“One story in particular that I’d like to share with you, that I will be speaking on at the MEET UP at the end of this month is one on mental illness, and how I overcame depression and PTSD. Actually, to be honest, how I believed that it had been overcome for me…”
***MEET WOMAN OF WONDER***
I could write you something surfacey, buttoned up and cool.
But, want to tell you my hearts story, and its been none of those things.
I was told as a little girl that I couldn’t be a leader. I was told as a young woman that I would amount to nothing because of the choices that I had made, that because I was no longer “pure” I wouldn’t be wanted by a nice Christian man. I was then told by a doctor that I may not be able to have children biologically, which I assumed was God’s punishment for my poor actions. I was told as an older woman that I could serve in the church in the nursery, or leading a women’s Bible Study, but the place for a woman was never to preach, or teach men in any capacity. I was told as an adult that I couldn’t adopt teenage boys. I was told AFTER I had adopted two teens, and given birth to our biological son, that I would probably always struggle with the depression that I was suffering from.
Women, do you ever get tired of hearing “you can’t?”
Here is the real story of my heart.
I believe that we can.
Not because of anything that we have done, but because of EVERYTHING that God has done for us, when he died to defeat death, and rose again to give us NEW LIFE.
The simple reality of the gospel is that Jesus Christ died and rose again from the grave. (1Cor. 15:1-5). He defeated Death, so that we could live.
OUT OF our Father’s great love for us, he sent his son to die on our behalf so that we no longer would be estranged from our Father in heaven, therefore no longer estranged from WHO WE ARE as children of God.
I love to share the different stories of my life.. Those narratives that I wrote up above. I love to share the victory that God has given me in every single one of those areas.
I now lead many, and some of them are men. I now recognize that I am able to preach wherever I am at, the gospel of grace whether I am with my kids at home, a stranger at the grocery store, leading one of our groups at The Nest, or preaching in front of a crowd. I now have birthed babies, finished raising teenagers, married an amazing Christian man, am pure white as the snow, and am set free completely from mental illness.
One story in particular, I’d like to share with you, as I will be speaking at the Meet up at the end of this month on mental illness, and its how I overcame depression and PTSD. Actually, to be honest, how I believed that it had been overcome for me.
It’s the key to freedom.
BELIEF in Jesus. Belief in the words he said. Belief in the words he’s speaking to you now. BELIEF that you are actually a Child of God.
You know this verse?
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
And this one?
“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)
So let’s talk for a hot second. If we are supposed to love the Lord our God with all our heart, but our heart is wicked… how do we do that?
You see that word “saved” up there? In the greek, that word is SOZO which also means HEALED, DELIVERED, SET FREE and WHOLE. This word is used so many times in the New Testament. Our western minds read it as “saved” meaning.. We were saved from hell when we die, and we will get to go to heaven. BUT JESUS’ word saved (sozo) means so much more in its fullness. It means whole, no longer split. It means delivered, from everything that is not of him. It means SET FREE from the things that are keeping us in bondage. It means SAVED COMPLETELY.
In other words another translation could read “because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, (you will be healed. You will be delivered. You will be set free. You will be whole.) You will be saved.”
Again, I’m one for honesty, so I am going to take a second to tell you that, most likely you don’t struggle to “confess with your mouth” that Jesus is Lord. Most likely, if you are like the rest of all of humanity EVER, you struggle to believe in your HEART that Jesus is Lord and believe the ramifications of what happened when Jesus rose from the dead.
Do you know what kept the Israelites from the promise land all of those years?
No friend, it was their Unbelief. (Heb 3:19)
Without going into a theological debate.. And getting trollers after me, I will just tell you my own personal story with how I came to BELIEVE God’s heart on mental illness.
About a year and a half ago one of our pastors taught on the story of Legion in the bible. You know the one who has multiple demons, and were cast out into the pigs that run off the side of the hill? Yeah, him. (see Mark 5:1-20)
Well anyways, he talked about how if Legion was here today, we probably wouldn’t even dare cast demons out of him because we would be talking about his mental illness, and giving him medication to calm him down. To this, of course, I was immediately offended because, HOW DARE YOU do you know what times we live in?, but also because I was a straight up spokesperson in Akron for mental illness and reducing the stigma specifically upon mothers, so this was highly offensive to ME.
However, I closed my mouth. I went home, and I asked God what was happening in me.
I knew in that very moment things were about to shift.
