Fighting the good Fight

As mentioned in my last blog post, I do struggle with depression.  For the past 19 days I have been hospitalized with this life changing illness.  I have thought long and hard about whether I should share this part of my story with the world and I think it is time.  I’m not sharing it to gain sympathy (but prayers would be appreciated). I’m also not sharing it because I think the world needs to know.  I am sharing it because I believe the way to end the stigma of mental illness is to talk about it.  I also firmly believe that this is such a huge part of who I am and a huge part of my journey here.

Depression and Anxiety is not something I would wish upon my worst enemy.  It’s a self defeating illness.  When you get sucked into the pit of hopelessness and despair, the mind tricks you into thinking there is no way out.  This in turn leads to more hopelessness and despair. It is a never ending cycle. Depression can be situational, biological, or a combination of both.  I believe everyone in their lifetime will experience moments of depression.  The key word there is moments. People who struggle with biological depression stay in that moment for a very long time. This is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.  That means depression is just as physical of an illness as say cancer.  People struggling with this illness fall into the pit and no matter how hard they try climbing the pit just grows deeper.  Imagine the pain you experience when you first find out you lose a loved. Now imagine being stuck in that pain forever. It surrounds you until you can hardly take another breath without being in pain.  This pain is not just mental pain either.  It’s also very physical.  Depression makes it hard to eat, sleep, wake up, and just about do anything in life.

With that being said, my struggle with depression began in high school.  It went undiagnosed, however, up until last year.  I’ve been fighting this thing called my mind with every ounce of my being.  The worst part is that I so often want to give up the fight.  I’m sick of fighting with myself everyday.  Imagine it this way,The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.

Now with that being said, I hope you understand I’m not trying to scare you all.  I just want you to know the reality of what we are dealing with here. I am fighting and I will win, but it’s a disease and like every disease it is treated with medication and rehab (or in this case therapy).  This isn’t to say I don’t believe God could take away my depression.  I certainly believe God can do all things. Yet, I also don’t want to ignore the gift of technology and medication that God has provided us with simply to put him to the test.  To say depression is just a lack of spirituality is just silly.  It’s just like saying the same thing about diabetes or cancer.  How many diabetics would stop taking their insulin to say the Lord would cure them?  That would be putting God to the test which is clearly unbiblical.  No, instead the diabetic uses the insulin God has provided him and trusts that if God wants to heal him, he will.

My God is a God of healing and I FULLY believe God will deliver me from this pain I struggle with everyday.  Whether that be via medication, therapy, or a miracle, I will be delivered.  Sometimes you have to bear with me though, because I am so sick of the pain.  I appreciate all those who have been by my side through all this.

As far as my mission school goes, I am still going for it.  Not only am I going for it, but I am going for it arms up and fighting.  I’m fighting for my life.  Everyday I’m struggling to survive this life threatening disease.  I will win, however, because I know God has a purpose for me.  He wants me to attend this Mission School and serve him and thats exactly what I plan on doing.  I plan on being a fighter, I plan on trusting God to work through this, and I plan on having a bright future.

Thanks for reading.  If you have any questions PLEASE do not hesitate to ask. I also provided a few quotes on the bottom that I think do a better job describing depression than I do so go ahead and read them if you are curious and would like to know more.

 

“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.”
Elizabeth Wurtzel

 

“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.

Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”
Stephen Fry

 

“Killing oneself is, anyway, a misnomer. We don’t kill ourselves. We are simply defeated by the long, hard struggle to stay alive. When somebody dies after a long illness, people are apt to say, with a note of approval, “He fought so hard.” And they are inclined to think, about a suicide, that no fight was involved, that somebody simply gave up. This is quite wrong.”
Sally Brampton

 

Psalms 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.

Psalm 55: 2,4,5 My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. 
Fear and trembling have beset me:  horror has overwhelmed me. 

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My Journey here. My Testimony.

So far, I have written a lot about what this summer will be like as I approach this Fall and start my Mission School journey.  I think it’s time to share a little, however, about how I got to this point in my life.  It’s time I share a little about how I came to know Christ in the first place and what inspired my passion for him and his people.

I grew up in an extremely loving, Christian home. I feel very blessed to have grown up in a place where I heard God’s word daily and was shown who he was.  My parents were and are great examples for me in the faith.  When I was younger, I attended a Christian elementary and middle school.  I learned about God’s word daily.  The problem was my heart.  As I grew older, the bible became more like homework to me than reality.  I knew the facts but I never had the relationship with him.  That’s why when I entered high school I struggled so much.

