A Special “Uplifting” For Those Like Me and Many Who Struggle With Depression By My Dear Friend Author, Tony Roberts of “Delight In Disorder”…

How Does God Feel About Mental Illness?

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last week, Tony began a subscriber survey that has thus far proven very fruitful. He learned more about who his readers are and what they are looking for when they visit Delight In Disorder… 

“Some of the most revealing content came from the comments provided in the “other” category. When asked what sort of posts would be most helpful, one reader replied: ”

“… how God feels about mental illness and why He allows it. I know cancer patients, for example, feel the same way, but you won’t hear anyone abandoning them. Instead they receive love, prayers, and casseroles. Living alone with a debilitating illness is so hard.”

This thoughtful response raises many profound questions. I want to carefully and prayerfully respond. Yet, please understand that I am not an expert theologian or a mental health professional. Instead, I am a believer in Christ who has lived with a mental illness for over 30 years. This doesn’t give me all the answers but helps me better understand the questions.

How does God feel about mental illness? Why does He allow it?

I feel much more confident answering the former question than the latter. The depth of God’s love for us surpasses any love we could have for each other. When we look to Jesus Christ and his feelings for us, God’s emotions are revealed. Jesus became furious at religious leaders who were excluding “imperfect” (sinners) from full participation in worship. Jesus went to outer regions to reach out to those dismissed as “demon possessed” and freed them from the captivity that caused them to be separated from the faith community. Like the Samaritan lifting the bleeding man out of the ditch and caring for him, Jesus cares for those who are hurting, both physically and emotionally.

So, why? I want to approach this more as a prayer than an accusation. Like when the prophets called on God, “How long, Lord. Will you forget me forever?” In my prayer life, I have come to understand God’s mysterious role in human suffering as something beyond my ability to understand, yet something I can fully trust. I believe God has a plan for me much greater than my mental illness in this life. As the Apostle Paul says, “for this slight momentary affliction is not worth comparing to the greater glory to come.” ( 2 Corinthians 4.17). Like a woman in the midst of agonizing labor, it is next to impossible to believe this in the moment, but when her child is born…. AMAZING!

Why don’t people respond to mental illness with love, prayers, and casseroles?

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I hear this from many both within the church and beyond. Mental illness can be a life-threatening illness, given the number of deaths by suicide. It is, however, viewed by many as an annoying condition that could be overcome with self-willed faith, maybe a few extra push-ups, and good old-fashioned elbow grease. I have heard people comment that they grow weary of caring for family members and friends with chronic mental illness. It never goes away.

It doesn’t have to be this way. When I was first diagnosed, I was serving as a pastor of a small congregation in Northeast PA. I spent over six weeks in the hospital, while my wife cared for our children at home, ages 3 & 1. The church rallied to provide child care, meals, rides. It was wonderful. I was given leave for recovery time and welcomed back when I was ready. Churches can be havens of refuge, but too often we are not.

Living alone with a debilitating illness is so hard.

Amen! Damn, right it is! And, one of the debilitating factors is that our mental illness coerces us to do the very things that do us the most harm and fail to do the things that could most help. It does us no good to lie in bed for hours on end, but there are days the thought of getting up seems to us like running a 3-minute mile. It would be helpful to go out and spend some time with other people, but there are days where the fear of doing something inappropriate is just too strong.

This past year, for various reasons, I tried to live alone in an attic apartment in an unfamiliar city. On Saturdays, I visited my children. Sundays I went to church. The rest of the week I was on my own. I was not able to make new friends. I tried support groups, meet-ups, readings, dating sites. People scared me or I scared them. In this climate, I had 7 episodes that required intervention. In just 18 months.

Thanks be to God and the loving support of my family, I now have an apartment in my sister’s basement. It provides me a wonderful living space of my own yet I am not alone.

I know such spaces are hard to come by for persons with mental illness.

I pray you find yours.

Tony R.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

My name is Tony Roberts. I am a Christian and I have a serious mental illness. Many of my friends who also have troubled minds wonder how it is I would hold onto faith after such an agonizing spiritual struggle with insanity.

Many of my brothers and sisters in Christ wonder how my mind can be so disturbed if I am a believer. I believe faith and medicine, prayer and pills, worship and therapy are God’s essential graces to promote healing.

So, I’m telling my story in the hope of sharing Good News with those who have unquiet minds and shattering stigma about mental illness within and beyond the faith community.

I hope you’ll join the conversation.

