Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mental Illness, Part Two

So, I went for many years believing that all mental illness was a sin and was basically the fault of the individual who had it. I know that deep down in my heart I was wrong, but it would take a truly tough lesson from the LORD to change my beliefs.
In January of 1998, I began to notice that my daughter was starting to act very possessively of her items. She was writing her name on everything that she owned. She kept everything she could. She wouldn't get rid of anything. She hoarded paint chips, sales flyers, catalogs, pieces of paper, books, magazines, anything that she could read, toys from her childhood, all kinds of stuff that made no sense. This went on for months and I finally couldn't take the mess any longer. She watched as I went through the piles of stuff. I could tell that she was upset about the whole thing, but didn't realize how upset until later. That evening she was muttering and grumbling to herself and was very angry. She began to pinch her neck leaving red marks. I thought she was just being a normal teenage brat.
During this time, I also began to talk with her about the fact that she is autistic. For all her life we had avoided this subject like the plague. I did NOT want her to be autistic and to admit it felt like tremendous shame. She was my only child. I had been lead to believe when she was three years old that if she got the proper training that she would no longer have any disabilities. And the only exposure I had had to autism was through my older brother and my sister-in-law's sister who had both worked with the severely autistic. Autism felt like a prison sentence in isolation without the possibility of parole. This was not what I wanted for my precious daughter. However, as soon as we began to discuss the facts of autism with our child, we all started to change for the better. We learned so much about this developmental disability and about our daughter. But she also hated it! She hated that she would not be able to join the military. She hated that she would not be able to become an astronaut. She hated that she would not be able to become a pilot. She hated and rebelled against the limitations that this disorder placed upon her life.
April, on her 16th birthday, when I expected things to calm down and for her to act more mature, the exact opposite happened. By then she was angry almost all the time. She muttered, grumbled, and complained through-out the day. The only time that she was calm was when she was asleep and she didn't sleep that much. She also started to throw things so that she could break them.
By the time June rolled around, she was hitting herself, pinching her neck, yelling at people who she saw in her room (but they were actually miles, if not a thousand miles away), was full of anger, and was throwing and breaking lots of things. She accused people of taking her things, of lying about her, of mocking her, and of teasing her. She could clearly see and hear these people, but there was no-one there. She would write horrible notes about these people and about the awful things that she wanted to do. There were days when she would cry out to me that she wished she was dead and that her tormentors would also die.
It was a horrible time in our home. We didn't know what to do and what to think. Of course I thought she was demon possessed. I begged God to heal my daughter like he had done for the woman in Matthew 15:21-28. It was during one of those times that the Holy Spirit spoke to me and asked me if I would be like Abraham and trust God with my only child. Would I even be willing to totally sacrifice myself from my daughter and allow the LORD to fully have control over her. It was very hard for me to do that, but with much tears and pain I finally laid my child on the altar and surrendered her completely to God.
From then on, things began to change for the better. Out of desperation we finally got our daughter in to see a psychiatrist. He immediately put her on medication. I cried for 24 hours. I felt like I had given in to the Devil. But the Holy Spirit comforted me. It took many tests, many different doctors, many different medications, many years, and even video-taping our daughter to show her that there was no one who was truly tormenting her before we "conquered" this pychosis.
Next time I will write more about the truth that I learned.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to one and all. I hope that it will be a blessed day full of memories that you will carry with you for a lifetime.
The greatest gift that was ever given is still available for you to accept today. That is the presence of God in your life. God gives to you the opportunity to receive Jesus Christ as your very own, personal Saviour. No strings attached. One size truly does fit all. He never gets dull, never goes out of style, never runs down, never breaks, and never leaves. All you need to do is realize that you are a sinner bound for hell, believe that God loves you and that Jesus died on the cross shedding his blood to pay the penalty for all of your sin, and then just ask him to come into your life as your Saviour. It is as easy as that. Anyone can do it. Why not you? Why not now? It is the best gift in the whole world and it's waiting just for you.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mental Illness, Part One