In high school I was hit from every side.  Having a firm knowledge of the bible I knew what was right and wrong, but I fell into temptation because I didn’t know the creator. I had low self esteem and just wanted people to like me. That’s why I rebelled a little bit in high school.  I hung out with the wrong crowd and did a lot of things I today regret. I still went to the church I grew up in, but  I really didn’t understand what it meant to be a follower of Christ at this point in my life.  I didn’t abandon the faith completely as I still had a moral compass about me and I still had my wonderful family members to be an example to me, but something was missing.

When I got to college, my first week as a freshman shook me to the core.  It was a new place, in a new environment, with new people.  I hated everything about it.  I felt alone.  I was alone.  That’s when my RA told me about a group on campus called His House.  I knew it was a Christian group so I thought I’d give it a try.  That’s when God took hold of me and shook my beliefs to the core.  He not only gave me great friends and a community at school, he also showed me who he was and what grace TRULY meant. I met people who were living examples of Jesus Christ.  They showed me what it meant to be a follower of Jesus.  They lived out what they believed and I wanted what they had. I continued to learn about God and grow in my faith. Two years later, I was baptized in Lake Michigan and Christ claimed me to be his own. He proclaimed a relationship with me that I had long ago left sitting on the sidelines in my life.  Christ claimed ME to be his child not because of anything I did, but because of what HE did for me on the cross. He signed the adoption papers. He made me his beloved child.  He claimed me as his Bride.

“I am my Beloveds and he is mine” Song of Songs 6:3

This is the time in my life when I was on fire for Christ. I was so joyful about what he did for me, I could do nothing else but tell others about him.  God never promised life would be easy as his follower, however.

Last year, I started feeling lonely.  I think a lot of the stuff I had done in High School started catching up with me.  I felt a lot of regret and a lot of guilt.  I started to become depressed.  This began the current season of my life. A season of Depression and Mental Illness. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about this as I am still struggling through it and don’t want it made public. (If you would like to hear more about this side of my story, feel free to ask me in private.  I’m not ashamed of it and would love to help anyone else in need)  There is one thing I think is relevant to the Mission School however that i want to share.

As I have struggled with depression, I have developed a deeper understanding of the human condition.  I understand a level of pain most people can’t even comprehend.  I believe God has blessed me with this knowledge so that I can help others in their pain. My heart breaks for those who are broken.  This gives me purpose.  It gives me hope.  Through Christ, I have a purpose, I have worth.  I want to share this hope with others even more now, because honestly, I wouldn’t be alive without it.

God placed the call to mission school in my life right when I needed it most.  I had no idea where I was going in school and in life.  This reminded me I have a greater purpose. Now, going through this journey, I’ll be able to use the gifts God has blessed me with to share the joy he has given me and tell people about the richness of his grace.

Thanks for taking the time to read a little of my testimony. I pray you now understand a little bit more about why I’m so passionate about this. 🙂  Love you all.

“Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.” Mark 5:19

 

 

 

Meaningless, Meaningless..

So if you used your detective skills, you could probably figure out which book of the Bible I’m going to reference in this post. Got it?  That’s right! It’s Ecclesiastes.  If you have never read the book before, you should. It’s one of my favorite books. It is assumed that the book is written by Solomon, who was the wisest and richest man living during that time period.  Throughout the book he talks about how he has gained all of these things throughout his life and it has all amounted to nothing.  He gained the whole world and still wanted more. Everything was.. well.. you guessed it, meaningless.

I bring this up because we are studying Ecclesiastes at my church currently.  I have already gained so much though our study of it.  One thing in particular hit me hard today during the sermon that I was able to relate to my upcoming journey to mission school.  The statement Pastor Rod made today was this, “Are you living life for God, or for yourself?  If you are living without God, everything in your life is meaningless.”  There is so much truth in that Statement.

First of all, I know I need to live my life for God. Everyday. Period.  I am nothing without him, therefore, I should worship him with my life.  Second, I must not do anything from a selfish motive.  This is hard to do, but that is why we must daily repent and be born again though him.  Lastly, we must find the meaning in our life through him.  God blessed us with this world, so we should love what he created and worship him for it.

