[Guest post by Linda Svoboda: Thank you, Linda, for bravely sharing your story on mental illness! It’s challenging to accept mental illness in your life at all, let alone call it a gift from God!]
I am so thankful for all the gifts that God has given me, but I am especially grateful for one that He has blessed me with.
Many people would not see it as a gift, but rather a difficult challenge. Most people have a hard time talking about my gift and don’t understand what it truly is. However, a few really get it. They understand that my gift is indeed a truly unique treasure and that I need to share with people what it is all about.
Being bi-polar is my gift.
You may wonder why I see being diagnosed with a mental illness as a blessing from God. It is, and I would like to tell you why.
Before I was diagnosed at age 16, I knew that God loved me, and that His son Jesus died for me, but I yearned for a deeper walk with Him. I didn’t know how to talk to Him. After I was diagnosed, I started spending time with Him. One of my favorite places to be with Him was a lake a few blocks away from my house. I would go there after school and just talk to Him while I walked with Him.
I found myself just pouring out my heart to God, and I knew He was listening to me.
It was so peaceful being by the water and hearing the birds sing as they flew above me. I loved the crystal clear lake and I enjoyed feeling the sunshine on my face. I did this nearly every day, and I just treasured the time with Him.
I remember asking God, “Why? Why am I bi-polar? What’s going to happen to me? What about my future? I’d love to be a wife and a mother someday, but is there anyone that would want to marry me?”
I just felt God saying to my heart, “Trust me. I have a plan.”
So I trusted and waited. And God did some amazing things. I graduated with honors from both high school and college. I taught pre-school for a few years, as I love to be around kids. I loved being involved at church, and I enjoyed hanging around some wonderful friends. I learned how important it is to stay on my medicine, and how valuable Christian counseling is. I experienced how awesome exercise is to relieve stress, and understood that I really needed to take care of myself. Proper nutrition really helped me tremendously!
However, there was a longing in my heart to be a wife and a mother. My Mom and Dad prayed with me that God would bring a wonderful godly man into my life, and He did! Kevin and I married in 1998, and he truly is a blessing from God. He has been there for me when I was sick, and we’ve had many awesome years when I was well. I am so thankful for him. We began praying for a child when we were dating, and God has answered that prayer twice. We are so thankful for our 2 precious beautiful children.
I want to tell everyone that God does hear our prayers, and that our God is the God of miracles!
He has taken a very difficult diagnosis at an early age, and turned it around for His glory. I have friends that have struggled with mental illness and I’ve been able to share with them what’s helped me. The greatest gift that He gave me was not only to have a mental illness, but also to have the chance to fellowship with Him in my sufferings. Being able to have a deep relationship with Him and loving Him and knowing that He cares for me and my family is indeed a huge gift.
I have realized that knowing Jesus is the greatest gift of all.
Even though it came through a difficult situation, I now realize that He indeed had a perfect plan. That perfect plan was for me to know Him and that is by far the greatest gift He could have ever given me.
Linda Svoboda is so thankful to have an awesome husband and two beautiful children. She is a children’s book author, and loves to read Christian historical fiction. She loves going on long walks, and enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She feels blessed to be able to share her story with you.
This guest post is part of the first-ever Devotional Diva Christmas guest post series entitled, “The Gifts God Has Given You.” Look for more posts with this theme now until December 23rd!