The Adventures of Bipolar Girl

Comfort for the Neurotic in All of Us

Author Archive

Faith is NOT Blind

 

Faith is not blind. Faith is having your eyes wide open to who God is and how he works. It’s about seeing him for who he is and loving him, not because you are blind… but because you can see. Clearly. When I first became a believer I was blind. I was ignorant to who God really was, so when he acted outside the grid of my understanding I got mad. I got hurt. I felt like he abandoned me and I was afraid to question him so I stuffed my questions really far down and tried to act as if I was ok. When deep down, I knew… and so did God, that I wasn’t.

Today I had questions. I didn’t think I had questions when I woke up this morning. But these questions have been simmering in “the crockpot” for some time now. Left too long, unanswered questions can give way to bitterness or anger or resentment or self-pity… or a gnarly seething cauldron of negativity.

Most of my questions were “Why” questions. Y’know.. “Why had God allowed z,y,x” to happen to me?” Why hadn’t that dream or this dream come true? Why had he allowed that person to hurt me? Why had he allowed me to make such poor choices that lead to really bad consequences?

Once the questions starting pouring out, it seemed like they wouldn’t stop. And as I questioned, I realized that I was angry. Now there are some folks (g00d Christian folks) who insist that it’s wrong to ask God, “Why?” and an even bigger sin to admit that you are mad at him… but since we serve an omniscient God, it stands to reason that he knows what I feel even before I do. Case in point, I didn’t know I still harbored those questions, so I didn’t know I was still harboring anger towards God… but he knew. He walked me through my most recent trial and then led me to this realization.

My faith is stronger now than it’s ever been. What reason could I possibly have to be mad at God? He just got me through a really horrible situation with my landlord and I didn’t morph into Bipolar Girl. He didn’t deliver me from the trial. He walked me through it with eyes wide open. I didn’t like a lot of what I had to go through, but I knew it was God and I knew it was necessary.

Which brought me to today (Saturday). I’m braiding my hair which will take 2-3 days. I generally watch movies while I’m working to make the time pass. The movie I picked? Not a great one. Kind sappy. Heavy on the extra cheese.

The lead character had had some trials and found herself  in a church looking up at a statue of Jesus  and yells, “What do you have against me??!” And the omniscient God who hears all of our prayers while they are still thoughts, heard her. He heard me, too. For the thoughts that I didn’t even know that I had took form and became prayers. God knew I had those questions and had waited for just the right time to prompt me to ask them. I wasn’t on my knees in prayer. I was braiding my hair on a hot Saturday watching a so-so movie.

A month ago and I would have seen those questions as doubts. I would have felt all manner of bad for doubting God. Today, I see that God is the only one to whom I could take my questions to  because he’s the only one who can answer them.

After I finished giving breath to my question I told God that I love him because I do. After all the bad things that have happened to me over the course of my life, I still love God. I love him more now than when I first met him because I know him. He knows this just as surely as he knows that I have questions. Yet, God, in his wisdom, may or may not give me all the answers that I seek. I’m ok with that. When Christ returns, I will know fully even as I am fully known. Pretending like I’ve got it all dialed in or that I’m some spiritual giant when I’m not profits me nothing. The questions I have stand in the way of me growing into the image of Christ able to love people when they do the unlovable… the unthinkable… and all the un’s in between.

 

Now it’s Sunday. Hours have passed since I started writing this post, but I know I’m on the right track because God answered me during the church service this morning. He didn’t answer every question I had, but he gave me enough of an answer that I was positive that he was listening and that he knew exactly why I had those questions. He was glad that I had brought my questions to him, trusting that he would answer. He needed me to lay some things down at his feet and not pick them back up again. He needed me to open my eyes and to see myself as HE sees me.

And then he needed me to rise and receive from him, not like a child with my eyes scrunched shut offering up wishes as if he were Santa Claus. He needed me to be more mature in my faith than I was yesterday or the day before yesterday or all the yesterdays past. I needed to see him and know him for who he is. If I don’t ask questions out of some misplaced belief that God cannot handle it when I do, then I am never going to mature. God has grace for my questions and mercy for my doubts. “Have mercy on those who doubt.” Jude 1:22. God said that before I ever dared to doubt.

When I left church, I walked out feeling a little lighter than when I went in. God, in his omniscience, answered more questions that I didn’t even know that I had. Not because he had to, but because he KNOWS me and knows what I need to know even before I do. Always before I do.

Now? It’s almost bedtime as I finish this post. I’m listening to my new neighbors sing really bad Filipino karaoke. My eyes might have been opened this weekend, but tonight it’s time to close up my ears with my earplugs and finish braiding my hair.

 

Plan A

This one is coming from so far out of left field that I’m not exactly sure what to write.

I’ve met somebody.

Now considering that the last relationship that I was in crashed and burned like the Hindenburg back in 1994, is it any wonder that I am afraid of how to precede? I met him through my blog. Not the new guy. The Original 1994 Guy. I used to blog over at Christianforums.com. I became quite the big fish in a small, yet growing pond. In my immaturity I posted all the ups and downs of our relationship as if we were Ross and Rachel from Friends. And like all good sitcoms, I had a following. My blog was the number one blog on what was the fastest growing Christian blogsite at the time. That’s where the idea for my book was born. People would follow my blog religiously and then tell me how great my writing was and how it “spoke” to them. This was before Bipolar blogs became popular. I was one of the first voices to open speak about what it was like to be a Christian with a mental illness. People kept telling me that I should write a book to help other people struggling with depression.

I let that and the high drama of my relationship sweep me away. I started to put what I wanted before what God wanted for me. I started compromising in that relationship and in the process I distanced myself from God and I hurt a good man. I was such a wishy washy hypocritical Christian and he was a new believer. My actions weren’t lining up with what I professed to believe and it caused him to resent God. Ours was a relationship that never should have been. Like the Prince in that last post, Original wanted to save me. He read my blog and mistook my need for a Savior for a need for a white knight to swoop in and save me from myself.

In the end, that relationship imploded and I went into a death spiral that I almost couldn’t pull out of. I went into open rebellion again God. Trying to follow him had cost me the love of my life and I was mad. What I didn’t understand is that JESUS is the love of my life and no one man can ever take his place. The dark pit of depression that I fell into took five years to claw out of and even after I was “over” him and what had happened, the resulting mess that I’d made of my life took another five years to recover from. It is only now… twelve years later that I am finally feeling like that dismal period of my life is well and truly over.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11New International Version (NIV)

People always quote this verse out of context. God was telling the Israelites this right before he sent them into exile for 70 years due to conduct unbecoming. They screwed up and God was going to let them take the dirty lickins’ for their behavior. Yes, he is a God of mercy and forgiveness, but there are times when he knows that the only way his children will learn is to let them experience the full weight of the natural consequences for their sin. God knew that during their exile the Israelites would be tempted to think that he had abandoned them… they’d think that the punishment would never end. They had fallen into the hands of the hands of the living God and that is NEVER a good thing. He told them this oft quoted verse because, despite what it might seem like 20, 30, or even 5o years into the exile… he knew that his plan was not to hurt them and he needed them to have that hope. He needed them to believe this.