I asked God to help me believe what he ACTUALLY said about mental illness, and not just what I wanted to hear. And then I found verses like these that rocked me…
1 John 1:5 “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
1 Cor. 2:16b “But we have the mind of Christ.”
Rom 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind”
Gal 5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
1 Cor 4: 20 “For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power”
And literally pretty much everything else in the New Testament concerning The Kingdom of God, or anything about the freedom that we actually have in Christ.. And was confronted with lies that I had believed my whole life not just about mental illness, but about who I was as a child of God.
I believed deep down that mental illness was something that God had planned for me.
What I didn’t believe, however, was that I was a child of God.
Sure, I could have told you my whole life that I was a child of God. I had been in ministry for 7 years for goodness sake spreading the gospel of Jesus, and sharing the good news.
But why was I still struggling inside?
Why was I still depressed?
Did I really look like someone who was free?
In order for me to walk in healing, I had to come to Jesus with my “disease”. First, I had to believe that it was something that I WASN’T SUPPOSED TO HAVE, that it did not belong to me but that it was plans of the enemy against me as a child of God.
I also had to believe that his will was for me to be healed.
You know how in the word, every person that comes to Jesus, demon possessed, or that needs physical healing… they come to him knowing that he is able? They come to him knowing that they aren’t really supposed to be carrying that? They come to him in desperation?
Do you know what he does?
He heals them all.
Do you know where he struggled to heal & set people free?
In his hometown.
You know why?
Because of their unbelief.
“And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching.” Mark 6:5-6
Its funny because if you ask most Westerners why they don’t see miracles every day they will tell you it’s because we have all that we need in this country, and we have the Bible.
By the way, miracles happen EVERY DAY in AMERICA because of JESUS. HE IS WILLING! Because the exact same JESUS that walked the earth then, walks the earth NOW through YOU. Through the power of the resurrection and the HOLY SPIRIT that is within his believers. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Gal 2:20
Here is what I need to tell you.
I believe this is the story of our Father’s heart to his daughters in captivity of mental illness… reaching out in desperation to remind us of the power of the resurrection of his Son.
Here is the issue that I had to come to myself, and that I know will be the freedom bringer to those who are struggling.
I HAD TO BELIEVE
I HAD TO ASK JESUS TO HELP ME TO BELIEVE
First I had to believe that I had Something in me that DIDN’T BELONG to me because I AM called FREE and I AM A CHILD OF GOD.
Second I had to believe that JESUS IS WILLING. That he is willing when we have faith, when we come to him for healing.
So for me? This is what it looked like. For you, it may look different.
I was confronted. I REALLY didn’t like it. It meant confronting core lies that I believe about myself and truly that I believed about God and who he says that I am.
I didn’t like that much.
But I went in with him I felt him leading me to the dark places, and in those places, he would have me ask him questions about HIS thoughts on the matter, instead of mine.
And he spoke to me there.
When I felt depressed and hopeless, I would not run away by filling my time with meaningless things, cleaning, or even working out etc. I would go with him there and ask him what he thought about it.
He began to transform me by the renewing of my mind.
Christ’s mind knows his Father. He knows the will of God. He is reconciled to his Father. And HE IS FREE.
We must come to Jesus like little children. We must believe in OUR HEARTS, and be renewed in the transformation of our minds to think LIKE JESUS who knows the perfect will of the Father. We do not serve a lesser Jesus because we have the Bible now. We serve the exact same crazy radical LORD that we read in there healing people left and right.
We serve a Jesus who is willing, who is able, who is listening, who is ready to get messy and do the dirty work with you, who won’t STOP because his ministry is reconciliation to your Father, and he died to show you who you actually are as a child of God.
This radical man who was actually QUITE offensive, contrary to popular belief, was after the hearts of man. He fished for people, and you my friend, are not past the reach of his nets.
I say this often, but after Jesus had walked with his disciples for 3 years, they knew he died, and then saw him risen again… the Bible tells us that “some doubted”. If the ORIGINAL DISCIPLES of Christ doubted my friends, looking at Jesus’ resurrected body in the flesh, do not even for 2.5 seconds feel shame about your unbelief. You confess it, you ask for help with it, and you LET him do the transformative work in your heart.
You are a disciple.
You are a CHILD of GOD.
You are free.
You have been given the mind of Christ.
I can’t wait to share more with you and see healing in your own minds and lives take place!
***JENNA WILL BE THE FEATURED SPEAKER AT OUR 1ST MINUTES MATTER MEET UP! (say that 10x’s fast! 😉 ) IF YOU WANT TO BE ENCOURAGED LIKE CRAZY AND LEAVE DIFFERENT THEN YOU CAME, YOU HAVE TO BE THERE! Click the link for more info!***