I am a woman who reached out to touch the robe of Jesus, but in the surge of the crowd, was swept back, and my fingertips fell short. (Luke 8:44-48)
Perhaps that’s why I so easily recognize shame, am so sensitive to grace, am so willing to offer compassion. Because I am left with a thorn – the cycling between depression and hypomania of bipolar disorder.
I wonder if that’s why Jesus was given a crown of thorns to wear; for those of us who were swept back by the surge of crowds, unable to reach Him, to touch His robe, to be instantaneously healed. Conceivably, this was another declaration of His compassion toward those of us who are chosen to live by grace alone.
He said to me, “My grace is enough to cover and sustain you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” So ask me about my thorn, inquire about my weaknesses, and I will gladly go on and on—I would rather stake my claim in these and have the power of Christ at home within me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
“The power of Christ at home within me” provides me strength and peace in times of uncertainty, anxiety or doubt. God’s Spirit within me enfolds me in comfort when I am smothered in the fog of depression. His radical grace pulls me in when I experience the disheartening and out of control return of hypomania.
Most times, I manage the bipolar I live with quite well. I go about my daily life walking with God and move forward unnoticed, step by step. There are weeks, however, when bipolar rears its ugly head and I lose weeks at a time to the darkness of this disease.
His life is the light that shines through the darkness—and the darkness can never extinguish it. (John 1:5)
Even though I cannot see Light when I’m in it, my heart informs me that God holds me in His embrace. I know at my core Light surrounds the darkness. My own history tells me eventually I will see a pinpoint of light through the shadows. This Light is the Rose which accompanies the thorn.
As I settle into this bipolar bleakness, I find the physical symptoms are not as harsh as when I fight the onset of depression or hypomania. Fear of the latter subsides; the body pains of the former reduce.
In the face of days or weeks of twilight, am still cognizant that a small pinpoint of light will appear; it will grow and warm me. If I have patience and stay at peace, God will lift me up and out of the sunless, cold place in which I feel stuck. He will always deliver His incomprehensible grace.
The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. (Exodus 14:14)