Ephesians 2:8-9 For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing. (VOICE)
How many gifts have you received over the years? No one really counts them, but chances are you received more when you were a child than you have as an adult. When I was a child, it was truly quantity over quality. It didn’t matter if it was a small thing that probably didn’t cost much because it was another notch in my gift belt.
Now don’t get all annoyed with me. We all have a materialistic streak in us when we’re too young to appreciate the significance of gift-giving. Even as an adult, I enjoy receiving a gift if it’s one that reflects the heart of the giver.
The greatest gift of all, salvation, truly reflects the heart of God. There is absolutely nothing I could ever have done to deserve that gift. If I could have, it wouldn’t be “pure,” would it?
Another gift I have received from God’s hand is that of living with a stepson who is bipolar.
Let me say that again in case you missed it the first time – living with a person with a mental illness is a gift.
“How so?” you ask.
One of the greatest sources of spiritual growth in my life has been the necessity of learning how to navigate the mine-field of mental illness. My faith has been tested, my heart has been broken, my wisdom has been inadequate. And yet it is those very things that have stretched me and refined me and forced me to run to God because my own resources are so paltry.
If my spiritual life had not been challenged, who knows what kind of wimpy Christian I would have become.
So in your struggles with someone who is mentally ill, cling to God and see His grace in what you are going through. There’s nothing God loves more than having His children snuggle in His arms in complete abandon, learning to trust Him more and more as we travel toward becoming Christlike.