I think I first asked “Why me?” when I felt stuck in an abusive home environment. I truly felt that my only options out were to either continue to endure the violence or to die. If I did ever grow old enough to get out of it, I was too damaged to possibly ever be truly loved or known. Who would want someone with that much baggage?
Then it was was when I finally started to unravel the identity that had been left with me. I endured years of therapy to overcome bulimia, OCD, PTSD, anxiety, depersonalization disorder, ADHD, PMDD, self-harm, and more.
Then it was when I miscarried, twice, and in my disillusionment, I wondered if it was meant to be because since I came from a broken home I would have innately been a terrible mother. It was the legacy I had been left with.
I think so often we forget that as painful as mental health issues can be for our close relationships, it is infinitely more painful for those of us enduring it.
There was no part of me that felt like I could possibly ever be pleasing to God.
Who could want someone who was bulimic? Who had scars on her body from self-inflicted pain? Who has seen the depths of depression and been tempted by the darkness to just do it? Who has written her goodbyes? Who has experienced psychosis and has seen people who aren’t there? Who’s mind has been plagued with movies of sorts of me dying in countless ways? Every part of my life said, “You don’t belong here.”
No one in the church ever talked about mental illness, and the silence confirmed that I wasn’t the good Christian I needed to be to be loved by God.
For the longest time, it was as if the more I learned about the holiness of God and these giants of the Christian faith that I looked up to, the more I recognized how damaged I was, and I didn’t trust God to do what only he could do and transform this mess into something that would glorify him. It was too much and beyond repair.
So I tried to fix it. I wanted the ache gone.
And that just hurt me more. I don’t have the power to mend up spiritual wounds. Only God can do that.
I was praying one day when I started to realize, I could be different even if no one else in my life was. This generational pain could end with me. Maybe there was a better way.
I prayed for years that God would help me. I didn’t even know what that looked like. I was desperate.
But it’s been more wonderful than I could have possibly imagined. He sent me to a church that set my heart on fire for Him, has given me friends that love me, and has transformed my heart to want more of Him and filled it with compassion for His people.
2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”
I think we all ask God why terrible things happen to us. It’s normal. Our hearts ache, and it’s too much for us (not God) to bear. There are many reasons we face trials in life, but with God, nothing changes. He always wants us as we are. He knew us before we took our first breath and loved us even then. He knew the trials I would face, and He walked me through them and drew me near to Him. I’m so thankful.
Instead of asking “Why me, God?” I’ve been working on asking, “How can I see God at work in this?” and writing that down instead. Being intentional about practicing gratitude positions my heart to hear from God.
I expected to need to clean myself up to know God and to form relationships with people who loved me. I didn’t expect that I could be loved as I was before I started the long road to healing.
I may never know why I have a recurrent struggle with mental illness, but I do know I’ll never walk through that dark valley without my savior who went to the cross for me, and these momentary afflictions will ultimately point to the glory of God.
I am not a doctor or mental health professional. This site and all of the content on it is not a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition.