WMU Promotes Mental Health Advocacy

Oklahoma Women’s Missionary Union President describing her personal challenges with mental illness. Source: Baptist Press

There was a time where Julie Busler was living in Central Asia and she struggled with depression, anxiety, and trauma. She said the true struggle was no one knowing that she was struggling.

“I looked happy on the outside, but on the inside, I felt like I was dying slowly and there was so much darkness in my life, and I didn’t realize these negative intrusive thoughts I was having were actually not OK,” Busler said in an interview with the Baptist Press.

“I think for me I was confused even as a mature believer if it was a faith problem or if it was really just an illness,” said Busler, who is now president of the Woman’s Missionary Union of Oklahoma. “I didn’t know where I stood on that point of view and so because I didn’t know I was paralyzed and then didn’t reach out to get help because I wasn’t sure what I even needed.”

After struggling to the point of attempting to take her own life, Busler left Asia and went to Oklahoma. There she would begin to slowly make progress through a combination of counseling, support from friends and family, medication and spiritual transformation.

“At first it was hard for me to come to terms with little baby steps because I thought ‘I’m really mature in my faith, and I can share the Gospel, I read the Bible and all these things but I wasn’t putting it into practice, so I almost had to go back to the basics and just learn how to walk with Jesus every moment,” she said.

“I was learning to embrace my weakness and realizing it’s OK if my prayer today is ‘Jesus help me’ and not some theologically deep speech. It came down to just learning and embracing my weakness. We are all broken people who need Jesus. Perfection is actually unattainable. People are instead actually drawn to someone who is struggling but who walks in victory. I think there is a beauty when we admit our struggles and being real is how God’s glory shines through our weakness.”

“Mental illness itself is not a sin,” she said. “I could not help the trauma that happened to me, but I could control if I would respond to the temptation to sin based on my mental illness. I was dealing with both mental illness and certain sins in my life that required repentance.”

Busler said although she is incredibly thankful for gifts from God such as therapists and medication, those things are not her ultimate hope in life. Despite things like medication helping to get her head above water, Busler made clear it was only through inward spiritual transformation that true freedom and life are found.

Source: Baptist Press