I was so mad at God when that relationship blew up. I was mad at what I thought God was dishing out to me as punishment. I went to dark places I hadn’t even known existed and then I wallowed there. I was in open rebellion against God, and still the Lord did not give up on me. As Jesus interceded for me, the Holy Spirit continually convicted me of how far away from God I was drifting and how I didn’t want that to be so. I was like that African guy who almost drowned on a beach here in full view of a beach full of people. He was crying out for help, but nobody understood him. For years I cried out for help telling people along the way that there was something wrong — very wrong — with my faith but nobody seemed to understand.

There were times when I just wanted to kill myself and be done with it. I couldn’t take the mental illness, the emotional pain, and the thought that I was so broken that God wasn’t ever going to fix me. Things continued like this for years. The hysterectomy and all the resulting pain and surgeries only made things worse, but I refused to give up even though everything in me screamed to curse God and be done with it. And to think that all of this started with a relationship that didn’t honor God. I kept wanting to force God’s hand. I wanted him to bless that relationship because I wanted it to be the right thing. It didn’t matter that there were brilliantly colored red flags waving at me from every turn. The heart wanted what the heart wanted and God’s will didn’t matter. When I finally did decide to obey God the road to my exile had already been paved.

So now I’ve met a guy.

I’m not sure why I did it, but I registered on Christian Mingle. I know a lot of people who met their spouse via online dating. All of the people I know who did this are happily married. For so long I thought that my mental illness disqualified me from ever knowing that kind of happiness, so I’m really not sure why I signed up for it, but I did. We are still in the early stages of communication, and we already hit a red flag. What if that’s God telling me to let this go? Would I listen this time? Or would my heart want what it wants? I realized tonight that I’m scared. I messed things up monumentally the last time. The fallout from my last relationship was so bad it took me over a decade to recover. That does not bode well for future relationships. Have I really learned from my past mistakes? Did my time spent in exile change me at the heart level so that I will put God before all others? How do I explain the last decade of my life to a potential partner? It’ll be hard enough to explain the bipolar, the health problems, the incest and the porn addiction… without having to tell him that my last relationship came between me and God and I ended up on a 12 year detour that should have been a three hour tour.

I also don’t want to make the mistake I made with Original. There was no respect for privacy in my old blog. I aired our dirty laundry as if everybody had a divine right to know. I hurt him badly, so it isn’t any surprise, or at least it shouldn’t have been, that he would turn around and hurt me even worse. If I didn’t have bipolar it wouldn’t have blown up so badly. In six months to a year I would have been dating somebody else. But I did have Bipolar and the domino effect was spectacularly bad. I started to not to say anything about this here. I haven’t even really told any of my friends, but that isn’t wise. I need to be willing to be accountable, but it needs to be appropriately so. I’m mentioning it here now, but I am not going to be posting anything that doesn’t honor God or this new man on my horizon. Even if nothing ever comes of this, he’s still my brother in Christ and deserves my respectful treatment as such. And if things do develop and he becomes more to me? I don’t ever want anything that I’ve written about him… or us… to ever have the power to hurt him.

He emailed me this morning and I have no idea how to respond. Right now, I don’t have the words, so I’m not going to rush in as I would have done in the past. Age and exile has taught me that much. I will pray and seek God’s will as to how to proceed, and I will seek prayer and accountability. Honestly? I don’t know if I know how to handle that kind of happy…. which is why I like Jeremiah 29: 12 more than the famous verse. Getting exiled is easy — just disobey God and do your own thing. Surviving during exile is harder — but God will not leave you alone to it. Life after the exile? Now there’s the challenge and the gift combined. So I will cling to what God told the Israelites:

 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Jer. 29:10-14

 

Bipolar Deja View: Dragons

Every now and then I dust off an old post and reblog it. I dug really deep for this one. It’s from a chapter in my book that never was. Today wasn’t a good day. I felt bad, so I slept a lot… took a lot of Tylenol on top of all my other pills… and slept some more. I’ve been icing the bones in my right hand because they hurt too much to move it. It seems like most of my bones hurt today. I’m praying that the Lithium is the cause and that it’s reversible. We’ll know more when I go for the Bone Density Study, but today I just had to deal with the pain. After everything I’ve been through of late, I’d hoped the happy would have lasted a bit longer. Self-Pity was starting to well up until Hope stopped the downward trajectory. I used to fear days like today, but now I know that God is not done with me, so I can be still and wait to see what he will do. No matter the reason why I thought of this post, I’m sharing it anew. It’s one of my favorite pieces ever. I hope you like it.

Chapter 3 (excerpt) “Dragons”

 

Dragon Pic

A friend created this. The girl with the sword? That’s supposed to be me.

Preface:

Initially this post was a letter I’d written back in 1994 to a beautiful, young German man who broke my heart. Now that would’ve been sad under any other circumstances… but it was one of the things that led me to look up and seek God. I’m not sure why I chose to write it as a fairy tale, but in the middle of an adventure with treasures and maps it just seemed right.

 

Dear Jonathan,

By the time you get this letter, thousands of miles will separate us and we will both be but memories for each other.  I want to tell you a story to add to your own storehouse of memories:

Once upon a time (it seems that all the better tales start out this way) in a kingdom far, far away (and it’s always in that “far away” kingdom, never the one in your own backyard) lived a beautiful princes (and OF COURSE she was a princess). The really good stuff only ever seems to happen to the princess with the best hair, clothes, and body to die for. She had long black cornrows and merry brown eyes– this particular princess was Black you see (a literary first, I know, but who’s telling this story anyway??!)

Our princess grew up in a palace filled with woes that, over the years, grew into dragons. The dragons followed her around for years without really doing much (except for the occasional S’more or two). They were in Dragon School you see and hadn’t yet learned how to turn up the heat. As the Princess grew up into a young lady the growing dragons began to cramp her style. They were getting bigger and stronger and made messes all over the palace… and OH! How she hated cleaning up their messes… and FEEDING ‘em! Dragons eat lots! Truck loads! She was spending more and more of her time feeding dragons and counting them! **Note: It’s a little known scientific fact that dragons multiply faster than rabbits.

The downside of this whole dragon fiasco was that the other people in the Royal Family were too busy fighting their own dragons to even see hers… so she tried, as best she could, to fight her pets or, at the very least, control them. Everything was okay until the Queen Mother’s dragons began to breathe fire at all the other dragons in the Kingdom. It caused an awful heat rash and all the lesser dragons were unable to fight back. It eventually turned into a seniority thing, so as low princess on the totem pole, our intrepid heroine packed her baggage, I mean, dragons, and fled to a place where she thought that she would be safe.

It was a great Ivory Tower in the Northern Kingdom; a place of much learning and knowledge unlike her homeland in every way. Some people called it a “University” and it was the very best one in the land. At last, she was safe. Or at least she was until she realized that the dragon on the left, behind the gray one was getting really big…. and the little pink one that had actually become her favorite was mutating into a really ugly creature.

It was probably something in the air… or maybe the water… (She’d been warned not to drink the water in foreign kingdoms). So there she sat, watching her dragons grow. Their teeth got bigger; their wings developed; their talons grew long and menacing. She could no longer keep her dragons under the bed or even in the closet. The Health Department no longer believed that they were dogs and “Seriously frowned on keeping dragons in a residential area,” to quote the citation that they’d posted on her door.

She had to do something…but what?? Then our Princess came up with a marvelous idea! If she couldn’t fight her own personal dragons, she’d get somebody else to do it. But who??? A plumber? A doctor? A monster truck driver???! (That whole “butcher, baker, candlestick maker” schpeel never even crossed her mind because our princess was a very progressive royal).

Eventually, she decided that none of her original types would do. She needed someone (how do you say???… Bigger?Better? …Brighter?) in a higher income bracket??? Closer to the top of the food chain??? What she needed was a bonafide, card-carrying Prince. So she looked high and low (sometimes really low) for a Prince. It was like an open cattle call for all sorts of Prince Imitators. At her most desperate, she placed the following personal ad:

Educated BP (Black Princess) tired of kissing frogs in search of a Prince seeks White Knight for dragon fighting….

She ended it on what she thought was very clever note: Frogs Need Not Apply.

When each prospective Prince went out to fight her dragons he came back in defeat. His armor a bit tarnished… or the tip of his lance was broken… or the plume in his helmet was wilted and molting. If you’ve ever seen wilted plumage you know that it’s a very uncool thing. It’s got a revolting wet dog smell that just hangs around in the air for days. With each defeat, the Princess cried great big tears because she felt as if her heart was breaking.

The dragons that’d followed her around for years were unfamiliar now. They scared her and she couldn’t hide from them no matter how far she ran. They just kept chasing her, waiting for her to get tired of running so that they could devour her. The more she thought about it, the more she believed that they must’ve taken one of those ACME Correspondence courses when she wasn’t looking, because they’d obviously graduated from Dragon School. They could breathe real fire now, and not just enough to melt a few marshmallows– we’re talkin’ full-blown flame throwers here!

Frantically, our Princess tried one Prince after another. Surely someone could kill her dragons for her. Surely someone could set her free. She began to scrape the bottom of the Prince Barrel so to speak and found some “Princes” who had no real desire to help her. She even met one or two who actually sprouted horns and turned into a dragon right before her very eyes. So she packed up and left, again. This time she managed to bump off a dragon or two with the help of her Kingdom Advisor (they called it a “shrink” back in her home kingdom). She even had a few Royal Supporters who helped her cause, but she still had a herd of dragons on her tail when she left the Northern Kingdom.

She fled to an Enchanted Mountain in a Kingdom by the Sea. At last, her dragons were silent. She could finally put her feet up and let her hair down. She lived in peace on her mountain until she realized that she was all alone. Sure, she’d managed to hide from her dragons, but they’d never truly disappeared. The high altitude on her mountain only made it harder for them to breathe deeply enough to kindle up a really good flame.

She came down from her mountain because she hated the isolation. Besides, she felt stronger, more capable, and only a tiny bit afraid of her dragons. She didn’t want to be alone, but neither did she want to seek out anymore false knights to fight for her. She moved to a Kingdom near the Sun and was surrounded by new and exciting subjects. She liked this place until her dragons began to pop up. To her dismay, some of her subjects actually jumped on the backs of her dragons and began to hunt her down. Well, she wasn’t going to take that lying down! At first, she ran. She went to a Powerful New Age Enchantress who helped her fight off her dragons until there was only one left.

But what a menacing monster he was. His name was Fear and he was one of the OD (Original Dragons) from her homeland, grown up big and strong. She almost gave up in despair until a shining White Knight appeared on the horizon. She told him her tale of woe and begged him to champion her. He was perfect!

He flashed his pearly whites (all Princes have those — yellow teeth are just so un-princely) then rode off to fight her dragon. Under the Knight’s gentle touch the Princess bloomed. She even laughed and smiled as old dragons popped up again. As a matter of fact, she punched out many a dragon tooth…knowing that dragons that have to gum you… can’t kill you.

Then one day her Prince decided that he needed a major vacation because being her Knight was becoming a full time job. To top it all off, the Princess had put him on a huge horse and loaded him down with a full suit of armor, a helmet, and all that other knight stuff… and to be honest? The horse hair bothered his allergies and the armor was giving him a really bad rash. In short, he wanted to resign as Chief Dragon Slayer. In the face of such honesty, our Princess actually took this rather well.

NOT!

She totally freaked out.

She felt alone and betrayed. Fear had been waiting for just such an opportunity. He’d rounded up some of his dragon buddies and they surrounded her on all sides. Our Princess feared that she would have to pack up and leave yet another place that she had come to love.

She’d even gotten tempted by an Evil Wizard who offered to solve all of her problems in exchange for her immortal soul. All she had to do was sign on the dotted line… in blood, of course. Now, after all that she had been through, our Princess was no dummy. She told that Evil Wizard to go and scratch himself and she ran full throttle to The Most Powerful One, the Ancient of Days, the ruler of the land who had all the answers.

She told Him the whole story and asked Him to help her. He promised to give her His love and His help. He said she could draw on His strength whenever she was afraid, and He promised that He’d never leave her like some flesh and blood knight. She would be His and she’d never be alone.

Of course, our Princess thought this was all totally cool. She began to call on Him to fight her Dragons and with each of His victories her faith in Him grew. She began to see Truth and understand Justice and all that good stuff. The dragons began to die from lack of food and attention and her life was finally at peace. She was so happy.

Then, one day, the White Knight (who’d been watching the battles from the sidelines) decided to return to his homeland. They got together and ate Chinese food under the stars. Our Princess was tempted to try to cling to the good times that they had shared in the past, but she knew that she had to live in the Truth of Now.

