Sunday, June 10, 2012

Living Room: the need we fill

We all know how important it is to have Christian friends who will pray for us and support us when we’re going through troubling times or when we’re sick. People undergoing mental health problems need such support as well. When a person has depression he or she often needs someone who will have faith for her at times when God seems distant. And yet, all too often such support is not available to them.

As someone who relies much on Christian friends to help me with my mental health issues, I can see how tragic it is not to have such support. And yet it happens frequently. It hurts me deeply to know this. It doesn’t just hurt, it makes me angry. Lack of acceptance of people with mental illness is not what Jesus wants for us.

At Friday’s Living Room meeting someone who is having a very rough time shared how she has not had Christian support at all until she started coming to Living Room. Churches she has attended have not been open to hearing about such problems. The pastor of the church she currently attends knows of her illness but has warned her not to let anyone in the congregation know about it. “They wouldn’t understand,” he says. As a result she has had no Christian friends with whom she can be open about her struggles.

A while ago she spent three weeks in hospital. She didn’t feel she could tell anyone from her church, so had no one from church praying for her or visiting her. How alone she must have felt!

I’m just so extremely proud of my church’s attitude of acceptance towards people who suffer in this way. So very thankful that my church has supported and encouraged the Living Room support group program. Thankful for the support I personally receive.

This lady is only one Christian of many with mental health issues, one of many who are starving for spiritual support – support too often lacking in churches. Living Room fills the hole for them.


Spin said...

Wow, it really must have been so incredibly difficult for her to be alone in the hospital! I don't agree with the position her church has taken on the issue, but I am also not really surprised. I've witnessed churches failing a lot of people lately and it saddens me.

Glad to hear that Living Room is still going strong. God is doing an incredible ministry through your williningness to serve.

Blessings and hugs to you today! <3

marja said...

Good to hear from you again, Spin. Thanks for visiting.

Nancie said...

Dear Marja,

Support is indeed so crucial. Recently, I received several emails that enquired about Support Groups in Singapore for Depression and Bipolar Disorder.

Some mental health organization in Singapore do conducts Depression Support Groups or other mood disorders Support Groups.

But sadly we do not have a Christian Faith based Support Group like Living Room. I thank God for yours and your brethren's ministry at Living Room.

Like you, I am thankful that I belong to a church that seek to understand depression and bipolar and so they have been prayerful and supportive in many ways.

May God continue to keep you near to Him through all the ups and downs of bipolar. Do pace yourself and rest sufficiently.

I have been extremely busy for our Lord in the work among the sick and elderly in my church, in my work and in taking care of my mum and family matters. I am still learning to pace myself and have very little time for blogging, reading posts or visiting blogs. But you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Take care and keep in church.

Warm Christian regards,

marja said...

Dear Nancie,

It's so very good to hear from you.

I'm so glad you belong to a supportive church that tries to understand mental health issues. That makes all the difference, doesn't it?

I knew that there would be a good reason you weren't blogging. Bless you for all the good work you do.

I would like to blog more, but I keep getting distracted by things in the real world that need to be looked after. Same as you, I guess.

But I'm not ready to give up blogging and will try to post whenever I have something I feel strongly about.

Take care, dear friend. And may God bless you and all you do.


Hein said...

yes it is sad to hear that, a lot of Christians is in the same boat. i recently went thru a difficult time also and their isn't really Christians who i can call and tell be there for me, only a friend who understand, she is supportive. to disclose this illness cost to be very selective.

marja said...

Thanks for your comment, Hein. So much work to be done to erase the stigma, isn't there? But we mustn't give up. All things are possible with God.