This weekend is a time of great significance. The Church celebrates the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday (“Rejoice” Sunday), but it is personally significant for me because 13 years ago I spent the weekend in a hospital after being diagnosed with the chronic disease, Type 1 diabetes. Receiving the diagnosis of a chronic condition can truly cripple a person’s approach to life. It is not a death sentence, but one suddenly has to come to terms with the reality of living with a disease for the rest of one’s life. At the time, I did not feel anger or frustration, and I certainly did not blame God. There were many reasons to thank God for giving me this “condition” (I was told not to refer to Type 1 diabetes as a “disease” or “illness”). I was headed down the wrong path and in desperate need of direction. The Lord needed to take drastic measures to deliver me back to my home where I could rebuild myself and return to Him.
As time went on and I began to grasp what living with diabetes actually looked like, I developed depression. Diabetes is controllable, but the side effects that a chronic condition brings can be uncontrollable, especially when the voice of God is lost and the voice of Satan and the enemy become overwhelming. Depression took over my life, and though I believed I was still loyal to God, I had fallen victim to Satan’s power. Depression morphed my vision of reality; I became self-consumed and selfish. I had no self worth because I had no idea who I was; I had lost sight of my Creator and His plan for me. Once I spoke the words, “I am worthless,” I relinquished my authority to the enemy. Satan took those words and altered my world into one filled with despair. Every time I messed up, I saw one more mark against me. My life was defined by my failures, and I failed quite a bit.
Throughout this fall from grace, I had one stable voice to rely on which was my mother’s. In several respects, her voice was the voice of God for me because she could hear Him when I could not. The abuse I put her through was truly brutal because she absorbed the verbal abuse I intended for God. I was angry at Him when He did not do what I wanted. Why would He make such a worthless person and leave me to a life with no promise of hope? Why did He not let me die from diabetes? I did not understand Him then, and the enemy was such a loud voice within me, I was unable to break free of it though I wanted to. So I resorted to expressing my frustration to my mother and screamed at her to fix it. She could hear God; she could go to Him and get Him to fix it. It was an unfair and cruel expectation I placed on my mother.
Now, 13 years later, I have been freed from the lies of the enemy and reunited with my Savior. I have taken back authority over my life and have been able to hand it over to Jesus instead of the evil one. It is at this moment the Lord once more chooses to reveal to me the true power of His plan. He has placed another individual in my life who is battling with the same demons I dealt with during my depression. I hear him say the same words I would say, and he abuses me the same way I abused my mother. It is a cycle–he erupts with anger, then comes back with sincere apologies. “I am so sorry for being a piece of trash.” In many ways, I am powerless. I can affirm his worth till I am blue in the face, but he will never believe me till he hears this from Jesus Christ first. I will continue to try to support him because when I affirm him and his worth, I do it with the authority of the Holy Spirit. I express the love the Lord has for him when he cannot feel it from the Lord directly. It is a battle; I never know what side of this person I will face and his mood can dictate the mood I will have for the rest of the day. I remember my mom saying much the same about me. Her day was better when I was better, and vice versa.
This revelation has been humbling but also reassuring. When I hurt my mother during my depression, I could not understand how she could continue to love me. How could someone love you after you did such terrible things to him or her? Being on the other side now, I know how. It is because God loves first–I can continue to care for this person because God loved him before I met him, and God also loved me first before I “met” my mother. I can endure this abuse because I have the arms of Jesus to fall back on. He gives me strength because this is His battle, not mine. I also have the hope Jesus will persevere in this man’s life because He persevered with me.
With the Lord, nothing is impossible. He delivers miracles every day; we just have to acknowledge them. I am not the person I was 13 years ago, but I am grateful for that person because if it were not for those struggles and tribulations I experienced, I would not be the person I am today. As this new creation built by God’s design, I must put forth the sincerest of apologies to my mother, humbly asking for forgiveness because I did not know what I was doing