The Prince and the Princess held each other and she cried because she would miss her sweet Knight even if he wasn’t wearing his armor or riding his horse (She’d never really liked that horse anyway). They shared one last kiss right before he walked away into the dark night. She noticed that he “walked away” and didn’t ride. All the good guys in the movies always ride off into the sunset… but our bold Princess would prefer life to the movies any day. Her Knight had ridden into her life and filled it with joy for a season… but he walked away like the wonderful man that he had always been. She could accept that now that she realized that no earthly prince or shining knight could ever fill her as completely and as perfectly as The Most Powerful One could.

The Princess wrote to the Prince for a while until, like all good memories, he got tucked away in the folds of her brain to be taken out and shared with grandchildren and managing editors. She went on to live to a very old age, and of course, that was “happily ever after.”

THE END

So, Dear Jonathan, I hope you like my story.
Love,
The Princess

PS. Thanks for trying to fight my dragons.

**January 28, 1994
Maui, Hawai’i

BPG foto

Breathe

 

I’ve been in my new home for a week and…
already my first test is upon me.

Right after I moved in I invited my Hanai mom for lunch and she prayed over my entire house. It felt good and it felt right. Without all that prayer over my old house, who knows how  badly things would have turned out. One answer to Mom’s prayers? I am coming to see my part in how things went south so badly in my last place and in all the others. Sure, Frank was a tool… but I’m not innocent either. I was a good tenant, but I was a bad communicator. I let fear stop me from speaking the truth in love or any other way. I opted for silence and avoidance and both set the stage for me to become a victim. And the thing about slapping on the “victim label” is that once it’s affixed to your forehead, it’s really hard to peel it off.

In this week, God has allowed me to finally see that most of my drama in my previous housing situations wasn’t because my housemates were bad people (mostly they weren’t). I’ve always known this. What I didn’t realize was that my fear of confrontation and communication made small problems into giant Kilimanjaro sized mountains. I’ve always known that I hide rather than speak up, but I didn’t realize how extreme I can get with this until last night. My housemate and I have totally different schedules, so I haven’t seen her for most of the week. It’s almost like I’m still living alone. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t loving it. Yet, I’ve wanted to ask her basic stuff like how to use her washer/dryer and what to do about the recycling, but I have avoided saying anything when she is here because I didn’t want to bother her. Plus,  on two separate occasions I almost killed her dog (LONG story) and I’ve been feeling guilty.

I don’t want to come off like the needy roommate because she’s already voiced that she isn’t looking to become best friends. Neither am I. The idea of us braiding each others hair and singing Kumbaya is not on my personal agenda. And after what I went through with Frank, I’m afraid to make waves. I’m on a month-to-month here. What if she thinks I’m too high maintenance and asks me to move? I can’t handle another housing search and move. I’m the new girl on the block. I don’t have a right to say anything.  So I’ve said nothing and would have continued to  say nothing…

Until last night.

I’ve got a ridiculous number of allergies. I’ll have to share the story of my botched allergy testing soon. It’s funny now… but when it happened it was terrifying. Now it seems like the list of things I’m allergic to is ever growing. Last night my housemate was using a scent. I don’t know if it was incense or spray. Might have been an essential oil. All I know is that it was permeating the entire house and I’m sure it was really relaxing for her. Me? I started to have an allergic reaction to it. First, my nasal passages started to tingle. Then my chest started to tighten. Next, my lungs started to feel like they were on fire. I’ve had this happen before so I didn’t freak out. Chlorox wipes, hand sanitizer, perfumes, colognes, hairsprays… they all have the same effect on me. I tell my students at school not to wear any of that stuff or use any of that stuff in my classroom unless they want to kill me. The hand sanitizer dispenser in my class remains empty and unused for a reason. The last kid to use it slathered the stuff on and I erupted into a coughing/choking spasm as I ran from the room gasping for air.

So… last night it took me a second to realize I was having an allergic reaction since I haven’t had one in my home for the past six years living alone. Did I say anything to her? No, I did not. I went to my room, turned on the fan, and shut the door as if that would keep the smell out. I took some Robitussin and sucked on some Ricola. I put Vick’s Vaporub on my chest and pressed my face to the open window trying to suck in whatever fresh air I could. My chest eventually stopped burning, but I was up most of the night. When I finally woke up this morning my chest felt like I’d been punched really hard by a biker named Vito. It still hurts. Even still, I was trying to think of ways to make this situation work without me actually having to talk to her about it. In the end, I realized I needed to write her a note telling her we needed to talk.

I hate writing notes. My mom and I used to write notes to each other my last year in high school. Communication had broken down so badly between us that we never talked anymore. We’d just leave tense notes on the table for each other. Then it escalated to us leaving tape recordings on my pocket recorder! I was afraid to talk to my own mother. It wasn’t like she was going to beat me. She was verbally/emotionally abusive, but she never hit me. Yet, I felt like a fool because I couldn’t face her. Lat night I realized that I’d been afraid to talk to my roommate all week. I was really afraid to say anything last night. People can get pretty sensitive about stuff like this. What if she thought I was trying to control her home or being demanding? What if she decided that my allergies were the first and last straw? I should just tell her I’m moving. Better to run than to get kicked out, right?

WRONG on all counts.

Moving? Isn’t that a bit premature? I’ve only been here a week. I was projecting through my own fears and I could see it for what it was. Have I learned nothing from the last housing situation? I’m fairly certain that she’s not going to kick me out because I’ve got allergies. And even if she did, she’d give me time to move out. So, despite my fears, I left her a brief note telling her about my allergies and that we needed to talk about that and other house related stuff so that I know the expectations here. I know she saw it while I was gone because she jotted down at the bottom that we should talk some time this weekend. I haven’t seen her since I left the note though I’m fairly certain she’s in the house. This place is as quiet as a tomb. I’m afraid, but I’m not hiding. My door is open and I know what I need to communicate.

My family made me fear basic communication. I can look back and see the dysfunctional roots of this rotten tree. There is no sin in having needs and no sin in expressing them. I’m tense because you don’t get rid of a life time of dysfunctional behavior overnight. Last week at church a older gentleman prayed over me. He said that God was going to release a spirit of wisdom and revelation in me. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that I can’t hide from this conversation. I need to be able to breathe. When I rented this room, air was not optional. If I stick my head up my butt to avoid confrontation/communication/conflict… the air won’t be any fresher and the problem will only get worse. I will get bitter and resentful and the resulting mess will be my own fault. I have to speak up and I’m trusting God to give me the right words at the right time.

 

e99e2-just-breathe

I’m Moving On Up!

