Last Friday, Whispers in the Pews: Voices on Mental Illness in the Church released.
I feel grateful today for the people who shared the link on social media and encouraged others to read it. I feel grateful for those who read it and posted reviews on Amazon. I feel grateful for the conversations that I know will take place in our church communities, around the water coolers, one on one over coffee as a result of the voices who shared their stories and bared their souls.
I understand the concept of time. Any change in attitude takes time. A young woman recently shared with me it takes seven years from the first time we hear something to have a change of heart. In those seven years, we need to hear the message repeated by different people in different ways.
Perhaps this book will help pave the way for the subject of mental illness to go from “we don’t talk about it” to a genuine understanding and compassion for us all.
Mental illness is not a weakness in a person’s faith. I’ve met countless people in the past fourteen years whose faith can move a mountain. Mental illness struck anyway. It’s a brain disorder, not a character flaw.
Mental illness can’t be prayed away. This is not to say that God can’t work a miracle. I know God can heal mind, body, and soul. I do believe, however, that often times God works through professionals who assist those who seek recovery by:
- Provide medications that assist the brain to make the proper connections so it can function as it should.
- Provide therapy in various forms – again – to assist the brain to react differently to outside stimulus.
- Provide a safe space to discuss the issues that accompany mental illness.
We, as a community can help by:
- Provide a listening ear, without judgment. Sometimes, that means not saying anything, just listening.
- Help them find the professional help they seek.
- Treat them as before illness struck. They want acceptance and don’t want to feel set apart because of a biological illness.
Let’s offer everyone a hand to help them stand. We’re all in this together.