Many years ago, as a young christian, I attended a church where the preacher told me that mental illness is from the devil. He quoted to me II Timothy 1:7, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." He stated that if God gave us a "sound mind", then who was it that gave us a "troubled mind"? had to be Satan. I trusted this preacher and from then on believed that any mental illness came from the devil. This also meant that the person who had the illness must have sinned. It just made sense to me that sinfulness and mental illness went together.
During this same time, I learned that mental illness and the taking of medications for it were sinful. There was no reason to take medications because if you just got right with God, then you wouldn't have any mental problems. Taking medicine was almost like doing drugs. It would alter your mind and make you susceptible to more satanic influence. Since mental illness was from the devil, then medications for it must also be from the devil. Even that made sense to me.
I heard the lessons about the demoniac(s) of Gadara found in Matthew 8, Mark 5, and Luke 8. These guys were possessed with devils. One guy was so tormented by them that the book of Mark describes him in grim detail. This guy definitely had mental illness, and he was possessed by a legion of demons. There is no greater "proof text" used to prove that mental illness comes from the devil. Especially since this man was delivered from his torment as soon as he "trusted in Jesus". The devils were cast out and there was peace.
This is what was taught to me and this what I believed for many, many years. I became very judgmental of anyone who had mental problems. They would be fine if they would only confess their sins and turn from them. I just knew that God would instantly heal them the same way he did when he delivered the demoniac of Gadara.
Join me again next time to read about what I learned many years later.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's My Birthday

Today is my birthday. I am so thankful to God for all of His blessings in my life. When I consider what He has done for me, I realize that my life is amazing. The greatest gift that I could ever receive was given to me freely, and that is the Lord Himself. Why He would love me, a rebellious sinner, is beyond my human comprehension. God loves me just because He is love and not because of anything that I have done. Thank you Lord!
Guess what? God also loves you no matter what you do or don't do. There is nothing that can change the Lord. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Caring people

I just want to thank the LORD for providing caring people when there was a need. Last Monday, we had a freaky storm that caught most of us off guard. It had been forecasted, but I for one, never thought it would hit our county as bad as it did. It was like a winter hurricane. There wasn't much snow, but there was lots of wind and very cold temperatures. It caused the roads to turn into ice arenas, and since we live in an area with lots of hills, it made for extrememly dangerous driving.
Rebekah was at work in the next town. We thought that Jerry would be able to go get her as he had a four-wheel drive he was using as he patrolled Port Orchard. There was no way that I would be able to go get her because I would get stuck. However, Jerry was not able to go as he was extremely busy with accident investigations.
The power went out all over the south end of our county. Ours included. It was all I could do to keep the house above 60 degrees while the wind howled and the temperatures continued to fall. I began to worry about Rebekah and how she would get home. Jerry and I made several calls to her cell-phone and to her boss, but we couldn't get through to anyone. She was about to get off work when Jerry thought of calling the base police. What a fantastic idea!
One of the police officers was able to "grab" Rebekah before she got outside the gate. He took her to the Quarter Deck where she got to meet the base commander. (That was a real treat for her.) She was entrusted to the car of a navy seaman (seawoman) who looked after Bekah until the gal got off work. This gal was even willing to bring Rebekah home until she learned how bad the roads were. They tried to get her a room in the base motel, but that wasn't allowed.
By midnight I was stressed to the max and tried to keep busy in our dark house. I wanted Rebekah home as I was afraid they would put her out of the base when the navy gal left. However, they were taking good care of my "baby". They got her a blanket and pillow and allowed her to sleep in one of the offices. What a kind gesture.
Jerry was able to come home by 12:30am and I could then begin to relax. The power came back on soon there after and I decided to go to bed. Early the next morning we were up and off to Bremerton to retrieve our Rebekah. She had a great time staying at the base. And we are so thankful for the kind and caring base police officer, the base commander, and the navy seaman who took such great care of our precious daughter. All praise to God who provides all of our needs.