Today I attended the "Faith & Hope in Mental Illness" Conference. It was really good. The keynote speaker was Bill McPhee, editor of Schizophrenia Digest. He simply told his story and then shared what GOD did in his life. He is not healed, he has to stay on his meds, but God gives him the strength to overcome. He had an interesting "saying" which motivated him to persevere until change came: "If things don't change, they're going to stay the same." He didn't want to stay the same and he had to allow God's plan to be fulfilled in his life in order to bring change that lasts. It didn't always go as he prayed it would, but he knows he is successful due to God's interventions.
So what do we do when the storms come? (YES, they will come) How often do we trust Him and rest in complete confidence that HE is in control? It's really hard not to "worry just a little" and give complete control to God. How much harder for those with mental illness problems?
I was surprized that the statistic is 1 in 4 Canadians suffer with some form of mental illness (50% of that number with schizophrenia) - wow - that's a lot of people + their family members + friends and acquaintances trying to support them. It's pretty hard for any of us to NOT be in contact with at least 1 person, some dealing with multiple situations.
GOD is bigger than ALL we have to deal with - personally or within family relationships or from a distance. There is HOPE. There is a LIGHT that can lead them out of darkness. Seek out support until you find it. It may not always come from the source you expect, but God will not abandon you!!! DO NOT GIVE UP!! It always seems darkest before the storm breaks.
"No Shame - No Blame." Take the medication that helps you. No one would just stop taking insulin, or even suggest it. It is a deficient chemical needing to be supplimented. Would you criticize a diabetic for developing that condition? Of course not.
PRAY for those dealing with these issues AND those supporting them. They often deal with frustration, anger, and weariness. God brings us hope in our weaknesses - ALL areas of weakness.
One thing they emphasized today - Focus on their strengths (what they CAN do) and not be preoccupied with all they can't do. That's so true for ALL of us. God always encourages us and calls us higher. He wants to lift us OUT of the mire - out of our "pit" - to live in the inheritance HE has provided for us. It's not something we can achieve on our own - it's through HIM working IN us - HIS strength in our weakness.
Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Overall I was encouraged through this conference. It is soooo needed to bring the faith community and the mental health sector together - for mutual understanding and to learn to work together. May God strengthen each of us to walk out the path HE has laid before us.