Encouraging, Living, Reaching


My Life Behind The Mask Part 2

My Life Behind The Mask Part 2
Mar 12 Tags: testimony | 4 Responses Print Save as PDF

Yesterday I shared a quick overview of my life leading up to what happened this year. Today I will share how the Lord has helped me in the recent months.

First, Eddy Plett was scheduled to speak for 2 consecutive Sundays at our Chapel, and that’s when I first heard of another brother in the Lord who suffers from anxiety. So after his second Sunday when he was gathering his things, I approached him and asked what he meant by his anxiety. He opened up and told me of his struggles and illness. He could see me welling up with tears, and it was obvious to him that I too suffered.

Maybe I am not alone!

He went on to tell me about a seminar by assemblyHUB coming up at Thorold South Gospel Chapel on “Mental Health and the Believer”. This was the first time in 2 years that I felt maybe I wasn’t alone. Several times I was about to fill in the online registration form to attend the seminar, only to be overcome with panic, thoughts of a room full of people I don’t know, and fear of confronting the fact that I do have an illness. I emailed Eddy and he was able to set my mind at ease, at least enough so that I registered.

As I sat at the seminar paralyzed with anxiety, the thing that stood out the most to me was that I AM NOT ALONE !

The help of a counselor

At the seminar it was suggested that we have one or two contacts that we can call in a time of need, to pray with and eho will just listen when we need to pour our heart out. We were also given a book by Dr. Grant Mullen – Emotionally Free, who I’ve emailed back and forth. I’ve also had a session with Dr. Mullen, who is a Christian counselor specializing in mood disorders.

During my session he asked where I lived, and after I told him he said that he just so happens to be speaking at a seminar in London the following Saturday.  Again, nothing by chance !   I grew up in an environment where you “suck it up”, “toughen up”, and don’t talk about such things. Just hold them in and in time they will go away. NOT TRUE !

Bridging the gap

There are many suffering quietly, and many wanting to reach out and help. I believe the Lord is putting a bridge between the two sides. I’m a witness to this first hand, and I’ve decided to take off my mask. When I first opened up about all this to one of my elders, he was taken back and had few words. Not because of a lack of compassion or that he didn’t want to hear this.

He felt my pain deeply as I explained what I was going through, how I was seeking help from a brother in another assembly, that I was seeking help on the physical side (medication) from my family doctor, and was talking to a professional Christian counselor. So the thoughts I had of my elder rejecting any of this was indeed opposite and he encouraged me to seek whatever help I felt I needed.

He too has taken it upon himself to learn more about mental health.   WHAT A GOD WE SERVE !

Learning to grow

As I’ve just begun the healing, I’m learning how to deal with the many areas of my illness that had me trapped. The baggage of emotional scars and deep pain that I lug behind me, weighing me down, has indeed begun to shrink, and I feel the load getting lighter. This is not a quick fix. I know that the road to recovery may have bumps.

Our heavenly Father wants us all well, so that we can serve Him more efficiently. At first I felt tremendous guilt when I thought about seeking help, feeling as though I wasn’t trusting in Him enough to get me through this. I now have a peace and feel my heavenly Father embracing me and wanting me well. That’s why He has surrounded me with so many helpful Christians, tools, and resources.

I’m thankful that He gave me the courage to take off my mask. I’ve heard it said that you put on glasses to see, hearing aids to hear, medication to treat organs such as the heart, liver, kidneys, stomach, pancreas, so why not the brain ?

Opening up

As I begin to recall these painful emotional scars, I’m also leaving them at the Cross. The body of Christ is vast, and we are to love one another, care for one another, weep with those who weep, be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love. I have many brothers and sisters in the Lord praying for my wellness.

In James 5:16 it reads, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” It is a tremendous privilege to come before our Father at any time and lift up our thanks and praise, cares and concerns….in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I pray that my story is an encouragement to those who still quietly suffer. It doesn’t need to be so, and I pray that you too, can come out from behind the mask and let the healing begin.  Philippians 4:13 tells me that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. With His strength we can break free and learn to grow in Him!

James Hamilton

James and May were received into fellowship in July 2013 at Tillsonburg Bible Chapel. Both serve in various ways within the assembly and have a hunger for learning His word.

4 Responses to My Life Behind The Mask Part 2

  1. Eddy Plett

    James,

    Just want to tell you again that your courage, determination and your love for the Lord are a real encouragement to me. Now that you have shared your journey openly many more can benefit from your experience! Will continue to pray for you that you will continue to heal and that you will be granted the desire of your heart to minister more freely to others.

  2. Susan

    Thank you so much for your openness! Some of us are very awkward at understanding mental health issues and this helps immensely!

  3. James, thank you for the courage to tell your story. Hopefully, others will follow your example rather than “going it alone.” Our God is an amazing God, as your story testifies.

    • James Hamilton

      Thank you for your words of encouragement. When my fellowship with the Lord was restored in Dec/2012, I asked for forgiveness for not raising my boys in the ways of the Lord. I was indeed forgiven, but a tremendous weight(guilt) was still there. A brother recently spoke of the “guilt complex” robbing some believer’s of their joy, that spoke volumes to me. Asking forgiveness for this was right for me to do. But not being able to accept His forgiveness, that was wrong. That opens the gateway to guilt. Leaving that at the cross and moving forward for the Lord lifted that tremendous weight. In 1 Peter 5:7 it reads, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. What a God we serve!

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