August 27th came and passed
and I’ve said nothing for four whole days.
I actually had lots to say,
but I’ve learned that some things
are best left between me and God.

So I’m  not actually
going to write about
what happened on Move Out Day.
Even in my wildest dreams I couldn’t
have anticipated that.
Landlord pushed every button
I’ve EVER had and instead of
me morphing into Bipolar Girl,
I controlled my anger and tried
to be still and let God handle him.
Honestly? I don’t want to go into details
because I don’t want to remember it.

I’ve  told a few people about
what happened and they got mad.
I had six friends there with me
when Landlord came to do his
interrogation – I mean “inspection”
and they were mad on my behalf.
If in our anger we shouldn’t sin —
I shouldn’t hate him. I get it.
Inciting other people to hate him
would be just as wrong as me hating him
myself. Keeping a record of his wrongs
doesn’t help anybody.
Least of all me.

I’ve had to learn that the really hard way.
After years of rehashing what other
people had done to hurt me.
I used to blog about past hurts
and spared no punches.
I didn’t even bother to change
the names of the not-so-innocent
because I wanted my readers to hate them.
I wanted to feel vindicated by their
anger on my account.
I now understand why Scripture
tells us not to keep a record
of wrongs.
In doing so, we allow them to
fester like an infected wound.
It’s not loving.
It’s not healthy.
It only breeds bitterness
and resentment
and other things
that are neither loving
nor healthy.


Let’s just say I hope that
Hurricane Frank, like
Hurricane Madeline,
has passed. Madeline died
out before hitting Hawaii.
And while I’m not wishing Landlord dead
I’m hoping he will lose steam and just
go away.

I’m not sure that  I’ve seen his worst though.
He implied that he might sue me
for damages.

I know.

And since Jesus said,  “Don’t resist
an evil man” and to “turn the other cheek…”
I’m not going to fret. Jesus said if Frank wants to
sue me — let him. I didn’t do anything wrong
and I’ve got nothing to hide.
I’m done dodging the slings and arrows of this
outrageous little man.
So sue me.

And just when  I  thought
this storm had passed…
Hurricanes Madeline and Lester
were headed this way.

Hurricanes and tsunamis are
in the nature of the Hawaiian Islands,
much like it is in the scorpion’s nature to
sting. It’s in Frank’s nature to sue the people
who trusted him.
Hurricanes. Scorpions. Frank…
all made by God
all controlled by him.

I did end up sending
that open letter to him.
I’d actually written it before
I moved. I figured things would
go south and he didn’t make a
liar outta me.

But my Father
didn’t raise
no fool.
While I’m learning
not to keep record
of people’s wrongs
and to speak the truth
in love…
I’ve also learned that
remaining silent when
I should speak
is the fertilizer in which
bitterness and resentment grow.
So I sent him a second email.
It was all the final business
that never got addressed on Saturday.
(He left because he didn’t like my friends
being there. He went hiking and said he’d
talk to me later).
As if.
I was clear and concise and business-like
in that second email.
No signs of Panic, Anxiety, Fear…
or their inbred cousins
Bitterness, Rage, and Resentment.
I “said what I needed to say”
before informing him that
I’d kept records of every
email, text message, voicemail,
and correspondence ever exchanged
between us in the past three years.
I told him I had photos of the unit
before and after any damages
he’s alleging I did.

So I’ve been waiting the past five days
to see if I’d get a letter from his lawyer.
I was warned by a neutral third party
that it’s public record that he’s sued
a lot of former tenants.
I’ve been praying for him —
not because I now have some burning
passion to save his soul.
I don’t.
I’m a Jonah.
I wrote that open letter to him
because God said to.
If I never hear from him again,
I’d be good with that.

Unfortunately,
he emailed me today.
He said he’s got my deposit
in cash and he wants me to come
get it.
Hell
will have to
freeze over first.

He didn’t like that I had so many
friends there on Saturday.
He kept telling me to make them leave.
He wasn’t going to remove the mask
and release the claws
with such a great crowd of witnesses.
And now he wants me to come back alone?
That would be like the Israelites
going back to Egypt.
Again, I say, “My Father didn’t
raise no fool.”

God has already provided for me.
I thought I would need that money
in order to survive once I moved out
on my own. That’s why I didn’t
send the email before I moved.
I was going to wait until I got the
deposit check back.
I am still not quite so sure
WHY I have so much money in my
checking account,
but I do.

I don’t need that money from him.
I don’t even want it.
If he won’t mail it like I asked
I’m tempted to email and tell him
to donate it to charity.
That would make him
stop and think.

Either way
Hurricane Madeline
is a thing of the past
and Lester might just
go the same way.
People here are preparing
for the worst
but are waiting to breathe
a sigh of relief should Lester
go the way of Madeline.

That’s how I felt before I moved.
Hurricane Frank is just
a lot of hot air. He’s the big
wind that had the power to
make a lot of waves in my life
the past three years.
But he’s not omnipotent.
His power over me is limited
at best.
Like Pharaoh,  he needs to realize
that it’s time to let this person go.

Another thing that I’ve learned
through all of this?

The thing about wind, waves,
and storms…
Jesus only has to say the word
and they will be still.

Keep praying for Frank.
He’s not worth my hate
or yours either.
All of this was yet another test
that I’ve passed.
And if I happen to bump into
Frank up in heaven one of these days,
I’ll know that his presence there will be due
at least, in part,  to our prayers and
to what happened on
Movin’ On Up Day.
Saturday, August 27th.

 

Open Letter to My Landlord

Tomorrow I move out after living here for three years and I am excited. Technically, I have until the end of the month… legally, I have until September 6, but “the cloud” is moving on and I’m not stupid. In the Bible, God led the folks on the exodus by being either a pillar of fire or a cloud. Even a dummy could see when it was time to move on. While I do not see a physical cloud, I know that God is calling me to follow him away from this place. After everything that has gone on here and in my other living situations, I’ve learned one major lesson: in your anger do not sin.

To avoid doing that I have had to learn how to “speak the truth in love.” It hasn’t been an easy lesson to learn. In the past, I left living situations angry and bitter. I held on to resentment like a pit bull gnawing on a femur. I was mad at God for letting me get hurt and I cursed people. It would be really easy to curse my landlord. He’s so curse worthy, but to do so would prove I’d learned nothing. Tonight I sat down to draft an email I plan to send him once I’m gone. It’s long, but I want to share it here because it surprised the daylights outta’ me. Names have been changed to protect the innocent and the not so innocent. As you read it, please pray for him and all of the people he has hurt: 

 

August 27, 2016

Hi Frank,

Now that I’ve moved out I wanted to clarify my last email to you in light of your last email to me. When I said that I hadn’t meant to offend you with my email, I meant that. But please don’t take that as an apology. I stand by everything I said in that email. You thought I was judging you based on what Sarah and her husband Mitchell had said about you after you terminated them. Actually, they said very little because a while ago I told Sarah that I didn’t want to talk to her about you. It felt like gossiping and it was making me stressed out more than I already was. In the two months before she left, I actually never even spoke to Sarah. I didn’t actually see her until the day she moved out and she was in tears.

