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As a preacher's daughter, I grew up sitting in church pews and singing old hymns. Church was a safe place for me to be. But then, throughout my teen years, crippling anxieties took over. I no longer felt a "peace that passes all understanding". I started to doubt. I questioned my faith. Would all the little old church ladies still accept me or would they judge my struggles? Would they wonder if I'd stopped praying and reading my bible at bedtime? I wasn't sure. Sunday mornings no longer felt as safe. And so, I hid my struggles behind a giant smile. After my bipolar II diagnosis, I became aware of the stigma that existed in the world and was convinced that the Church would be no different. I kept my diagnosis under wraps.
I've now come to a place of wholeheartedly believing that I've been 'fearfully and wonderfully made' by a God whose faithful promises will sustain me through any challenges that life (or my disorder) might bring. No more shame, fake smiles, or holding back tears on Sunday mornings. It is my greatest hope that all those who are silently struggling will feel welcome, safe, and understood as they sit in church pews and sing old hymns!
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