Did you write the David Deeper Still Bible study for thousands of women or just me?
This Bible Study is spoon-feeding me through an excruciating time. I know you have had the experience where the day would be simply impossible with the exact few words provided at a particular moment from Scripture. It is an intimate gift from our Lord and I count it amongst my endless blessings. Today, your lessons are that gift to me.
Kay, I thought your first lesson was a joke. A bad one. It was more than I could bear. My breathing stopped. My pulse stilled. You there speaking of bipolar, agony, suicide...I needed you to be my rock, not so....human. You spoke of my worst fears yet they were your reality. Hearing your story did not illustrate for me God's strength and ability to live beyond. In my weakness, your story only served to confirm the real risk of my fears. The pain from thinking of it now makes the tip of my nose sting and my bottom lip quiver.
Kay, my husband is bipolar. One diagnosis was 5 years ago. Before I knew him, his mania had his expelled from College and he took Lithium. Although the verbal abuse and physical threats have been extensive over the past 12 years, there was a recent scene with my husband which illustrated how much worse the abuse had been than I ever allowed myself to believe. (I know God allowed this scene only while I was deep in the Deeper Still Bible Study. Right between Weeks Three and Four. Beth, her love, and her wisdom served as my necessary safety net.) It was like God had turned off the VHS player in my mind. “Tape is up.” ---there was no more room for more attacks. God hit rewind and started playing back scenes for me. Over time and through prayer he allowed me to “tape” them anew. For example, the “new tape” recognizes that I was normal to ensure that our babysitter (a Russian in Germany) knew how to phone 911 in case of an emergency as I packed my breast pump and headed for the office that first day I left my new born baby at home. Similarly, the “new tape” assured that I am an OK person even though I did not like my 2 year old left unattended at a McDonald’s playground less than 100 yards from Interstate 95. These were revelations for me. My husband had been towering over me, filling the shaking house with accusations, “You are too demanding!” Years of verbal abuse assured me he was right.
Watching Lesson 5, I thought, “Kay was lucky not to be a Christian at that time (when married to a bipolar man).” As if divorce or affairs were flavors the non-Christian ice cream parlor offered. Yet, here I am stretching up to the counter to order, “Endurance, with sprinkles of agony, please.”
Of course with God’s grace in Session 6, you blessed me beyond belief. You spoke of the pain of your children from your first marriage and the difference it makes to raise a faithful child from infancy. I am blessed. I am a Christian, in the midst of my husband's raging bipolar. And yes unfortunately that means I am in some ways burdened by the church, its lack of understanding or ability to help. I also have a Christian conscious and knowledge that God alone is enough which battles daily with my intense desire for some human to rescue me from and pluck me out of my situation. Nevertheless, each of my three children speak of God in heavenly ways, inserting Him in conversation not only with me but with strangers. It is a miracle for which I give great thanks. I will endure any amount of pain in order to have the gift of being Christian, especially WHILE my children are young.
You say the culture is at a crossroads. You are right. We need to step up. (hope Beth gets the pun :)) I worry that the problem is even worse than you think or state. Schedules and commitments acceptable even in Christian circles put us at an alarming crossroads on the cultural highway to a dead end. One simple example is that over programming three year olds cuts into family dinners. Facebook’s victory over front porches is another. But let’s go deeper still.
Do ministers or churches really believe in the possibility of true Christian community? 1 Peter 3 speaks to the community, not just the woman. It states that a woman must be submissive even to a non-obedient husband. God does not waste words. He wouldn’t put it in the Bible it weren’t necessary. A church reading 1 Peter 3 is at a crossroads. Should they, blow off the lesson and discount it with, “This passage is for women and non-obedient husbands, not me?” Or should we embrace with “God, you gave me these words. Thus, there must be a submissive woman with a non-obedient husband in my midst. How can I create an Acts II like support system to help bear her burdens?”
I am separated...again. I love my husband and I am committed to him. Yet, separations have been the only refuge for me to keep myself and our children safe and attempt to build a secure life. The first was 4 years ago. I am not divorced. I have not filed for divorce. The Bible is OK with separation, our society is not. Cultural values demand quick answers and immediate solutions; then cast lots of blame. Tell a Christian your mom had outpatient surgery and your freezer will be filled with tuna casserole. Try explaining to the same person that your marriage is failing and you wake two hours before the kids do just to get the agonizing wailing out of the way so you can face your day. The reaction will range from judgment, to providing lawyer’s phone numbers, to inquiries about “how bad can it really be?” My minister sat at our kitchen table with my husband and I. At one point when my husband screamed, stood up, and banged on the table so hard that the salt and pepper flew, the 6 ft, 200+ pound minister responded, “Jim, now I am scared.” Even with the acknowledgement from my husband and me that this scene was only a morsel of what myself and the children regularly endure my minister has denied me support and wonders why I insist on seeing a change in my husband’s heart before I would feel safe having him live in our home again. How bad can it really be? Our culture has decided that if a woman follows scripture, relies patiently on our Lord, and tries to work through a treacherous marriage that “it can’t be that bad.” I am here to tell you the culture is wrong. The observation is not that something is “not that bad,” but that OUR GOD IS THAT GOOD!
Note: It is worth restating that having a mental illness can be NO problem, denying it can be devastating.
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