How is sharing Christ through mental illness possible?
Five years ago, on a snowy December night, our wedding guests arrived at a small, country church located outside Indianapolis, Indiana. The church was dimly lit with strands of white Christmas lights and candles. I could sense the anticipation from our guests as our wedding ceremony was about to begin, but before anyone walked down the aisle John and I had something important that we wanted to share with our guests.
From the speakers, our guests heard the story of how God put us together. Sharing Christ through mental illness was the story I was pumping through the speakers. I had been formerly diagnosed with 3 mental illnesses. My life was run down and hopeless. It was quickly coming to a premature end. That is . . . until I met Jesus. Christ had other plans and the story of my life quickly changed.
That snowy night everyone sat anticipation and listened to my story. It was a story where I was unashamed of my former mental illness as I shared Christ with the audience. We were both unhesitant to share anything if it brought glory and praise to Jesus’ name.
As the story began, I watched through the windows from outside the church. The story goes like this . . .
John began, “Almost two years ago, I was reclining on my back porch next to a fire, looking at the stars, thankful and content.”
Then I said, “But on the same night, things were not going well for me and I really needed someone to talk to.”
John continued, “The call came, and my friend said that I have a friend that is having a hard time and we should really pick her up. So, we went and picked up Natalie and encouraged her. We found out that she needed a job. I told her that our office was hiring and she turned out to be the best candidate.
I said, “When I started working there my life was in rough shape, but John and his friends encouraged me and shared Jesus with me. John and I were not romantically interested in each other, but John never failed to kindness and encouragement.”
“God was also working on me. The Lord was changing me and teaching me through new people and circumstances and then Natalie decided to resign her position at the office and start a new life in Kentucky….but God had other plans,” John explained.
“We went to dinner after I had resigned my position. The Lord used John to share with me the Gospel and I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I had grown up in church but never really understood it before. My entire life quickly changed.”
John said, “Natalie and I began to spend a lot of time together as we taught her about God. The Lord used this time to heal Natalie and to restore her from her rough past.”
I continued, “For years I had dealt with bad parts of my life with prescription depression medicines. The Lord told me to stop taking all eight of them at the same time.* The Lord completely healed me instantly with no side effects. The Lord also restored my family and started to use me powerfully for his purposes.”
“Natalie and I learned a lot about the Lord together over the next year. We drew closer and closer. Now tonight, we are to be married. What the Lord has put together, let no man put asunder,” John stated.
I continued, “Tonight, we are honored that you have come to share this special time with us. We believe that the Lord may also have something else to share with you. He wants you to have a relationship with him.”
John continued, “We invite you tonight to let God into your life. Through his son, Jesus, he has an amazing new life for you to share.”
I said, “Lights now surround us in this room. So many people were a light in my life through my difficult times, many of you are sitting in this room, here, now. May the light of the Gospel shine into each of your lives and bring new and abundant life both here and for eternity to come.”
You can listen to the Bymaster Wedding Testimony here.
That night John and I shared not only how God put us together, but also how God had restored my life from a former diagnosis of “mental illness.”