28 January 2014

Conditional Healing

I go through the same scenario again and again in my life.  In the midst of the mud of the depression part of my bipolar cycles I cry out to God in desperation and throw myself at his feet. He hears me. Of course he always hears me and he always loves me. He pulls me close and pulls me up to stand again in joy and gratitude and avalanche of certainty that I will keep close to his side so I don't ever have to go through this again. I'm sure you know where this is going.

This particular episode was the perfect storm. I stopped my estrogen therapy three months before and all seemed mostly well as I began to navigate menopause (I had a complete hysterectomy five years ago). Then we got a puppy. Not just any puppy, but a Goldendoodle. Her name is Misha and she is a curly little sweetheart. A sweetheart who can jump over baby gates and reach things on the counter (at four months old) and has energy to go and go and go (and occasionally she goes on the carpet). And have you seen the weather lately? Loads of fun trying to channel her energy in our cozy house when it's -2 degrees out.

None of that is the problem though. The problem is that I just stopped. Stopped reading my Bible. Stopped (mostly) praying. Stopped leaning into my God, my Healer, my Strength. Satan is never one to waste a good opportunity, but what about me? I believe the lies. I always believe the lies.

I'm not good enough for...whatever. I am a failure at this and that and everything. Without layers of makeup and five different hair products I would not be fit to be seen in public. I've let (fill-in-the-blank) down. Again.

I always believe the lies.

I fell hard this time. I don't remember when I felt so broken and empty. All I wanted to do was run. Run as fast and as far from his love as I could because I don't deserve it. I don't deserve Him. But something was different this time. Even at the lowest point I could distinctly feel his hand on me, the way a parent grabs hold of a child about to run into the street, holding me in his firm grip. Keeping me safe. I felt him, Him, clear as could be and He was not letting me go. I wanted to run but he wasn't going to let me.

In November 2012 God told me to stop praying for help to endure and instead pray for healing. Six months later I was able to go off my bipolar meds and I was completely released from treatment soon after. He healed me. So how could I fall so far so fast if I was healed? I realized today that my healing is conditional. Conditional on my staying close to the Healer. As long as I keep close to Him I am healed, but when I allow myself to wander away from his love, his protection...well, that's a different story. I brought this on myself by being careless with my soul. I let down my guard and listened to the lies.

I'd like to think I've learned my lesson, and maybe I finally have. I'm sure I will continue to make mistakes but he who promised is faithful even when I am not, and he will finish what he started in me. That is the hope I am clinging to tonight as I rest in Him.

Some of my favorite Bible verses are found in the book of Isaiah. As I hid in my pain in recent weeks these words were my greatest comfort.

"Fear not for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze;
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
Isaiah 43:1b-3a NIV (bold mine)

I am His. There is nothing more to say.