After struggling through 2011 and 2012, 2013 seemed to be going well. I had stayed out of the hospital for another spring and was teaching my fifth semester at the community college that had hired me in January 2011. I had told them about my disorder, but teaching seemed to really be working for me. I had two classes two days a week and took care of the house and kids the rest of the time. My marriage was on an even keel—we were going to celebrate 20 years married in June with a trip to Nashville that summer. Everything was going well.. Except in my spiritual walk.
I had been mad at God for a long time about having bipolar disorder. Every time I hit a rough patch, I was back blaming God for making me this way. All I wanted was a normal life—and I second-guessed every decision I made to death. I wasn’t looking for God’s guidance in anything because I really didn’t trust him to have what I thought were my best interests at heart.
My experiences in church reinforced to me what a barren life I was living. I enjoyed hearing the sermons and Bible teachings and tried to apply them to my life, but I was growing more and more aware how far my daily thoughts were from God. From obsessing over worries to making decisions without his guidance, I wasn’t operating like a Christian should. I kept wondering why I never wanted to read the Bible, why I never had the kind of joy in life that the Bible talks about that wasn’t dependent on outside factors, why I never could seem to help anyone in ministry no matter what I tried, why I couldn’t concentrate on talking to God in prayer without asking for me, me, me to get what I wanted.
I knew the verse in Romans 8:28 that said ”All things work together for good for those that love the Lord, who are called according to his purpose.” I wondered what my purpose in life was. I couldn’t think of any reason for me to have this disease except that God somehow wanted me to help people like me see some hope for themselves, but I was having such a time with my own struggle with God I certainly wouldn’t have been able to speak very convincingly about him with my life having so recently been a shambles.
I was starting to wonder if I was a Christian at all after all.