I grew up in a warm and gentle Christian home that I did not deserve, where my mama and daddy loved me, and my siblings were kind and loyal. I met my True Love in college…we were 18 yrs old, young and in love. He was amazing – confident, creative, witty, focused, godly, all wrapped up in one package! I admired the way he memorized whole chapters of Scripture, and spoke with boldness and courage publicly. He kept us pure, led in prayer, planned the most creative dates…then I had to transfer schools. I was shocked a year later when he suddenly broke off our relationship. I thought he was The One.
Neither of us understood he was starting his first cycles of mania and depression. Because we were states apart, I did not witness his struggle over the next years. I was surprised again in my mid-20’s when he resumed our long distance courtship! But because I had my own emotional issues by that time, I chose to cling to who he had been instead of learning who he had become.
On our honeymoon I could no longer deny something was different. Something Big. Something Bad. He was too intense (not just focused), dominating (not just confident), manipulative (not just creative), and insecure (a new trait). Before our second anniversary I found myself visiting him in our local mental hospital…between the feeding times of our newborn. In despair I just wanted my life to be over, because all I could think was, “if this is my present, I don’t want to see my future..” But…God had a future and a hope for us. (Jer. 29:11)
That was 25 years ago. If you can name it, and it’s a part of the bipolar experience, we’ve probably lived it, and will tell you, “God was with us.” I am beyond grateful my man does what he can – takes his meds, goes to work, and strengthens his faith through our church. We are still married – an act of God, right up there with parting the Red Sea. It’s also a miracle we have three wonderful young adult children, each with an active faith in Jesus formed through the fires of a daddy whose moods made their lives painful and unpredictable, and a mama who struggled with her own depression and fears. Yes, our souls need regular mending. That verse “running with endurance the race marked out for me” (Heb 12:1) says it all. With the daily blurriness of not knowing where choice ends and illness begins, God has proven to me: “He [God] will be the stability of your times. A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge.” Isaiah 33:6 And, believe me, I need all the salvation, wisdom and knowledge I can get .