“When I relied on medicine or therapy to save my life, it failed me every time. But when I trusted the Lord and surrounded myself with people reminding me of truth, my medication and support became a blessing and provision instead of an insufficient savior.
“I came to accept Jesus as my Savior at a very young age and grew up knowing all the Sunday school answers as a first-born kid of a pastor. Looking at me from the outside, I had it made. I had a loving family, good grades, lots of friends, a nice house, and I was trusted as a responsible, good girl. But inside, I was stuffing pain and shame from traumatic early childhood experiences.
“At nineteen, I hit an all-time low. I arrived home after my freshman year as a depressed college dropout. After an instance of self-harm that summer, my parents sought help for me, and I was diagnosed with severe chronic depression and put on medicine. But I had not admitted the trauma I had experienced in my childhood and the resulting doubts inside me about God’s goodness. I doubted my worth and carried around shame, all while also living in the pride that prevented me from admitting my hurts. So, I continued for the following years in a cycle of trying new medicines and then switching to a new medicine when they no longer worked.
“After my boyfriend Scott and I got married and relocated to Dallas, I hit rock bottom again. Alone in a new city, away from family and friends, and my husband working long nursing shifts, I wanted to give up on life. I ended up at an outpatient program at a local psychiatric hospital while my family babysat me during off hours.
“In that time, I learned how much God loved, pursued, and protected me by His provisions in my life. Those provisions looked like family, friends, doctors, nurses, and even medicine. I was diagnosed this time with bipolar disorder and put on different medication. Soon after that experience, I found further healing after we joined Watermark. We joined a community group and soon learned to be fully known and loved by our church family.
“Over the past 13 years, in the community of Watermark, I have been challenged every year with my mental health. I eventually admitted my trauma one night at re:generation, Watermark’s biblical recovery ministry. That began a long process of finding freedom and healing from the sexual abuse I experienced from a former family acquaintance. My diagnosis evolved to include PTSD, based on the realities of my abuse that I was finally sharing.
“Once my memories were affirmed as abuse and I learned that it was not my fault, I could release my doubts to God. In those years, I also learned that my medicine and counseling are a provision from God, not a substitute for God.
“Left to myself, even with a ‘perfect’ setup in life, I was hopeless. I walked through the first three decades of my life in shame from my abuse and my mental health. But as Psalm 56:3 shares, ‘When I am afraid I put my trust in you.’
“I am constantly reminded that God is trustworthy. He pursues me and protects me from myself. The sins of control, distrust, and pride no longer define me. I am free from those burdens because I have accepted Jesus’s payment for those sins. Now, I am free to bring God glory through my story.
“I have a choice to listen to truth or lies. I have a choice to trust God or trust myself. I have a choice to bring God glory or steal the success and glory for myself.
“Every day, when I take my medicine, I stop and remember that I need Jesus. I need my Savior. I need to remember how desperate for Him I must remain. Without my PTSD and bipolar diagnosis, I could trick myself into thinking I don’t need God.
“Scott is a faithful, caring husband, and we have three joyful children. We have an amazing community and friends, and our families are my biggest support system. I am truly blessed. When I dwell on this, it leads me to be grateful for my disorder. I need Jesus, and I’m grateful that my disorder reminds me of that truth. I thank God for protecting me from ending my life. Instead, I found new life in Him.
“This is my testimony to share of God’s goodness and faithfulness. It is not a burden to keep me in shame. Now I can shout Philippians 4:11-13 from the rooftops, full of hope, ‘Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.’”