Saturday, February 23, 2008

The wounded healer

The Catholic theologian Henri Nouwen believed that our wounds can be a source of healing for others. Not only do they help us to become compassionate, but they humble us. As we work toward healing in our own lives, we can help bring healing to others.

I'm finding that so true for myself. Over the past week, as I was battling anxiety and depression, I worked on a devotional to bring to Living Room. The topic was "Coping with our Pain." As I worked through my own pain, I found ways of helping others with their pain. I searched for healing and, through the pain I felt as I listened to last Sunday's sermon, I gained a new level of understanding of what God's love is like. This encouraged me and yesterday I did my best to pass on my understanding to members of the group. (a whopping 22 attendees yesterday - Wow!)

But in the evening, with it all behind me, I did not feel the usual joy I feel after
Living Room. My depression was more severe and, what's more, I had nothing I could do with it. In anguish I emailed my friend. I'm not one to isolate during depression. I have a huge need to reach out - to grab something that will keep me from sinking. Talking with her helped.

This morning I had a good quiet time with reflection and prayer. I decided I need to do my best to help others deal with their emotional pain, in the process finding healing for myself - always keeping God's great love uppermost in my mind and heart - always sharing that love with others. I will be getting together with a few
Living Room people over the next while, sharing with them, encouraging them as I encourage myself. We can encourage each other.

Henri Nouwen wrote a book called the Wounded Healer. Think I'll pick up a copy soon. It sounds like something that might encourage me - something that will help me remember I can do worthwhile things with my pain.


Jim said...

Over the years, I have learned the difference between spiritual depression and emotional depression. Often, they go together however one is more severed than the other.

D. Martin Lloyd-Jones wrote a good book called "Spiritual Depression".

Jim said...

Come on over because you have been named as "Rated for EXCELLENT Blogger".

Renewed Daily said...

Wow Marja!
I am impressed by your blog and your insight. I went to the link for Living Room and think this would be very awesome for our church. Do you know how many Living Rooms are going out there? I am taking this to God in prayer to see if its something He would like me to do.
Thanks for sharing your heart.


My Life with Bipolar Disorder said...

Dear Marja,

My heart goes out to you as you struggle with your depression and endeavour to help others in their emotional pains too. It is encouraging to know that God comforts you with His love and you are able to comfort others with the same comfort He has comforted you. I am finding this to be a blessing to myself and others too, in that I am able to feel for others in their sufferings and direct them to God and His love which are unchanging. Take care. I will keep you in my prayers that God bless your walk with Him and as you serve Him.

Warmly in the Lord,

marja said...

Jim: Thank you,thank you! ...for your comments and for the award. You're a great friend and I value your input here.

Angie: I know Living Room would be awesome for your church, because it's awesome for ours. We very much need more Living Rooms out there. There are now three, all in the Vancouver area, and a fourth one getting ready to set up.

I hope you noticed the manuals that you can download off the Living Room website, or you can order hard copies from me. (They're beautiful.)

I think I'll write my next post about what it takes to be a Living Room facilitator. (It's not complicated.)

email me if you have any questions at

Nancie: Thank you for your prayers. I think a lot of people have been praying. The good news is that I've been feeling not too bad at all the past few days. God is good:)