Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Curing and Healing

As I continue to consider the issues connected with Psychology and the Church, I came upon a compassionate website that I think deserves a look.  The goal of these four family members is to "change the world one mind at a time."
One Mind Mental Illness Ministry

OUR STORY is about one family’s personal experience with mental illness. Over ten years ago our lives were turned upside down as we watched Janet (our beloved wife, daughter, sister, and aunt) be gripped by the pain, frustration, isolation, fear, loneliness, and earth-shattering diagnosis of a mental illness. And yet—in that place of brokenness and fear—God entered and began His work of healing.
Click here to get a pdf of the following. Give it a look and let me know what you think.
Curing and Healing

When our daughter was first diagnosed with a mental illness, we prayed and prayed that God would take this terrible disease from her. We wanted it to be gone. She wanted it to be gone. No one should be suffering so. Other people were cured of their diseases. They took special medications or had surgery. They listened to everything the doctors told them and they prayed for their disease to be gone….and for many of them it was. There was a cure. Couldn’t there be a cure from our daughter’s mental illness too? God surely was listening to all our prayers and to those of so many others who love her. Why was she still suffering? She was taking her medications, listening to the doctors, going to her appointments…she was doing what she was supposed to do…but she was still suffering from mental illness.

Five years into her illness, our daughter attended a healing service and met Pastor Bill Vaswig*, a man who for over 35 years has been involved in a Prayer and Healing ministry. He understood the pain of mental illness….his son had been diagnosed many years before with schizophrenia. Pastor Bill spent 30 minutes in prayer with our daughter. A month later, our daughter visited with Pastor Vaswig in Washington for three days. They prayed together and he counseled her. Something we had known all along was being confirmed for us. Our daughter was not being cured, she was being healed.

HEALING comes in the acceptance of the illness… whether it be mental or physical.
HEALING comes in not trying to run from the illness but to face it fully and embrace it head on.
HEALING comes in knowing you are not alone.
HEALING comes from seeking help.
HEALING comes in recognizing that there will be difficult days, but that God is present even in them.
HEALING comes in realizing that just like life…healing is a journey.

Our daughter lives "un-cured" from her mental illness, but not "un-healed." 
She continues to struggle with bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, but she has embraced what she knows is her life now a life with mental illness. She has learned much about her illness and herself. She takes her medications and sees her doctor. She is learning and practicing coping mechanisms and has many good days. But some days it is very difficult for her to continue to embrace it….and there are moments of deep sadness and sorrow, but she knows that God has been there all along and that He is present with her each day as she continues her journey of healing.
That testimony is from the website maintained by Janet, Doug, Bonnie and Bill.  It can be found at onemindmentalillnessministry.com

*Pastor Bill Vaswig, who passed away last month, was a Lutheran pastor and prayer ministry leader for many years. His obituary can be found here.  An excellent 2006 interview with Pastor Vaswig and James Bryan Smith can be found on the Renovare website: http://www.renovare.us/ViewNewsLetter/tabid/2404/Default.aspx?ID=132.  Just scroll down -- you'll find it as about the third article in that newsletter.

Sometimes God chooses to heal and "cure."  And we pray for that!  It's good to know, however, that God's blessings can be found in the meantime, as we wait for all things to be made new.


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