I can trust in and lean on Christ. It’s often tough trying not to confuse our earthly parental relationships with our relationship to our heavenly Father, even more so for a child of abuse. My struggles with anxiety and CPTSD have only strengthened and confirmed my relationship and place in God’s kingdom and that’s led to a newfound joy and strength in my life and I need to share that with people. Whatever it took to get me here was worth every pain, frustration or fear and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to once again share those experiences with other people.
Hopefully in the next few weeks I can try to work through what happened, how I coped successfully and often unsuccessfully and through my thoughts help encourage someone else struggling with some of the same issues I faced. After all that’s the point isn’t it? As Christians we just keep putting one foot in front of the other following Jesus and in that process we find that when we look back there are thankfully other people coming up the road who need our help somehow. I hope this blog and it’s sort of rebirth can be that help for someone, and honor our Lord in the process.
As I was in the process of posting this I came across this nugget of wisdom from J. R. Miller. If you are struggling today with shame, failure or weakness take heart, this will hopefully encourage you.
“God is the God of those who fail. Not that He loves those who stumble and fall, better than those who walk erect without stumbling; but He helps them more. The weak believers get more of His grace–than those who are strong believers. There is a special divine promise, which says, “My divine power is made perfect in weakness.” When we are conscious of our own insufficiency, then we are ready to receive of the divine sufficiency. Thus our very weakness is an element of strength. Our weakness is an empty cup–which God fills with His own strength.” J. R. Miller, “The Beatitude for the Unsuccessful” 1892)
“He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3