Tony Roberts, Author
Delight in Disorder: Ministry, Madness, Mission is on Amazon & Amazon Kindle


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Welcome My Recovery Guest ~~ Aaron Emerson And His Recovery Blog….

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and New Visitors,

It maybe be often while I’m on many social media and recovery sites that I meet many new wonderful people in recovery while I’m there, doing research, or sharing the message of  *Hope* with others through my Book, and my recovery blog here. But not as often, do I find an extraordinary guy who is as Generous & Kind at Heart as my guest is, and he shares *HOPE* in Recovery, and is a Good Christian man as well.

He also does SO much in helping not only the person afflicted with addiction, but has a lot of GOOD Information to help the families of those addicted as well. Please meet and welcome my good friend, and my blog guest, “Aaron Emerson” and his Recovery Website here,
http://Christian-Recovery.com  I asked him to give me a little “personal” info on him, and here is what Aaron had to say:

“I was a heroin addict for 5 years and in active addiction total for about
8 years total. I finally straightened out and stayed clean for a little
while.  After developing a daily recovery program where I started
surrendering every day to God, I started really seeking out His will for
my life. I then developed a passion for newcomers in my 12-Step    community and really enjoyed journaling, so I started a little blog.


It started out as just a little hobby and different people began telling me how much they enjoy and get out of reading about my experiences.  I then decided to get serious about this and take it to the next level where I proceeded to buy my own domain and rented out space on the internet.
I started the site, Christian-Recovery.com to help addicts and their families.

C-R is really growing and I am trying to develop another page on the blog where other addicts and family members share about their experiences. Everything about C-R is to show other addicts and their families about the grace and mercy of God and to give everybody hope.”

**Here is a share from Aaron’s website of what he does for others in recovery, and I really enjoy his writing style, and keep telling him he NEEDS to WRITE THAT BOOK!, as all of us in recovery do have a story to tell of our own experiences. These stories are a Powerful way to also help others who still suffer any type of addiction.**

About Christian-Recovery

Christian-Recovery is a blog and support network for addicts/alcoholics and their families.  Anybody is welcome to read and subscribe to us.  We have two separate blogs, one for addicts and the other for families of addicts.   We truly believe addiction is a family disease and that the family of the drug user suffers just as much, or more, than the addict itself. The blog posting are a variety of subjects, though a lot of them are from the personal experience of Aaron Emerson, the founder and editor.  He is a recovering heroin addict and is committed to helping others get to the other side.

Me and mom

We also have a personal experience section where our readers can submit stories of their experience with addiction.  If you have a story of how you overcame an addiction to anything, not only drugs or alcohol, please let us know and you can submit your story to be published on our site.
You can be anonymous if you request. We like to post personal stories of overcoming.  Anybody can find the strength to fight addiction, get and stay clean and create a new and successful life.

It just takes some effort, willingness and a lot of heart, but it is possible.  If you are struggling with this, let us know and we will do our best to help or lead you to available resources.  If you are a family or friend of someone suffering from the disease of addiction, please contact us, also. Same thing, we will do everything in our power to help or lead you to available resources.  Addiction is a family disease and it should be treated as one.  We are not a treatment center and do not pretend to be professionals.  We are simply people who have suffered greatly from the disease of addiction and feel led by God to give away what was so freely given to us…..

God bless you!  If you would like to subscribe to our blog, please enter your name in the box on the side of the site and an email will be sent right after to confirm it is you.  Like previously stated, it is totally free and you will get all of our posts and information sent straight to your email.  Join us as we work together to battle the disease of addiction!

 
**Another favorite part of Aaron’s site is the “Daily Scripture”….here is a sample from his site.**

 

Each day we put a verse or two from the Bible to meditate on throughout the day.  Psalm 119:105 states: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Use these verses as what it says, a lamp and a light to your path.  I want to really encourage you to meditate on these scriptures, dig for the true meaning.  God bless all of you on your journey!

Scripture of the day:

Lamentations 3:25- The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him…….

**Now to round out Aaron’s wonderful website & Guest Blog, is one of my Favorite “Blog Posts” that really “Touched Me”…..WHY?….It’s about what many of us in recovery come to think about when we think of a “Higher Power”….”Believing in something bigger than ourselves” and as may of my friends here know, I’m NOT SHY about WHO my HP is.

