And also Zeezrom lay sick at Sidom, with a burning fever, which was caused by the great tribulations of his mind on account of his wickedness, for he supposed that Alma and Amulet were no more; and he supposed that they had been slain because of his iniquity. And this great sin, and his many other sins, did harrow up his mind, until it did become exceedingly sore, having no deliverance; therefore he began to be scorched with a burning heat.
Now when he heard that Alma and Amulek were in the land Sidom, his heart began to take courage; and he sent a message immediately unto them, desiring them to come unto him.
And it came to pass that they went immediately, obeying the message which he had sent unto them; and they went in unto the house unto Zeezrom; and they found him upon his bed, sick, being very low with a burning fever; and his mind also was exceedingly sore because of his iniquities; and when he saw them he stretched forth his hand, and besought them that they would heal him.
And it came to pass that Alma said unto him, taking him by the hand: Believest thou in the power of Christ unto salvation? And he answered and said: Yea, I believe all the words that thou hast taught.
And Alma said: If thou believes in the redemption of Christ thou canst be healed. And he said: Yea, I believe according to thy words.
And then Alma cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, have mercy on this man, and heal him according to his faith which is in Christ.
And when Alma had said these words, Zeezrom leaped upon his feet, and began to walk; and this was done to the great astonishment of all the people; and the knowledge of this went forth throughout all the land of Sidom.
And Alma baptized Zeezrom unto the Lord; and he began from that time forth to preach unto the people.
Never give up on this person; choose to love them throughout life’s turmoil.
This Dare brings back so many memories. Of times when my Papa, my Mom, my siblings and close friends did just this for me. Let me just say, there was an aspect of my teenage-hood that was hell. I had my first episode of mental illness at age 13, two days after Christmas. After that I had episodes like clockwork, at one point, I had them every three months. And the episodes would last sometimes for several weeks, till somehow I’d pull out of it.
During all that time, my dad, bless his heart, thought I was choosing to be possessed by devils–I talked different, acted different, in essence was a completely different person than normal. I might as well be possessed. It sure felt like I was.
My mom thought it was brought on by a trauma from my childhood when my brother was born. My mom had had a stillborn when I was 3 1/2 years old. She and I had been best buds up until then. But once the stillbirth happened, we called him Baby Stephen, my mom was never the same after that. She’s still recovering in places. My mom just wasn’t the same mom anymore. When another brother was born about ten years later, it triggered those traumatic memories and I had a melt down. Mom even said that she thought it had to do with Baby Stephen, as well as health related.
So throughout my teenage-hood, I would get conversations with Papa on how to work through and choose something different, which I did my very best to do. But sometimes I just felt like a constant failure. Why did I choose this? I didn’t want to choose this, but I couldn’t seem to escape it. It got to the point where I knew all my warning signs and I would have panic attacks when they’d start to play, because I knew I was going down and there was nothing I could do about it.
Mom kept trying different health related things–Vitamins in particular and other supplements. I wasn’t very good about taking them. What’s the good of taking vitamins when you’re choosing to be possessed? And who the hell would I want to talk to about it! Like they’d want to hear that crap! So, most of the time, I didn’t talk to anyone about it. Sometimes not even God. He probably hated me anyway, because I just kept choosing to be possessed. How could anybody love someone like me?
And yet, throughout all of that, and it was hell, I found out how much my mom loved me, how much my dad loved me, how much my siblings loved me, how much my closest friends loved me. And they loved me anyway.
I’m not saying that it was easy to love me. It wasn’t. I was a pain in the butt sometimes. If you’ve ever dealt with a mentally ill person you know what I mean. It’s. So. Hard. Stubborn, volatile, set in my ways, inconsiderate, insane–literally insane, there aren’t adequate adjectives to describe mental illness–at least not that I have in my vocabulary. Guess I need to flesh it out. It was like living in hell, and my body was the prison. I couldn’t get away. It went with me everywhere. All of my other problems I could escape to some extent. But not this one.
How could anyone love me? I was such a mess inside. And yet, there were people that did. Granted, not everyone, most everyone, didn’t know what was going on inside me. Even my parents knew very little, other than the times I’d get desperate and say something to them. I thought people knew me and what was going on and how awful I was, but really most people had no comprehension of what I was going through at all. Not even my parents. And yet, though I made no sense and it was hell on wheels, they kept loving me. Kept fighting for me, the ways that they knew how. They never gave up, even when what they had to do was the hardest thing they’d ever done. That had to do with me, at least.
The first time my parent’s took me to a psych ward was when I was 18. A little over 5 years spent in recurring visits to hell before we found out that I had a mental illness. They took me in because I was acting like a crazy person. Flat out crazy person.
Those first few days in the hospital were some of the hardest days of my life. No joke. I thought God had sent me there to kill me, and imprison me. I thought I was being punished. I thought I was going to be tortured. I thought God hated me. And I felt so betrayed by the ones who loved me most on the planet–my parents. It was excruciating. Ever had a broken heart? Well, I had one those first few days.
You know, though, my parents just wouldn’t give up. It was their love that finally got through to me, and that talked me into taking medication, which I’d refused to do, because I was terrified of what it would do to me. The medication helped that’s true, but what really helped is that I knew that I was loved, loved in my brokenness. And that I wasn’t just “choosing to be possessed”. There was a logical explanation for what I was going though.
We all need someone who’s not going to give up on us, no matter how bad it gets. When we know that their love is there to stay, there is something that rises within us, gathering strength and ability that we didn’t have before. Committed love, that changes people. I know. Because it changed me.
True love isn’t a fair weather friend. True love stands by you when you’re hardest to be around. True love knows your crap well enough to hate it with a passion, but still loves the you that’s worth keeping. True love accepts you and loves you into your fullest potential and highest self. True love is brave and bold. True love doesn’t give up.
I love the song Never Give Up On Me, (start at 1:08) off of the movie Facing the Giants. Christ never gives up on us and we need to do the same for each other. We need His grace to do it, we can’t do it alone. It’s through Him that we gain divine grace to give to each other. It’s through Him that we maintain our commitment to each other. It’s through Him that our love keeps warm and doesn’t wax cold. We all need people in our lives like that. I hope that I can be one of those someones in my loved ones’ lives–someone who never gives up, no matter how bad it gets.
Assignment for Dare 13:
Pray for divine grace to have committed love for your loved ones, no matter what crap they may be manifesting right now. And as He gives it to you, act on it. Committed love throughout life’s turmoil doesn’t mean being a doormat. It requires strength and endurance and boundaries. Boundaries that increase love, not stifle it. Set up some healthy boundaries for you and your loved ones that will help create healthier relationships. Every healthy relationship has healthy boundaries.