God Made It Easy

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." (1 Peter 3:15a). Can I tell you a secret? Itís not easy being me. Sometimes I tell God that I am too tired to show hope in the face of adversity, although I will at least try not to complain too much. I want to smile to show my hope, my joy, but at times that seems too difficult, too much to ask. I want to testify about Him. So I ask Him to provide ways to use a situation to His glory, to be a witness. Of course He provides. He always does.

I suffered from depression for many years. And there was social/general anxiety, OCD, and PTS. Now add Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depressive Disorder) to the list. But it went undiagnosed for nine years. The doctors completely overlooked (or ignored?) the bipolarism. So the medications they gave me just fueled the extremes. I had doctors from excellent practices. But none of them would/could identify the condition.

I can get up in the morning wondering how I made it through the night. Then in the afternoon of the same day I could think of an idea that will earn me a Nobel Peace Prize. And then I start working on this idea, as though I will actually complete the project. Then in the evening of the same day I could be plotting my suicide. I am so versatile! Most days arenít like this. (Some days are worse.) But the cycles are usually spread out more than this.

I wasnít working, had no income, and my insurance had expired. (This is where Southeast, Inc. enters the picture.) So I went to a free (for me) community services organization. I sat in the lobby with homeless people. As with any place, there is some good. And some not-so-good. But God was watching over me. I was assigned their best health care professionals. They immediately knew I was bipolar and began drug therapy with the correct medications for this condition, as well as talk therapy. That was a year and a half ago. Results are not immediate or foolproof. It is difficult to find the right combinations of treatments. I am not where I would like to be. But I am SO much better than I was before they started treatment.

I thought it was a disaster that I lost my insurance. However, the free clinic gave me what the expensive mainstream doctors could/would not -- much improved mental health. I have a reason to testify about God. He made it easy for me to prove to others that hope exists.

That was mental. Letís do physical next. I am 46 now, and seem to collect things ahead of time. I was diagnosed with glaucoma when in my early 30ís. I have had four surgeries on my eyes for glaucoma, two on each. I need surgery again for glaucoma, and cataracts have been found. So each eye will have its own separate surgery date on which a drainage tube will be placed behind the iris, while the lens is being replaced. (I have to see the cataract specialist before the glaucoma specialist can plan the surgeries. So I will have two surgeons performing the procedures.) Additionally, I have osteoporosis and I am two inches shorter than I used to be.

I said I thought it was a disaster that I lost my insurance and lost my mental health care. But God provided. The same is true for my upcoming eye surgeries. I thought it was a disaster. But this gave God another opportunity to show how He provides. I went on Social Security Disability last year. So I started receiving some income, but still had no insurance for medical coverage or hospitalization. How is God providing for the eye surgeries? A Medicare card came in the mail.

It is now March, 2005. I will soon have some medical and hospitalization coverage through Medicare. This coverage becomes effective on the same day I have my next appointment with my eye surgeon Ė April 1. That means this coverage begins on the exact day that I need it Ė the day my eye surgeon will announce he is ready to proceed with the surgeries. I donít have to postpone the surgeries hoping that someday I might have insurance. God is providing that coverage now. God is covering me now. I did not plan the timing for any of this. I did not apply for Medicare. It just ďhappensĒ two years after SSD begins. (I was afraid to go to the free clinic. But it is responsible for me receiving the SSD benefits and therefore the Medicare benefits.)

I have reason to testify about the reality of God, and witness about God, even when I donít feel like smiling through it. God made it easy for me to prove to others that hope exists through Him -- even when I canít prove that hope exists within me. I believe they call that faith.

Surgeries, divorce, bankruptcy, unemployment, giving up my house and pets. This was recently said of me. ďIt is not the height of great successes that mark your victory, it is the fact that you get back up each time.Ē Itís true what he said about victory found in not giving up. But I am still claiming a few more successes. I believe God still has a few more mountain tops in store for me -- for me to raise others up to.

When I could not smile, my joy still showed. Hope through God was still evident. I showed everyone I had a reason to get back up. A reason to live. Not always for myself. But always for Christ Jesus!
Read related articles at Bipolar & Mental Health Support.

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