I am your healer

I grew up in the church and went for two reasons: my parents made me, and it was part of the commitment to being in the Girls? Brigade. I wasn't a Christian and didn't believe in God. When I left home at eighteen to go to college, I had decided never to set foot in a church again - but God had other ideas for me and my life. The first person I met in my new college digs was a Christian, and within three weeks, so was I! God really does have a sense of humour!

My mental illness started rearing its ugly head when I was thirteen. For years I didn't know what was happening to me. I was too scared to get help, and suffered in silence and distress; making many attempts to end my life.

When I became a Christian, there were many changes, both big and small, to my life. However, my mental state wasn't one of them. I cried, pleaded, begged and bargained with God to take this part of my life from me. I had difficulty reconciling my faith with my mental illness. How could a God who loved me totally and unconditionally allow this destructive illness to keep happening?

In 1989 I started to write poetry as a way to cope with how I was feeling. I was constantly questioning God about my life with mental illness, and His part in all this. A short while later, I penned my first song.

I thank God for the gift of music He has given me. Over the years it has been a saving grace. No matter how bad things got, or how disturbed my thinking, or how many voices I was hearing, or how withdrawn I had become, if I could force myself to pick up my flute and play, then something happened. It is the same now. I can get lost in the music and become free. All else disappears around me, and I can find peace for a time. I thank God that He has given me a very special friend who will encourage me to play at these times.

Through my poems and songs I have found the Lord and His healing. I believe in God's willingness and ability to heal, but I do not believe He heals all things at all times. There are times when we suffer, but God is always right there with us. He doesn't make us do it on our own, even though sometimes it feels like it. Countless times I have prayed for God to heal me of my mental illness; and although He hasn't taken it away completely, I have seen His healing hands at work.

I still pray for God's total healing, but right now I am okay with what I have. I can live with it because God loves me and has a plan and purpose for my life. He takes me just as I am, and can use this cracked vessel and broken mind for His glory and the furtherance of His Kingdom.

Throughout my life's struggle with my faith and mental illness, I have seen the Lord at work and true to His promises. In Hebrews chapter 13, verse 5, we are reminded of God's promise to never leave us or forsake us. Whilst there have been many times in ill health when I have felt abandoned by God, on looking back I can always find something which makes me realise that He was right there with me. Sometimes it is so small that it is hard to see, but He is true to His word and has always been with me.

When things are hard and living seems impossible, just remember that God is with you - and He is your healer. Find your resting place in Him, and give him all your burdens. You may not see total healing, but He is working healing into your life. And that is what this song is all about.

May the Lord bless you and keep you safe, and may you see His healing hands at work.

Jane, 24/06/2008