Why would a Good God give me Mental Illness?

By james.bruce.mcnaughton@gmail.com        http://i-m-4-u.blogspot.com

I grew up obeying rules and secretly (secret from myself, that is) thinking I was better than other people. At nineteen, as I was beginning a slide into depression, but didn’t know it, I was “called” into my bedroom by what I was hoping/afraid might be God. I told Him I wanted to be like the Christians in the Bible. God told me through the Bible that those who are forgiven little, love little. But, those who are forgiven much, love much. I thought I had little to be forgiven of so I told God I wanted to be forgiven of much and I thought it might be fun to sin. God impressed on my spirit, “You’re a sinner!” He wasn’t talking about your everyday church-going sinner that we all are. He meant I was vile, evil and depraved. I replied, “No, I’m not!” He said again, “You’re a sinner!” I said again, “No, I’m not!”

Then God did the kindest, most loving thing He could do for me: He “blessed” me with mental illness (that would not be correctly treated for ten years). The mental illness caused indescribable psychic pain, anguish, regret, and shame. My emotions left me (but I didn’t know it) causing me to feel like I hadn’t really talked to anyone for ten years; I literally felt alone for all of those years. And, my Pride was assaulted: I was in and out of mental hospitals, I was humiliated because I lost many jobs, I could not do some of the simplest of things (like count money), and I despised being labeled mentally ill and a failure.

Why did I call it God’s “blessing?” because that was the only way for my Pride to fall. I came to realize I was vile, evil and depraved; just like God had told me. God called me again after ten years and I grudgingly accepted Him. And God began the continuous work of changing me so that eventually I will have the beautiful loving character of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus.

But bringing me to Jesus wasn’t the only value of the pain. God allowed that pain to go deep within to allow me to care deeply about the hurts of others; to be able to empathize with others, and let others in pain know I that have hurt deeply as well. I use the pain God gave me every day in my job, as I walk alongside those dealing with mental illness. (And, I also use the pain to understand others who have experienced pain, such as my children, who were traumatized before we adopted them).

I wouldn’t wish mental illness on anyone. I wish I could have learned without the pain. But God used the pain to win me to Himself and change me; and help me to care about, and be willing and able to serve, others.

And for that I will forever be grateful.

If your eye is good your whole body will be filled with light

Jesus said that the eye was the lamp of the body.  If your eye is good your whole body will be filled with light.  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be filled with darkness.  And, if the light within you is darkness, how terribly dark that darkness (see Matthew 6:23).

What I see comes from the outside world.  How I see, comes from me.  Facts, (according to the book Crucial Conversations) are neutral.  It is the story I tell myself about the facts that creates meaning to me.  I then believe that the story I have created from myself is true and project that meaning onto the facts.

What if I see evil in other people?  If I condemn someone else, I have condemned myself first.  Because, when I see the facts of what someone is doing, I look back when I did the same or similar things, condemn what I did, judge myself and then project that condemnation and judgement on the other person (see Matthew chapter 7).

What if my eye is good?  To the pure all things are pure (see Titus 1:15).  When my eyes are good, I see evil as satan’s influence on someone who was created by and is loved by God.  I condemn the evil, not the person.  My struggle is not against flesh and blood (see Ephesians 6:12).  My struggle is against satan and his influence.  (Thank God, Jesus has already won our victory through His offering of Himself to God as our condemned substitute (see 1 Corinthians 15:17 ).

What if the light within me is darkness?  If I condemn what is actually good as being evil, then I close the door of my mind to the possibility of ever understanding good.  And I won’t know what is good until I say, as Jesus stated, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!” (see Matthew 23:39) That is, until I welcome Jesus as the definition and the standard of the goodness of God, as God in the flesh.

I was a perfect parent… until I had children



The great thing about being young and inexperienced is that you know everything.  At least I did.  Before I had children I knew what every misbehaving kid needed.  Before children I had all the answers.  After children I don’t even remember the questions.  But it is not just the young and inexperienced who suffer from omniscience.  Experienced parents who believe that what worked for their kids will work for all kids cause greater pain.  And the parents of special needs kids, in my case kids with mental health challenges,  feel that pain.  Sometimes from the disapproving looks of strangers, but many times from the comments of their own parents, family and friend


I was a Perfect Parent… Until I had Children

By Jim McNaughton B.S. (Barely Sane)
(Style inspired by Dr. Seuss, only for parents)

Some children are brought home and sleep through the night
They are corrected according to the books
They don’t fight and they don’t bite
And fall in line with one stern look
The parents of these
Children that please
Sometimes take the credit
They write books and give others looks
When the others just don’t quite get it

But we are not the parents of these that please
Our children not only don’t get it
They study us intently to learn our faults and
Our buttons in hopes to upset it

They can weave a lie without batting an eye
They love the crowds all around
To yell “you’re hurting me” and “I can’t breathe”
Though you’re NOT and they CAN
(And YOU just want to LEAVE)

Try Love and Logic they say
It works the best
(Unless you’re kid has no
Cause and effect)
Put up a chart… Charge him for you to do his chores…
You just need to be firm… You just need to love more…
We know the answer… (Though we hardly know your kid…)
We think we know him much more than you ever did

So the next time you see my child and me
Struggling while we go through the store
Please lend us some of your compassion

Advice… We don’t need any more.


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