Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Christians speak out

I'm so delighted about what happened on Sunday May 12th. Two churches featured people speaking about their mental health problems. 

Please do take some time to listen:

At Emmanuel Baptist Church in Victoria, some members of Living Room shared their journeys of faith and mental illness. Pastor Joan Dosso brought a meditation on transformation from woundedness and stigmatization to finding our identity as God’s Beloved. To listen to the podcast, go here.

On that same day, Anessa Simpson from Brentwood Park Alliance Church in Burnaby shared the story about her journey with depression and anxiety. You can listen to her story as well, at this link

So good to know that churches are gradually becoming safe places to talk openly about our mental health problems.
I hope this news makes you as happy as it made me. I hope you will be inspired by these courageous individuals.

 A reminder: If you'd like to receive the Reflections on Scripture that I send out every Monday, please go to the Homepage of the Living Room website and sign up. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Beyond imagination

God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!
He does it not by pushing us around but working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
                                                                                                                                                                             Ephesians 3:20-21 (MSG)
That is so very true!
When I was young I was afraid to speak up in class or to other people. Being a leader of Living Room support ministries was the furthest thing from my mind, but that's what God made me.
When I think of what my life used to be like, I marvel at how it has changed. As a teen I had social anxiety disorder and depression. At the age of nineteen I spent nine months at Riverview, a major mental hospital in British Columbia. This was followed by a  lifetime of struggles with psychosis, depression and mania.

At the age of forty I decided I could no longer live on my own strength but needed God! I gave up my need for control and surrendered my life to Him. I soon learned what it was to receive divine love. My life became more meaningful. Although I wasn't cured of my disorder, I found a measure of healing. I grew.
I never dreamed that I would become an activist, trying to erase the stigma attached to mental illness. God's spirit worked within me, giving me the courage to respond to His invitation to join Him in the work He was - and still is - doing in the world. He led me from project to project, one step at a time. I never knew where He was taking me or how long the journey would be. That's how God operates. He doesn't let you see the big picture ahead of time. The important thing is to trust and follow. 
God helped me create church-based Living Room support groups, places where people with mood disorders can talk openly about their faith and their mental health problems. Before Living Room it was seldom possible for people to safely talk about these two things together - not in the secular world nor in the Christian  world.
I've struggled with bipolar disorder for 48 years now, unable to hold a paying job. In spite of that, I have been able to work for God - not doing anything wonderful on my own, but simply being His foot soldier. I went where He led, speaking and writing the words He gave me. Amazing what can be accomplished when we decide that the work is not our own, but God's. Such a wonderful world He opens up for us - a life that's beyond what we could ask for or imagine.
It's a privilege to be doing this work, including sending you these emails. I feel blessed to be able to serve God in this way.
May God bless you too as you follow Him on your journey - step by step, day by day. 
PS: This is a recent email I sent to the people on my list - one of my Reflections on Scripture. If you would like to start receiving these, mailed out every Monday, go to the Homepage of the Living Room website to sign up. You can unsubscribe at any time.