A Kiss on the Forehead

Encountering Heaven in Every Day Life

Mental Health and the Church: Discuss

Friends, I’m sorry it’s been awhile… I do promise to finish my post on choices I began when I last wrote!! Mr. Right, Buddy Bear and I have been packing boxes, cleaning, moving, cleaning some more, unpacking boxes, and celebrating our anniversary over the last few weeks. I am sure you will forgive me for not having/taking the time to sit down and write, but I will get back to it!

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I could not let the day pass, however, without sharing what’s been on my mind this past week. This past weekend, a pastor in our community lost his battle with depression and his life to suicide. In hearing this news, I, alongside much of our small community, was crushed. I didn’t know this pastor personally, but I definitely know, in my own way, his struggle, the temptation, and the hopelessness those last moments must have brought. My heart breaks because I know it didn’t have to end that way.

This weekend, the son of a prominent Christian author and pastor, Rick Warren, also lost his battle with depression, and his life. I have no personal connection with the Warren’s, but again, my heart is broken, because I know the struggle, the temptation, and the hopelessness those last moments must have brought. My heart breaks because I know it didn’t have to end that way.

My heart is broken, but it is also encouraged.

It is encouraged because, through these tragedies, light is being shone into darkness. Within the last four days, I have heard several local pastors speak in reaction to these occurrences. I have also seen many “bigger names” in Christian media begin speaking out about that which is usually a taboo topic in mainstream Christianity: Mental Health.

I was especially impacted by this blog by Ann VosKamp, bestselling author of “One Thousand Gifts.” When I first read the blog, I had no idea who had written it… I felt as though my own heart was leaping onto the computer screen. With every other line I was standing to my feet and shouting “AMEN!” PLEASE take a moment and head over to her page to read her thoughts. Then come back here and discuss.  🙂

It’s time, church, to stand up and BE the body. As Ann so eloquently states:

“(It’s time for the Church to) turn to the hurting, to each other, and promise it till we’re hoarse:

We won’t give you some cliche –  but something to cling to — and that will mean our hands.

We won’t give you some platitudes — but someplace for your pain — and that will mean our time.

We won’t give you some excuses — but we’ll be some example — and that will mean bending down and washing your wounds. Wounds that we don’t understand, wounds that keep festering, that don’t heal, that down right stink — wounds that can never make us turn away.

Because we are the Body of the Wounded Healer and we are the people who believe the impossible — that wounds can be openings to the beauty in us.

We’re the people who say: there’s no shame saying that your heart and head are broken because there’s a Doctor in the house. It’s the wisest and the bravest who cry for help when lost.

There’s no stigma in saying you’re sick because there’s a wounded Healer who uses nails to buy freedom and crosses to resurrect hope and medicine to make miracles.

There’s no guilt in mental illness because depression is a kind of cancer that attacks the mind. You don’t shame cancer, you treat cancer. You don’t treat those with hurting insides as less than. You get them the most treatment.

I wanted the brave to speak Truth and Love:

Shame is a bully and Grace is a shield.  You are safe here.” 

(from Ann VosKamp’s blog, “A Holy Experience,” found here.)

Oh friend, does your heart leap like mine does at those words? What a challenge. What a need. What a CALLING! And it’s OUR calling!

***My hope is, as we learn to be the hands and feet of Christ, we can find those who are in the midst of the struggle, the temptation, and the hopelessness… we can BE CHRIST to them, a safe place to struggle… and we can make a difference so that it doesn’t have to end that way.***

How different would the church be if we really acted like Christ? How would this change our hurting and broken world? How would it impact the hurting and broken among us???

I wanna hear your thoughts, your experiences, your heart.

PLEASE, discuss.

Blessings, friend.

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