Friday, December 7, 2007

Wonderfully and perfectly made

It has been said that mental illness is from Satan. That schizophrenics are possessed by demons. There are books out there that profess to this theory, but, that is it, it is a theory. And it is a bad, misled, uneducated, lie from hell.

When I first became a Christian, I had been working with the severely and presciently mentally ill. I worked out patient at a local hospital. I took on a case load that consisted, at one time of 16 clients. These clients ranged from borderline personality disorder to paranoid schizophrenia.

At my church, I started a Christian support group, for the mentally ill. It was an incredible experience. The first day, that the group met, I had 20 people show. Their biggest concern, the thing that bothered them the most in their Christian walk, was that they were not acccepted. There were stories of being asked to leave churches, of people flat out telling them that they were possessed and even stories of people who tried to do exorcisms on them.

This group grew quit large and they began to come to my church. Where ever my husband and I sat, there would be a group of mentally ill sitting all around us. I began to call myself the Pied Piper of the mentally ill.

There was Angie in this group. Angie had tactile hallucinations. She believed, at times, that her skins was on fire. So real to her, were these hallucinations, that she would scream and try to run from herself. In the group she shared that she could calm down when she looked at a small picture of Jesus that she carried with her everywhere. The whole group got a picture of Jesus and carried it with them.

There was Janice. Janice heard voices. The voices would tell her things to do. Sometime they told her to hurt herself. The way Janice came to manage the voices was to ask "what would Jesus do"? The group began to ask the same.

Then there was Barbara. Barbara suffers with paranoid schizophrenia. When I first met her she was in a full blown episode. Her husband, who had mental illness, was withholding her medicine and she was a mess. I hospitalized her that day, but, within two weeks she was ready to face the world.

Barbara functions well, but, when you meet her, you know that she is ill. Barbara, however, is one of the most Spirit filled woman I have ever met. She hungers for Him and seeks Him always. She is a blessing to all that meet her. And if you come within her proximity, you will meet her. She always has a song in her heart. Sometimes she will sing a song to you that is praising God. These are usually songs that you hear in church. But, mostly, she sings songs to you that God has put on her heart. These songs are prophetic. Directed right to you. A message from God that will tear at your very being.

Barbara always wants me to pray healing over her. I feel her desire and longing for healing. But, God has told me that she is "wonderfully and perfectly made." She is exactly the way she is suppose to be. She would not be a blessing if she were any other way. So, I can't pray healing over her. I tell her what God says to me and she always repeats it back to me. "I am wonderfully and perfectly made." She is a faithful servant of our Lord.

Over the years, I have come to recognize that the mentally ill are vulnerable to oppression from Satan. Many are naive to the suggestions of Satan and fall into his traps, but, so do the rest of us. When they do become used by Satan, their lack of restraint makes them more noticeable to the public. I don't believe that they are any more possessed than a criminal. Just more noticeable.

As people of faith, we are more accepting of criminals than the mentally ill. Somehow we understand the behaviors of the criminal more than the mentally ill. Our fears stem from a past generation of superstition and lack of education. Personally, I have been blessed over and over again by the mentally ill but, rarely blessed by the criminal elements in our world.

Don't get me wrong. The mentally ill can be irritating, manipulative, controlling, out of control and abusive just like to rest of us but, do you believe that when they are like this they are different from they rest of us. Are they possessed? NO!!! They are children of the Living God. Vulnerable to Satan's plans, but, strong in faith.