I am a woman of faith. Most people know this although I do not profess to be pious or saintly in any way. The God I choose to believe in is not necessarily the same as yours, but I would never make you uncomfortable about your beliefs, or reject you for your difference. I understand about other faiths, spiritual practices and philosophies, and embrace their similarities. I will pray for you even if you do not have belief. If we disagree, I'll still give you a cuddle.
Having faith has been a bedrock of strength throughout my recovery journey. I know the old adage of "Opium for the people", having a crutch, believing in the invisible because you can't deal with reality of the world. But actually what I have found is the opposite. My faith has actually enabled me to have honesty about myself and my limitations, it's taught me about compassion and forgiveness, it's taught me the importance of fellowship and trusting in others when you feel you cannot trust yourself. It has furnished me with the skills to live life on life's terms in all of it's hideous realness, with integrity and courage.
You know, the bible is an extraordinary book. Whether or not you believe in God and the fabulous J.C, it's wisdom is without question. Parables, proverbs, family murders, alcoholism, vastly inappropriate relationships and nude bathing on the roof tops... you name it, it's in there. There is also incredibly scary spiritual warfare stuff, that although people like to dismiss as silliness, sometimes come across by accident, and get a shock. It's actually got advice about that too thank goodness. But importantly for me, it shows me that for thousands of years, the struggle for peace, peace of mind, of country, of family, for belonging and wholeness has been rolling on for a really long time. I am not alone in my struggle and I was never the only one having a difficult time. Not that I really believe that truth, but that these people overcame, they succeeded in times of despair and they continued on for generations, with hope and perseverance. This is something I strive for. I am connected to this thread of survival in all of it's glory.
And I know other faiths or groups or ways of living, have a similar vision. I am glad of this, and hope that you will find yours as I have found mine.
What I know, for me, is that in the darkest moments, the ones where I am literally on my knees, crying out in despair, contemplating whether or not to give in to the desire to end it all, I surrender and open myself up to a love that is vast and unending. A power so great that my soul is soothed, my mind calmed and my compulsions relieved. The reality of my faith is that I truly experience the wonderful revelation of the creation within me, ministering to my inner most fears with unabashed love and compassion. Awesome doesn't even cover it.
Those of you that know me in my spiritual gifting, will probably recognise that I experience a connection to the God of my understanding. I feel privileged that for some unknown reason, I am privy to a world that some people cannot see or experience. I am humbled by this fact, and it feels like a precious stone that I have been given to carry around and protect.
Being mentally ill is incredibly difficult, but with God, all things are possible. I pray it will be for you also.