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This year I want to pick a word to be the theme of 2019. The word I want to choose is joy. On the outside if you don't know me super well you might wonder why I picked that word because I'm joyful often. Well that's just the mask that I pick on as a young girl because if I'm smiling no one will look at me. The truth is living with mental illness can make it very difficult to joy all the time. Most of the time I want to choose joy but often mental illness wins and I just can't. I know some of you reading this either don't think mental illness is real or think you can just pray it away but that's just not how it works. That would be like telling someone with cancer it's just all in their head or just pray it away. You would never do that would you, no you wouldn't, and just like them the battle inside of me is so real. I have borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety, HDHD, and bipolar disorder. To sum that up it's a whole lot of stuff that makes joy pretty impossible. But luckily I'm a child of a God of impossibility. You may think these things would make me unqualified to do ministry but in reality they are what make me so qualified to do it. Although it's a challenge everyday to wake up, get out of bed, and just function as a human everyday I get to see God provide me with the strength to do it. These are the thorns in my side that I have learned will just always be there so that I will have to rely on God everyday of my life. Just like any disease or disorder it comes in waves and some days are better  then others. The valleys are when it's hard to choose joy. This year I want to be able to go through even the darkest times with so much joy. Even though life is harder it is so worth it because I serve an amazing God who makes it worth it. With every one of these disorders my risk for suicide goes up about 10% which means I have about 50% chance that I will commit suicide at some point in my life but because I know who I am, whom I belong to, and the hope that there is more to come my chance is 0%. You again might be thinking that makes me unqualified for ministry but again I will day I think that's what makes me qualified. There are so many students which the same thoughts but they have no hope. They don't know who they are or who they can belong to. They don't know there's a father out there who will love them despite all the flaws. They don't know that they don't have to be perfect to come to God. I can be living proof that you don't have to be perfect and that there is there is so much hope for them. There is something to live for even when at times it doesn't feel like it. Last year was a hard year working through all of this and learning just how God could use me through all of my flaws and through all the ways I've failed. He taught me so much and I'm ready for this new year and this year I'm choosing joy even in my darkest moments so I might be a light through others darkest moments.

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