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.”

Ecclesiastes 1:1

How does this relate to my Mission School you may wonder.  Well, honestly, it relates to every aspect of it.  This is a new time in my life where I am going to have to stop living for myself and start living for him and for others. Up until this point, I have been thinking of all the great things that will happen for me once I start this mission school and how it will change my life.  That is meaningless!  It’s not about me.  I shouldn’t be focusing on how much my life will change, but how much God can change others lives through me! I’m excited to be Gods tool as I live here on this earth.  What an awesome opportunity.  That doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate my life being changed, because that too is a blessing from God.  I just have to make sure God and his work stays my main focus.

God and serving others is what this  Mission School is about.  Actually, it’s what this LIFE is about. God gives our life meaning.  Anything without him is meaningless.

 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.  That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.  I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.

Ecclesiastes 3: 11-14

Why wait?

For the longest time, I have had no idea what I want to be when I grow up.  If there is one thing I have learned so far in my early twenties, its this: It doesn’t matter.  What I want to be, what I major in, and where I work, it all doesn’t matter.  In the long run, none of it matters.  I have even met people much older and wiser who still don’t have it all figured out, and that’s okay.  We are told our whole life that by the time we are of college age, we are supposed to know what we want.  This has always been a struggle for me, until now.  Now,the only thing that matters is that I follow where I’m being lead and right now, that is exactly what I am doing.

I have two things I am passionate about.  One is my love for Jesus.  The other is my passion for serving others.  I firmly believe God put these passions in my heart so I would follow them.  When I first started telling people I was attending mission school, one womans reply caught me off guard.  She seemed genuinely offended that I would choose to take a year off school to do this.  She said, “Get your degree.  That is the most important.  After that, if you still want to, you can always do it later.”  That statement got me thinking.  Should I finish school first even though I don’t know what I want to do?  The answer to that is simple.  No.  The thing is, even though I don’t know what I want to be or where I want to go, I do know one thing.  I do want to follow and serve God.  This Mission School and awesome opportunity to do just that.  School will always be there, but this moment in my life won’t and I don’t want to waste it.

I feel a calling from God to help people and to share the joy I have found through him.  This is not something I have taken lightly.  I’m ready to go.  This mission school is a way to not only cater to my passions, but to follow my calling as well.  So does it really matter that I don’t know what I’m going to be 20 years from now? No, because 20 years from now I will still be striving to do what I know I can already do today and that is follow Christ.  Why wait?

Reality

I think it’s finally hitting me. The reality of it all is sinking in. In two short months I will be living in a new place, meeting new people, and serving in new ways. This is crazy. I can’t believe it. This is a dream come true. The more I think about it the more joyful I become.

Another aspect of it has also hit me. I need to raise a lot of money in those two short months. I’m not afraid that it will happen, because I trust God with it. I just know it’s going to be a challenging two months. I have realized that the journey doesn’t begin when I move in. It actually begins now. Now is the time I start my journey of fervent prayers, trusting God, and serving.  

I’m so ready for this challenge.  Are you?

 

Once again, I’m so excited to be able to share this experience with you.  Please consider joining me in this by visiting my FUNDRAISING page and learning how to donate.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

 

 

 

Fundraising!

Clearly fundraising is going to be a huge project for my summer.  I have several ideas of things that might be fun to do.

  1. Pancake Breakfast
  2. T-Shirts
  3. Pop Can Drive

If you would be interested in doing any of those please let me know in the comment section or via Facebook.

Thanks Friends!  

Also Please remember to visit my FUNDRAISING page to find out how you can donate.

About it all..

The Bridge Street Mission School is an 8 month training built to prepare and release young people into a life of mission. Students are embedded in a lifestyle of intentional Christian community where they develop an intimate walk with Christ through a culture of fervent prayer, biblical teaching, and urban ministry experience. We are committed to seeing a generation of young people who know Jesus and make Him known. We not only give our students increased knowledge, but also support what is learned with first hand experience bringing the gospel to the darkest places on earth. (to learn more, visit my ABOUT page)

I am so excited to begin this Journey.  It does however require a lot of money.  I do trust God will provide with the help of my family and friends.

My Total need is $7500

I have 2 months to raise $3000 of that

I need your help and prayers as I work to raise these funds.  If you would like to help. Please visit my FUNDRAISING page.