Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Church support can be the best

I hope that my last post didn't make people think that Christians in general are judgmental and unloving. Followers of Christ can be the most beautiful, the most loving of all. I've often told the story about a church friend of mine who came to me one day when I didn't want to go on living. She told me what a loss my life would be. She fixed her eyes on mine and said, "No matter what you do or what you say, I'll always love you." She told me that, as she drove to my place, she had prayed that God would let her be His hands for Him. And He did.

It was through this godly woman that I fully came to understand how deep God's love is for me. Although I had become a Christian many years earlier, I had not fully grasped that until my friend showed me. This friend, also my Bible study leader, has become my mentor.

Both this friend and another one keep close tab on me, especially when my moods are not stable. They made it their business to learn what being bipolar means to me. And I gradually educated them, answering their many questions. They have seen me in many different states, and they keep loving me, no matter what - unconditionally. These are true followers of Christ. They mother me - and they let me mother them as well when they need it. They encourage me in all I do.

My pastor is also a wonderful, compassionate support to me. I've sent countless long emails to him - when I've been high and low. When I first told him I was bipolar, he told me he wanted to learn about this disorder. He went to a mental health seminar for pastors, especially to learn how to help me better. We've become good friends. And he is so very excited about Living Room, our support group. He is my shepherd in this work. With him there, I know I'm not alone. He represents God's tangible presence for me when I have problems dealing with the work I've taken on.

These three people aren't my only support at this church. I have many dear friends - lots of people to hug every Sunday morning. I have spoken in front of the congregation about these things a few times. My disorder is no secret to anyone. They all know about Living Room and they all support it. They ask about it. They pray about it.

How did this all come about? These people are being led by a pastor who keeps reminding them who Jesus really is, someone who loved everyone - even the stigmatized lepers. I was willing to teach them, little by little what my life with bipolar disorder means to me. And they were willing to listen and learn - with love in their hearts.

It is because of this kind of support that I am as strong as I am. It is because of this kind of support that I am able to follow my dream, trying to make the lives of others who live with mental disorders better. I thank God for all He has given me and pray that He will be with me as I do His work - step by step. I'm an optimist. I believe a better understanding IS possible.

Jesus Himself said, "...all things are possible with God." (Mark 10:27)


Tracy said...

I am very glad you have the support of your church family. That always helps when one is dealing with health issues.


bipolar_girl said...

Dear Marja,

You are so blessed having all these great people in your life especially when we struggle with this illness. Truly, this illness of moods that we battle is best confronted with love-- and that's what you have so much right now. Take care

Anonymous said...

i echo what has been said.

jumpinginpuddles said...

im glad you have that support just we cant seem to find it maybe mpd just isnt supposed to be out there hey yet i miss the christian support other than our T

Anonymous said...

To answer your question, No, your previous post didn't make me think all Christians are judgemental. From my own life experiences, however, I believe at least 95% are. I have a lot of anger towards Christians too, but there are also other reasons.
It's people like you, Marja, who are true Christians, ie: followers of Christ. People like you who strive daily to love & live as Jesus taught we should.
I usually think that God looks at our world & cries. But I truly think when he looks at you, Marja, his tears are those of joy.

marja said...

Thank you,mysti, bipolar girl, misha, jumpinginpuddles, and Jane.

Jane, Thank you for thinking that I am the way Christians should be. But what I am did not come from me. I could never love, or work for the things I do, without Someone far greater than me inspiring me, working through me, and keeping me strong. I'm just the vessel. I'm just trying to be the hands and mouth. I just have to be obedient, to be the great Potter's chunk of clay.

shebee said...

I applaud you Marja, for being so transparent about your are where I want to be