When People Ask How I Keep My Faith When Prayer Doesn't 'Heal' Me
Sundays are probably my favorite day of the week. I grew up in a Christian home so Sunday means church which as a kid meant I got donuts and a coloring page! Awesome, right?
Five years ago when I was diagnosed with gastroparesis there were a lot of unknowns arising around us. This happened shortly after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I hadn’t even had time to process that, but then I was told I was dying of malnutrition? I felt so alone and helpless. Let’s add “hopeless” to that while we’re at it. Nothing would ever be simple again, and I knew it. A lot of prayer and crying and begging for God to fix this and make it all go away has happened over the years. If I prayed enough he would heal me. He heals others. Right?
Fast forward to today. My other half and I have been looking for a new church to call home. So we tried a new church. This church we went to had a pastor who did a message on “Why are you so afraid?” He shared some scripture but mostly of this story of how all of the sudden his wife fell ill. They spent 10 days in the hospital and things were looking grave, but the church rallied together and prayed for them and the doctors and nurses could feel this energy coming from her hospital room and they knew something was different. I am sure I can spare you the rest. Most of us have heard these stories: fall deathly ill, the world prays about you and for you to heal, and bam! It’s a miracle! You’re going to live because you prayed just right and God has healed you! You did everything just right because the answer is always Jesus.
Now I am sitting in this chair (because churches rarely use pews anymore) and I am hearing this wonderful story. (I am happy she is doing better, by the way.) Here I sit, thinking, Where did I go wrong? I have asked that question so many times I have lost count. I have asked many more that make me spiral into this deep depression and self-loathing thing that I don’t think I can pull myself back from. You may ask me, “How can you have faith, Abbey? How can you still be a Christian when everything you hear is prayer heals and you’re still sick?” I have the answer for you, and it is not Jesus.
I need that faith. That faith is how I pull myself back from all the darkness and negativity from within myself. I choose to believe there is a God out there who loves me so deeply that He chooses to heal me in a way I have not understood until today. The way I think about my situation, my heart, my soul, and the way I see things are all examples of how He has healed me. Is it perfect? No. He is still working on me. Always will be. That’s not how I originally would have defined healing? Would you?
I still have gastroparesis. I still deal with bipolar disorder, anxiety, IBS, and whatever else my body decides to throw my way. I am always tired, and it’s a tired that is beyond what a quick stop to Starbucks can fix.
So none of this is well with my soul. My soul aches, and I am mad and frustrated and want so badly to find this bigger purpose for why I go through what I go through. What is in fact well with my soul is through church I met my person (if you have watched “Grey’s Anatomy” you get it), and my person has been amazing support, alongside my parents. So yeah, there are things I truly believe God has led me through to get to where I am. I will continue to try churches and have faith because at the end of the day that is everything to me.
It seems that all of my days feel like I can’t stop the endless fall like Alice in Wonderland. Except I don’t get to land anywhere. I am never quite sure what to do to pull myself out and up.
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