Frank, the day I moved in a former tenant tried to warn me about you before she moved out. She told me a whole bunch of stuff about you that scared me. And it wasn’t just her. The cable guy warned me about you the day he hooked up my service. Then there was that attorney from the Civil Rights Commission representing another tenant who was suing you for violating her civil rights. SHE warned me about you too. With all of those warning, I was still willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. You were fair to me and you didn’t do anything really weird, so I tried to ignore everything that I had heard. I prayed for you and I tried not to let certain things that you did bother me.

When you raised the rent last year I knew I still wanted to stay, so I cut expenses to make it work. This year, I tried everything that I could to cut even more expenses and I would have stayed, but I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of giving you rent checks through April up front. You would be leaving the island with thousands of dollars of my money and I have no lease. The day Sarah left she did tell me about your legal troubles with immigration. I didn’t know if that were true, but I already knew that I needed to leave. The day that I walked into my home and you were there without my permission spooked me. The fact that I could tell that you went in other times after that upset me more. I’d told you it was ok to come in, but you had to give me notice first. You never did that. You just invaded my privacy. Even still, I said nothing. Then, when I started looking at rentals in town a realtor managing the property warned me about you, too. Frank, a complete stranger warned me about you. Other landlords that I met while looking for a place told me it was illegal for you to ask for the rent checks through April up front like that and for you to enter my home without warning. They all warned me about you. And still, I said nothing. Frank, I didn’t judge you on the words of Sarah and her husband. I judged you on your actions and the warnings of many people.

Your email to me actually wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. I thought you were going to rip me a new one. Frank, is this really how you want to be known? At first, I was scared of you. Then I was angry at you. Now? I feel sad for you. Frank, you’re in your 70’s. You’ve had a bout with ill health. If you died tomorrow where would you spend eternity? I know you don’t believe in Jesus, but he believes in you. Why else would he send so many Christians to live  on your land? We’ve all prayed for you at some point in time… me, Alan, Sarah, Mitchell… and you’ve managed to make us all go away. Alan lived here for eight years before you evicted him. You can make us all leave, but you cannot run away from Jesus or hide from the fact that he is real. You have made some choices that have gotten you a bad rep, but you shouldn’t be upset about me judging you. You should be concerned about God, the Judge who judges justly. One day you will stand before him and have to give account for everything you’ve ever done to all of the people he placed in your life. It is a scary thing to face the judgement of the Living God, Frank.

I forgive you.. IF you’re still reading this, by now you’re pissed. How dare I say all of this to you?! But from where I sit, how dare I not? It doesn’t matter if I forgive you. I’m not ever likely to see you again. It matters that Jesus forgives you and that you are not so far gone that you refuse to ask for his forgiveness. I meant what I said in my email. I am thankful that I had this place to live because I needed to heal and to get stable. Besides my obvious health problems, I have Bipolar Disorder. I struggle with deep depression and suicidal episodes. That’s why I avoid conflict like the plague. I let people walk all over me. I cry and I hide. I couldn’t figure out why God would send me to live here and then throw all that stress at me. When I moved in, I asked my friends to come for a house warming so we could pray a blessing over this place. We also prayed for you. I believe God shielded me these past three years from all the drama. I am not the scared and sick woman I was when I moved in. So, you see, I had to write that email to you because I am healed and I am stable. God used you to help accomplish that in me. So, again, I say thank you.

Please do not bother to send me another mean email. I will not read it, but I will pray for you. I will continue to pray for you. One day, your past will catch up with you, Frank. But before it does, ask God to forgive you now and let him heal what is broken in you.

Peace and grace,

Bipolar Girl

“A+” for Effort

I feel like I passed a test.

For my entire life
I have avoided conflict
like the plague.
My flight or flight reflex
dates back to childhood.
My family brought out the
passive aggressive in me…
unfortunately
the aggressive side
was buried deep.

When I got angry
I cried.
When I was depressed
I cried.
When I was afraid
I cried.

It got so bad that my mom
used to say that I would cry
if you looked at me too hard.
She also said I was stupid
for crying.

My family thought crying
was a sign of weakness
and I was the weakest link –
goodbye.

When my bipolar manifested
I avoided conflict and confrontation
like the Bubonic plague because it could trigger
an episode and once I started spiraling out,
I’d end up crashing like an airbus
without fuel. I’d end up suicidal
and the fall out could last months.

So I generally let people walk all over me
or my passive passive side would exert itself
and I’d hide from them.
I hated that because in my heart of hearts
I wanna to be a fighter.
I felt stupid when I cried
but even stupider when I hid.
Eventually, God would convince me that I had
to confront if only to insure the safety of my
mental health.
So over the years I’ve had to confront
and there have been times that I’ve done it well
and things have worked out,
but there have been enough times that it backfired
and things got worse
that I worried about it causing my mental health
to take a nose dive…

Which is why I found myself in my current
situation. My landlord has been taking blatant
advantage of me and I’ve been too chicken sh**
to do anything about it. (God knows that I curse
on occasion, so the **  was for your benefit dear
Reader, not his)

This morning he sent me a nasty email.
(My landlord, not G0d)
I have been dreading this for days.
I had an email all ready to send him a week ago,
but I discarded it because I was afraid to make him mad.

It didn’t matter that I was mad
and had good reason to be. I have learned
over the years that speaking my mind
or even speaking the truth, doesn’t always
end up in my favor.

I’d written him an email that I actually did send.
My friend thought it was actually too nice.
I even thanked him in it.
It was nowhere near the sentiment of the first few drafts
that will never see the light of day, but it did say what
I needed to say… and I didn’t apologize for it.
I set a boundary and I told him what I needed.

That he chose to come up swinging says more about
his character than it says about mine.
And this is where the test comes in.
There is a saying: The teacher doesn’t talk
during the test.
Since I am a teacher, I get this.
There comes a time when you have to
see if your student has actually learned what you
have been so painstakingly trying to teach them.

When I read his email my heart clinched.
If I were white, I’m sure all the blood would
have drained from my face.
In the past, this is where the tears
would have made an entrance.
The ground beneath me would have
started shaking
and the world as I knew
it would have startedspinning out of control.
The hysteria and the panic
would choke me
and it wouldn’t be pretty.

