The sermon on Sunday was about Joseph; the one who was the son of Jacob. He goes through so many hardships in his life, but he still continues to trust God. He was sold into slavery by his own brothers; he is falsely accused of rape and put in prison, but he still continues growing closer to God. When he sees his brothers again he tells them “not to feel guilty” because God used what they meant for harm for good. Um, wow! That is some major forgiveness!
I have gone through struggles in my life, but none were as hard as Joseph’s. My brothers are pretty loving and I don’t think they ever thought about selling me into slavery. I have never been falsely accused of a crime and I have never been in prison. However; I can sometimes find it hard to trust God in my circumstances. It can be difficult when going through hard times to see how they can be used for good. After the fact, you can often see how your struggles helped build your character and made you into a better person. I’m not saying you should be “happy” when you are struggling; I think it is important to mourn and feel sadness. It is also important to express anger in a healthy way. I want to tell you, it can get better. It normally does get better. Don’t be afraid to talk about your struggles. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
When I wasn’t able to continue going to college in Texas, I was mad at God. I wondered why He would let me make such good friends and then make it so I couldn’t afford to stay in Texas. I was mad at God for a long time and I definitely slipped in my faith. Looking back now, I am glad for the time I had in Texas. I think it helped me become more independent in my walk with God. I’m thankful I came back to Michigan and eventually married Dan. I’m so thankful we have M.J. together. God knew what he was doing. He blessed me with a husband who is perfect for me. Dan is so loving and caring and doesn’t think I’m too crazy. God also blessed us with a wonderful son who we love so much.
When I was struggling very badly with OCD, I wasn’t mad at God, but I didn’t feel worthy of His love. I felt like a horrible person. I prayed for my disturbing thoughts to go away and I prayed for God to kill me naturally so I wouldn’t hurt anyone. I doubted my faith; I wondered am I a Christian if I have these thoughts? Why can’t I make them go away? It was extremely difficult. I was so confused. I didn’t want the horrible thoughts, but I couldn’t make them stop. I thought I must subconsciously want them; that was terrifying. I didn’t think I was worthy of God’s love. The thing is, none of us are worthy of God’s love on our own. That’s why Jesus had to die and rise again for our sins. Jesus makes us worthy of God’s love. Now that I am diagnosed with OCD, I understand my thoughts were intrusive. They do not say anything about me or my character. They say I have OCD. It has been easier to cope since I have been diagnosed, but there can still be hard days. However; I know I am worthy of God’s love. God loves me so much. He loves you so much, too. It doesn’t matter that I struggle with OCD or that I used to hate myself, God loves me no matter what.
I don’t like having OCD; I didn’t like being suicidal, but I can see how struggling through this has made me a better person. I have decided to write about my struggles to help other people who may be going through similar things. You are not alone. If you struggle with any mood disorder, don’t be afraid to get help. If you are suicidal, please get help. There are so many people who will miss you if you are gone. They would not be better off without you. I feel that coming so close to dying has helped me remember to find joy in the little things. 2020 has been a hard year for everyone, but for me it was so much better than last year. I am finally taking care of my mental health; I am remembering to practice self-care and I am also helping others as much as I can. I am not suicidal anymore which is a huge blessing. I’m so glad I’m here to continue to help others.
You may have gone through difficult times. You may still be going through difficult times. Maybe your life has been as bad as Joseph’s was. Maybe you have been abused, rejected, or falsely accused. Maybe people have made you feel worthless and unlovable. If your life has been like this I’m so sorry. God loves you no matter what people have done to you. God loves you no matter what you have done. No matter what you are struggling with, you can talk to God about it. If you’re angry about your struggles, tell Him. If you’re sad, tell Him. He is always willing to listen to you. It hurts Him to see us hurting. He loves us so much. Don’t forget how loved you are.
“But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.” Genesis 45:5 NLT