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My Journey

My faith journey has taken some interesting and difficult turns in the last ten years.  My struggle with depression on and off during this time, contributed to a faith crisis and a period of deep soul-searching, questioning and rebuilding my faith. During a year of severe clinical depression my life and dreams fell apart around me and I couldn't find God among the pieces. My faith felt like it had shattered into irreparable shards. From my sinking pit of despair I cried out, ranted and raved, pleaded with a God who seemed non-existent. All my former experiences and understanding of God no longer helped.

Hardest of all was coming to terms with my preconceived ideas about how I, as a Christian, should handle this. Mental illness didn't fit anywhere in the picture. Spiritual warfare didn't relieve it, neither did claiming healing in faith. While I couldn't reason, pray or find any hope, I was fighting against accepting that I have an illness which may always be part of my life.

Many of my former doctrines no longer fitted my reality. I found reading about others' experiences with mental illness helpful and so began the painful process of accepting myself and my personality, instead of rejecting the person God has made me to be. This includes my tendency to depression; that it is part of who I am and that it is OK, despite all feelings which may tell me it is not! Accepting medication that helps was also part of the recovery.

I found myself being led to books and people who had stepped out of the “box” (or “off the ship into the sea” as some describe it) to explore new and more real ways of exploring and expressing their Christian faith and spirituality. I came across the theories of the stages of faith and began to understand that I was in transition between stages and that questions and reforming some of my beliefs is normal and healthy. I gradually began to see that God hadn't deserted me, but had allowed me to feel stripped of the identity I had built up in order to gain a better understanding of Him and myself. I realized that the broken pieces were being put back together in a new way, like a mosaic. This was exciting but also very scary as I knew I had to move forward into some unknown territory, leaving behind some of the old ones which were no longer as comfortable as they once were.

I now know and accept (even if grudgingly at times!) that I live with an illness that sometimes limits my life, but is also a positive part of my faith. I am now more accepting of myself and others, more compassionate, more gracious and more open to the doubts, the mystery and the less black and white areas of Christian faith. My own faith experience is more enriched, and I would encourage others that any perceived ‘limitations' can be celebrated and embraced into our faith and who we are, if we are open to working with and accepting our struggles.                                                                                                                                         



Val is married with two teenage children. The family have hosted international students and provided respite care for a number of children over the past eight years. Val is involved in community work and has worked with children, adults, and ESOL students in various capacities. Her passions include encouraging others to grow spiritually in creative ways and continuing exploration of her own journeying.

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