But it didn’t happen.
None of it.
In that instant
(I would have missed it
if I’d blinked)
I knew I need to pray for him.
I’ve been praying for him a lot lately
because my heart was hard towards him
and I knew it. But this time?
My first response wasn’t hatred.
It wasn’t even fear.
I needed prayer.
I called a friend
who was up at 7am and
just raring to pray for me.

I went on to have a really awesome day.
My students are amazing.
I’ve been telling them the story
of my housing saga.
It’s like a tela-novella to them minusthe cheesy overacting.
I even stepped out of my zone today
to go to a special luncheon at school.
In my seven years working there
I’ve never gone to any of these monthly
gatherings. They push my Bipolar Buttons.
But today of all days I went.
I smiled.
I talked.
*I passed.

It wasn’t until it was time to go home
that my body started to react.
My chest was getting tight and I
couldn’t breathe.
I prayed and then
I took another nitro tab.

Then I knew what I needed to do.
I couldn’t run from this confrontation.
I had to face it head on and I had to do it
alone. My friends couldn’t shield me.
So I grabbed a piece of paper and I wrote
out what I would say to him so I wouldn’t cry.
I’d called him earlier in the morning
after I prayed with my friend
but he didn’t pick up.
This time, I was all prayed up.
I was ready.

I couldn’t run
and if I hid
where would I go???
I was afraid to go home,
but that’s where all my stuff is.
I’m packing. It can’t run.

When he picked up
I wasn’t afraid.
I read my script
and reiterated
what I needed from
him to close this chapter
in my life and
he agreed.

Gone was the angry tone
from his email. He was actually
quite passive. Go Jesus.
Did I mention that I asked
my facebook world to pray
before I called him??

When I got off the phone
I could only think of doing one thing:
I went back into my classroom
and started singing praise songs
at the top of my voice.
The windows were shut and it was
after five, but honestly? I didn’t care
who heard me.

I had my first real confrontation
with my first real enemy
and I didn’t crumble like an
Oreo. My hands weren’t even
shaking.
It was like Bipolar Girl had
left the building
and the only person who was left
was me.
And I passed.

I. had. passed.
It might seem like a minor
thing to most people
but it was huge for me.
This race is almost
over and I have stayed
the course.

I sought God’s
will throughout
without trying to
hide my feelings from
him or from you.
Sure
I’ve cried…
and stressed…
and been anxious…
and angry,

but I’ve also prayed
worshiped and
fellowshiped with other
believers instead of
retreating into myself
or my Bipolar Bubble.
I have allowed God
and people in
and that has made
all the difference.

We passed.

Skeleton in My Closet

For the last few years I’ve been experiencing pain in my bones.
It started out small… we thought I broke a bone in my finger.
It wasn’t broken… it just hurt.
X-rays showed something, but they couldn’t tell if it was a break.
The x-rays also revealed a old fracture that I hadn’t known I had
that had healed without me knowing.
My bones are rather weak.

The pains continued to get worse
so that some days I could barely move certain joints.
I wallowed in a lot of self-pity because
I felt like it wasn’t fair.
First the bipolar
then the hysterectomy
followed by the adhesions
and then the ill affects of being
over-medicated for so long.
I kept getting hit by waves of ill health
one right after another.
The mental stuff was hard enough
to contend with
without all the physical stuff.
I wondered how much more I could endure
before I snapped and became
a full time Bipolar Girl

When was God going to cut me a break?

Some days I can barely move my fingers.
Most days I can barely turn my head.
Correction: I can move them, but it hurts.
Both my hips hurt and I’ve learned to ignore
the pain in my knees and ankles.
At its worst
I live on Advil and Tyleno.

My old doctor had no answers for me.
We ran a bunch of tests which yielded
neither answers nor relief.
PRAISE GOD for my new doctor.
She has done more to help me in the
last five months than my other doc
did in ten years.
Granted, he did diagnose
all my vitamin deficiencies
and excesses that were making
me ill.
But this new doctor?
I like her.
She gets things done.

And as we’ve worked together
to deal with all my mental and physical
health issues
it’s been like peeling the layers off
an onion.
Some of it has been unpleasant
and made me cry…
but it had to be done.

Now? All the major
issues were resolved
when they decreased my lithium.
Evidently, long term lithium use
can have a lot of really gnarly
side effects… and I,
(after 20 odd years of marinating
my mind in that stuff)
unfortunately,
got a lot of them.

So what remains?
The bone pain.
I thought it might be
arthritis since that runs
in my bio-family.
I thought I’d have to resign
myself to eventually losing the mobility
that I just rediscovered.

Turns out that may not be the case.
When I last consulted with my doctor
she’d done her homework.
Seems that long term lithium use
can cause joint pain.
I’ve got a bone density study
scheduled for next month.

What if it IS the lithium?
What if the effects can be reversed?
What if I could end up walking
and moving and living
without pain
for the first time in seven years???

Since there is no cure for arthritis,
it would be a huge blessing
if it WAS the lithium.
Imagining my body without pain
is hard to take in.
Even when I regained my ability
to walk properly
I still had pain.
Some days I had a lot of pain.

As I move from my place
a chapter in my life is well and
truly closing.
When I moved in here I had a lot
of “baggage” and a skeleton or two
in my closet.
God, the Divine Physician” that he is
got me alone so he could perform
what some would call, “soul surgery.”
The woman who moved in here
will not be the same one that moves out.

My home has been a safe place
to wrestle with God over these things
and maybe
just. maybe
during all that wrestling
he popped my joints
back into place instead of
leaving me with a limp.
As my move out day nears
my excitement is building.

I can see a big white ship on my horizon
that was just a shattered dream a few years ago.
God is going to have to resolve my
joint pain issues if I’m to go back to Mercy Ships.
They want you to be able to go up six flights of
stairs without resting.
Guess if the ship goes all Titanic you need to
be able to take the stairs fast so you don’t drown.
Doing that is just one of my goals.
Weird. I have goals now…
and dreams.
I used to be afraid to dream.
Right now I can run up stairs despite my pain
but there could come a time when God takes it all away.
I am believing him for this.

Much of my “baggage” has been unpacked
and the skeletons in my closet
have all been dragged out into the light of day.
The only skeleton that I have to contend with now
is the one that holds me together
and the pain that it feels?
Some
day
that
might
just
become
a thing of the past.

Bipolar Deja View: August 20, 2012

Every now and then I like to reread my own posts. Navel gazing with a purpose, if you will. I like to see how far God has brought me. I wrote this post just after I had to legally change my name AGAIN to the name that I’d been using legally for the past 25+ years (LONG story). It was another one of my bumpy rides that God saw me through. I needed this reminder because the current bumpy road is getting to me…so I thought I’d repost this and then breathe….

For What Comes Next…

A while back I did a series about seasons in my life that paralleled the life of my Saturn. I love my Saturn Ion even if it was listed as one of Top 10 Worst Cars Ever Made.

Ever.

They used to have an advertising slogan that I really liked: For what came next.

My life has always been about preparing for whatever came next. The trials of today were strengthening me for whatever was going to come next tomorrow. Life is about transitions: High School, college, marriage, and beyond. Unfortunately, Bipolar Girl doesn’t handle the transitions well. They always seem to be rather traumatic and jarring. And unlike my Saturn, I do not have dent resistant side panels.

Today is my 44th birthday and I am not the person I thought I’d be. I’m not the Christian I thought I’d be. And if you listen to the Lt. Governor, I don’t own the name I’d thought I’d always be. What comes next? Well, I submitted my petition for legal name change last week and I surrendered my car today to a neutral third party so I won’t be tempted to drive it illegally, and part of me wants to stick my head in the sand until this all blows over.

This loss of independence gnaws at me.
But I KNOW it’s God.

There are no Lone Rangers in the body of Christ, and yet I continually fight for the honor of being the first one. When people weird me out,  I pull in my limbs and head like a turtle on crack. God was telling me to put people first… and I did the exact opposite. I pushed them out and locked the door to the bubble. Now I do not have a choice. It is either reach out to people or stay in my house and starve. Frankly, I’ve been rather emotional and immature about all of this. It is NOT the end of the world. Life is going to be different, but I do recognize that I have a life. For that, I thank God. I never thought I’d live to 44 years old. I thought I’d kill myself before I turned 30.

Fifty billion other things WAY worse than this could be happening to me… so while I am not jumping around thanking God for this… I am thanking God through this. I’m also asking people to pray. I found the coolest scripture today that I’d like to share. It’s rather long, but if I have to go all long winded, I’d rather be long winded about something that really matters: 2 Corinthians 1:3-11

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

I could fake like nothing is wrong or that I’m not stressed out, but what good would that do? Talking about what’s wrong and asking people to pray? I run the risk of getting a lot of unsolicited advice that just might mash my buttons even more… but then again, I just might get the prayers that I’ve been asking for that will result in deliverance from God. Somebody quoted a scripture to me last night:

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

What’s gonna come next after all this is over? I’m going to get my name back, my car back, and a whole bumper crop worth of character. But more importantly… by obeying God I’m going to come to know him more. Aside from that nothing else really matters.

 

A Demon Behind Every Bush

When you’re mentally ill,
it’s hard to know what’s
you and what’s real.
When I’m depressed
the edges of my reality start
to blur and Suicide takes
advantage of that to slip in
amongst the shadows
and wreak havoc with my mind.
Then, when the episode has passed
and I am still alive, it all seems so
surreal.

Like it happened to somebody else.
And I can’t get back the time lost.
It’s gone and I wonder where it went.

As a mentally ill Christian
it’s hard to tell what’s you,
what’s real, and what’s spiritual attack.

Ah. The S-word.
Which is closely preceded
by the D-word and both of
which can severely mess
with your sanity
unless you remember
that, as an adopted child
of God, you are not alone.
You’ve got the Father,
the Son
And
the Holy Spirit
all ready to kick some
ass on your account.
(Yep. I said, “ass.”
Deal with it.)

This particular roller coaster ride
has been particularly bumpy.
This past month I’ve had more ups and
downs that I should’ve been able
to handle on my own.
By now, I should’ve been
suicidal.
But I’m not.
I generally cannot take this much
pressure before those thoughts
start crowding me in.
Eventually, I cry out to God
and he catches me
because he always has.

Because of the bipolar
I am not quick to see spiritual warfare
when it happens.
Spiritual warfare. What a loaded topic.
Unlike some Christians, I do not
see a demon behind every bush
because I have an illness that predisposes
me to dark thoughts and even darker places.

As a new believer,
people would tell me that all I had to do
was “rebuke Satan” to get rid of my depression.
I was told to “plead the blood of Jesus.”
“Take every thought captive…”
And a whole bunch of other stuff that is
straight out of the bible,
but really didn’t help.

Mental illness is not a demonic stronghold
any more than diabetes or cancer
or brain tumors.
All of which are very real and can kill you
if not treated incorrectly.

There were some things wrong with me
that could only be fixed by medication.
But to rule out the spiritual in favor
of the pharmacological is also to err.
There are many things that pills can do
but ward off Satan is not one of them.

I have been so busy trying to stay
ahead of my mental illness in all of this
that I’ve forgotten that I was warned.
The week I moved in
an exiting tenant warned
that there was something
seriously wrong here.
That was one reason I had a
housewarming/blessing ceremony
shortly after moving in.
Despite the shiny white facade,
there is darkness here and I’ve
seen other tenants touched by it,
but it’s never knocked on my door.
Why? At the blessing my friends
prayed for all kinds of good things
for me — notably a “hedge of protection.”
And I have felt totally protected here
until now.

The “cloud is leaving” and I aim to
leave with it. Not before for it. Not after it.
I’ve learned my lesson about running ahead of God
or failing to go when he goes.

All of this is real. I’m not making it up
because I’m mental. I’m being surprisingly
stable about all of this.
Yes, the roller coaster has been bumpy,
but the ride is almost over.

And as I prepare to leave I see a
section of the bigger picture that I’ve failed to see.
There is spiritual warfare going on here. I’d even
venture to guess that there’s been some
psychological warfare too.

I have never had a true enemy before,
but my landlord has willfully set himself
up as an enemy to any tenant whom he cannot control.
Last night as I prayed for him,
I realized I shouldn’t hate him (even though I want to).
I should pity him.
He’s like that scorpion in the fable that stings the fox
causing them both to drown.
He did it because that was his nature.

My landlord hurts people
because he knows no other way.
That is his nature.
Now it’s my turn to get stung.
That I find it stressful and upsetting
doesn’t make me mental or a bad Christian.
It makes me human…

a human who’s  also under attack.

I can now see elements of spiritual warfare here
outside of my mental health issues. The kind of stuff
that pills can’t help. I could throw pills at Satan…
all day…
but I don’t think that would help much.

I also realized something else:  I’m mad
and it’s ok to be mad.

Satan has been ripping me off and…
I want what has been taken from me.
I watched a video on YouTube today that perfectly
sums up how I want to end this post. It’s a mite
long and heavy on the cheese
but it speaks into this present darkness and shines
a whole ‘lotta light…

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: