Kimberly Simpkins’ Thin Place: Navigating Mental Illness in Marriage

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For better or worse. In sickness and health. Marriage vows are easy to say and hard to live, as Kimberly shares in today’s Thin Place story. You can read more from Kimberly as she continues mining in marriage, motherhood and music on her blog, Mining For Diamonds.  (Remember you can share your Thin Place story here.)

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In 1998, while touring worldwide as a musical missionary, I met the love of my life. I was a violinist; he was a drummer who loved Jesus and Beethoven. It was a match made in Heaven! As God wrote our love story, He weaved a twist into the tale.

Eleven years before we met, Scott was diagnosed with Bipolar I at age 16. While I was somewhat naïve about the seriousness of the illness, there was no doubt in my mind that God was knitting our hearts together and calling us into a relationship that we were both convinced would glorify Him. From the beginning, I saw the diamond in Scott waiting to be discovered, and knew that, underneath his struggles with bipolar disorder, lay a treasure worth fighting for. He was worth the risk.

Or was he?

Little did I know just how much of an “adventure” it would be! Perhaps being chased away from our Myrtle Beach honeymoon by Hurricane Floyd nearly 12 years ago should have been a hint of the storms to come. Over the years, my love and commitment to Scott would be tested as he battled the sporadic symptoms of bipolar disorder that at times seemed threatened to win as it pulled him “down the rabbit hole.”

Our lowest moment came five years ago when Scott, caught in the snare of a severe manic episode, walked off one night into oblivion, leaving me and our 3-year-old daughter alone. For 11 months, I endured absolute silence. Where was my husband? Was he dead? Was he alive? Would he ever regain his sanity? Would our marriage ever be restored? What about the “match made in Heaven?” What in the world could God’s plan in this possibly be?

I was helpless to do anything. Legally, my hands were tied. This caused me to press in even more into God. He gave me clear instructions. I was to: pray, wait, do not go looking for Scott, and God would bring him back to us.   

Through those seemingly endless days of being a “single,” working mother, God drew me closer to Himself than I had ever been before, and taught me valuable lessons. I learned how to function in peace in the midst of the uncertainty of the future, to pray and believe God for my husband’s healing and the restoration of my marriage, the realities of mental illness, spiritual warfare, and not giving up on the “diamond in the rough.” For 11 months, God pulled me and our young daughter into the cleft of the Rock, and worked miracles on behalf of my family. Unbeknownst to me, Scott was on his own journey during those 11 months that would eventually lead him to the help he desperately needed, and bring our paths back together again. We finally emerged from the rabbit hole.

God was faithful to His Word! He miraculously brought my husband back to me. He restored Scott’s mind and our marriage and family. With God, all things are indeed possible!

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