It is God, and his saving Son, Jesus Christ. WELL, Aaron is also not shy about his “Christianity” either. The one BIG thing Aaron & I have in common is, WE both know that “OUR GOD” still performs *MIRACLES* around us, and through us everyday!  AMEN! It is safe to say it’s difficult recovery journey without HIM.**

Aaron’s Blog Post:

God’s Mysterious Ways

“I’ve really been thinking a lot lately about what is God and what is just a coincidence.  I’ve also been thinking about some of the things in my past that have played out and what things may have shaped me into who I am today.  I have done so much stupid stuff and have done a lot of things that have hurt my family and others.  I have embarrassed myself over and over, gained a horrible reputation and hurt myself repeatedly. Do I regret all of that?  Heck yes.  Looking back, though, I wouldn’t change anything because God is going to use me in ways I don’t even know about yet, and it’s going to be all of the bad things I have done that I am going to be able to use to reach people, to let others know that I have been in their shoes and have messed up just as much.  I want to be a living example of what can happen if you are not careful, but also an example of what you can do if you let God work in your life and ask for His help….

The last time I got arrested, I got arraigned on a felonious assault charge and was charged as an habitual re-offender, on suicide watch in jail, you are in a cell by yourself, but they also take everything away from you, including your clothes.
So, I was sitting in the cell naked, just me and the cold cement, starting to withdrawal from not having any dope, and facing a lot of years behind bars.  This was my bottom.  All the lies, schemes, crimes, denial, drug usage, cheating, stealing, and sin were catching up with me all at once.  It was the most lonely, miserable feeling I have ever experienced in my life.  The worst part, though, was that I had nobody to blame besides myself.  I, Aaron Emerson, put myself in this situation.  I kept seeing my parents look on their face when the cops took me away in handcuffs that day right in front of them.

All of this misery was hitting me all at once, alone in this jail cell.  I started to sob. I wanted a way out.  I wanted to die.  I couldn’t, though. I couldn’t do that to my family.  It was enough for them to see me get snatched up out of their safe, quiet home by a couple sheriffs.  I couldn’t also force a funeral on them.  So, I finally gave up. I knew the only way out.  It was God. I got down on my bare knees on that cold, cement floor and asked God to be with me.  I just told him, “Lord, I’m done running from you. I am yours now.”  I literally had nothing, not even any clothes, but I had the most important thing anybody could have. I had God with me.  He was in that cell with me. Even with all that pain going on, I knew everything was going to be fine. I knew that even if I was going to be behind those bars for a few years that I was going to be okay.

 

God answered my prayer that day.  I ended up doing 12 months behind bars. But, inside those walls I started to develop a relationship with God. Those 12 months locked up were very hard.  I had to defend myself from other criminals trying to punk me, I had to deal with mean cops and eat garbage food.  I got in trouble and had to spend some time in the hole.  But, God was with me!  Inside that horrible hell hole of a place, God was by my side. And it’s those things, the events leading up to my incarceration, the anger and depression and the look on my parents faces, that lead me to surrender to God.

 

He works in crazy ways. It’s also the other things I have been thinking about, though.  The overdoses I woke up from, the crazy car accidents, all that crazy stuff. Which of those events was God?  Was it God that woke me up from the overdoses?  Was it God who saved me in that accident?  Maybe some of the events were Him saving me, and maybe none were, maybe even all of them.  Who really knows but God?  I sure don’t, but I have really been thinking about it lately.  Why me?  Why did God save me?  I don’t know.  But, I am here today to tell these stories and that’s all that counts.  I am going to do my best to help other people not have to go through the things that I had to go through to get where I am.  Your bottom doesn’t have to be as low as my bottom to surrender.  Everybody’s story is different. This is mine, though.

I just ask God each day to show me His will.  So far, it’s been working.  The best part is that helping other people, in return, helps me. I get joy from helping another person. It is the best feeling a person can get to know that you are making a difference in another person’s life.  So, I’m going to keep doing what I am doing, and I am always going to be here for support if you need it.  I am going to keep working on forgiving myself and just asking God to work in my life. I can’t help but question how all of these events may have played out in God’s big plan, I just hope that I can be a part of somebody else’s plan and maybe get somebody else to realize that the route I took doesn’t have to be the route they have to take. *God bless you all, He has a plan for your life”!!

 

Aaron, Thank You for being such a Good friend, and a recovery supporter of mine. Thank you for letting me share your beautiful website with all my recovery friends here. Your friendship is a treasure to me! I do believe as you & I, and many in recovery come together in “UNITY”…. we CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

God Bless Everyone!

Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon