What God Taught Me in 2020 - He Cares about our Mental Health
Friends, it’s an understatement to say that 2020 was a year unlike any other, but God showed me He is so near and He cares so deeply for each one of us. This looked very different than I would have ever thought. I have truly learned, “He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3) I just had no idea how brokenhearted I was.
But in order for Him to heal and bandage our wounds, we have to let Him in. We have to invite Him into the hard places of our story. The places that we’ve pushed down so far, maybe that we’ve even hid from ourselves in shame and don’t know need to be healed.
There are lies many of us have believed our entire lives and there are things we’ve pushed down in shame. For so long, I had believed that if I truly am God’s child, if I truly love God, I won’t have any struggles, especially mental health issues. Those are the ones I feared the most and have been associated with such shame and have had such a stigma in the Christian culture.
I believe this is why we are hiding these things from each other, and God is calling us to come out of hiding because we are truly safe with Him, and we are safe with our true brothers and sisters in Christ.
Oh sweet friends, let me tell you, Christians can have mental health issues, and God can use them for His great and glorious purposes. If you look at the Bible, the heroes of our faith in both the Old and New Testaments had struggles. They were not perfect. They had struggles, even mental struggles. They were imperfect people who were devoted to God, His will not their own, and seeking to wholeheartedly follow Him on whatever path He chose for them. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”
Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet and was powerfully used by God. David, a man after God’s own heart said, “I lie in the dust; revive me by your word, I told you my plans, and you answered. Now teach me your decrees. Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds. Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instruction. I have chosen to be faithful.” (Psalm 119: 25-30) And as he cried out to God, the Lord met him, comforted, encouraged, guided him, disciplined him in perfect love, and showed him how to live in the midst of his heartache and pain.
Girls, to be transparent, I have fallen apart emotionally and mentally many times this last year, but it’s in these times that I’ve been invited into deeper communion with God - deep, rich relationship and intimacy. I have grown to truly know and believe that He loves me because He loves me because He loves me. It’s not because of anything I can do, but it is all because the finished work of Jesus on the cross.
For me, many things have come out that have been buried under the surface for a long time, but I had been unknowingly lying to myself and others saying I don’t struggle with that. I’d been afraid and ashamed to let God into those hidden places. These places have had a shameful stigma in the Christian community, mental health challenges such as anxiety and depression.
Girls, as I have given my mind to God and let go as best I can, it’s been very hard at times. There have been many tears, but I have experienced God’s love in more powerful ways than I have ever experienced; where I can sob with Him, be completely undone, and experience the warmth of His presence, nearness, and perfect love.
And He has given me the strength and ability to walk forward with Him in these challenges knowing He is there with me in it. He has reminded me of this verse, “They overcome him (the enemy), by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death.” Revelation 12:11 This is my testimony whether I would have chosen it or not, He is with me in it, and He is using it. The deeper I get into who I truly am in Christ, the more I see a death to this image of a perfect Christian girl that had it all together. I have been so broken, but my Savior is making me whole.
And what’s been even more surprising, as I have shared my places where I have felt such shame, I’ve been met by love, warmth, and “me too’s” from Christian friends. As I’ve been vulnerable about things where I thought I would be judged and condemned for, I’ve been met with love both from God and from my Christian community.
I’ve also seen that many of you, dear ones, are struggling with these same things. Oh dear girls, don’t hide your struggles. Let God in. Let Christian community in. There is help. There is hope. There is healing that’s coming. He may not take it away, but He will be with you in it, will show you how to walk in it and have the abundant life that He died to give you in the midst of your struggle.
And dear girls, He will use it. Don’t give up. This is not the end. Perhaps, this is just the beginning of how He will use your story, your hard places for His magnificent glory, for His Kingdom purposes.
I believe He truly is turning mourning into dancing for so many of us! But sometimes we have to let him into the places of hurt, brokenness that have caused us shame and fear. He is your loving Heavenly Father and as St. Augustine of Hippo said, “He loves everyone of us, as if there were only one of us.”
He truly loves you that much, dear ones. He wants you to come to Him and find rest. Soul rest. Rest in Him today. Let your walls down. You will find Him there ready to meet you and wrap His arms of love around you saying it’s going to be okay because the Lord says in Isaiah 41:10, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will you with my victorious right hand.”
Let Him in, dear ones. “Weeping may last for the night but JOY will come in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
*Girls, please hear me loud and clear - there is no shame in Biblically-sound Christian counseling. The right Christian counselor can help you work through hard things. If you are struggling, please talk to someone: a trusted family member, mentor, leader in your church community. Please hear me, do not hide your struggle. Bring it to the light. There is hope. There is healing. There is freedom. There is restoration.