The Baby Mobile Illustration

I never put much thought into baby mobiles before.  However, I was consulting with my friend at the Brain Injury Association (Where I am a client in good standing) and she used a baby mobile to talk about how brain injuries impact everyone in the family.  Her point was that if you touch one of the pieces hanging down, all will move and sway.  In that vein, my head injury has caused sway and movement in my family as we have all had to learn coping skills and balance in this new reality.

So what does that have to do with the Body of Christ?

I was reading 1 Corinthians the other day and came across this verse in chapter twelve:

"And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it." (1 Corinthians 12:26)

I was reminded of the baby mobile illustration when I read this.

Sin, that thing we try to hide from others, once revealed, (and let's be honest, it's always revealed), can cause others to suffer as well.  What we do in secret can negatively impact not only us, but everyone around us.  Even a "simple" lie complicates all of our relationships. 

Sickness, pain, fear, you name it... can cause all around us to be shaken and rocked to our core.

The same holds true for positive things as well.

One person in a family becoming a Christian will cause people around them to contemplate their own relationships (or lack thereof) with Christ.  Joy is contagious and as your spirits are lifted, you will also lift the spirits of those around you.

The choices we make can shake our foundations, sometimes to the very core.  They can also change our lives and the lives of those around us.

I like Joshua's challenge to the people of Israel:

"And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)

We all make choices; why not make a choice to live a life pleasing to God?

Then when those around us are moved, it will be for the glory of God!


One Foot in Front of the Other - Just A Thought #58


I see that word and it brings up a lot of different thoughts.

Hard work.
2 steps forward, one step back.
Falling down...a lot! 
Blood, sweat and tears.
Failure...more than once.

The Bible talks about perseverance and endurance often but there is a story I was reading in 2 Kings 5:1-19 that really resonated with me. Maybe it was because I am in a place where the idea of perseverance has become a reality.  We live in a world filled with pain and hardship.  In this world, we get glimmers of grace and hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

Recently I have had to persevere through some pretty significant issues.  Like the man in the picture...it feels like a slog up a long path, one foot in front of the other.  

It is how I have been living lately.  

I won't lie, I wish our problems had instant solutions.  In this fast-paced, answers now society, we don't like waiting for anything.  Waiting for answers, healing, guidance, etc does not fit that plan.  Yet that is what God calls us to do.  To wait, to persevere.

So getting back to 2 Kings.  Naaman was a mighty warrior of some renown.  He was also a leper.  Eventually he heard about a prophet who may be able to heal him.  He traveled with many gifts and finally came face to face with Elisha.  He wanted instant answers but was told that he had to dip seven times in the Jordan River.  He got angry, not liking what he heard, and left.  

Cooler heads prevailed and encouraged him to listen to Elisha.  He went to the Jordan,  dipped in seven times and came out healed!  

I can so relate.

When I come to God, I don't want delayed answers.  Like Naaman, I have sometimes gotten angry with the answers I did receive. I especially don't like it when the answer is to persevere.

Yet God's ways are higher than ours.  He has a plan.

I can obey or kick against it.

I want to obey.

Which means I have to persevere at times.  Times like now.  I don't know how long it will be before we see the other side of this challenging time, but it doesn't matter.  God is in control.

In the meantime, I will keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep my eyes on Him!


Christians and Mental Health - How Should The Church Respond?

What should the church be?

The church should be a place where it’s OK to struggle with depression.
The church should be a place that’s home to the recovering and the relapsing addict.
The church should be a place where leaders can have faults and not be afraid to share them.
The church should be a place where we’re not afraid of pain.
The church should be a place where condemnation is replaced by redemption.
The church should be a place where love becomes an action verb.
The church should be a place where people with mental health issues feel loved and cared for.

In fact, the church should build up their knowledge on mental health issues. The church should understand the symptoms and make themselves aware of the resources available in their community.  

A few years back I took a 10 week course that dealt with various kinds of mental health issues and it was an eye-opening experience.  My whole view was shifted in so many ways.

What should the church be?

It should be a place where love prevails.  

I have seen that love in church after church around the world.  I have seen the love of God displayed over and over to those in need.  

Sadly, I have also seen the opposite.  

I find myself reflecting on how Jesus would respond to someone in pain.  Of course we have numerous pictures of how Jesus ACTUALLY did respond.

Jesus healed the sick.
Jesus called people to the Father.
Jesus spoke to the need and provided living water.
Jesus forgave.
Jesus loved.

Not only did Jesus love but He also told us to love one another. (John 13:34)  That is how the church should respond to people with mental health issues.

By loving one another.


Christians and Mental Health - What Are We Afraid Of?

Cancer is a hideous disease and when Christians meet someone suffering from this illness, they will pray, serve and love them through the process.  They do not blame the victim.  Ailments of the body are prayed over and help is extended to the one suffering.

Not so with mental health issues.  I remember growing up in the church and the response to someone with mental illness often times tended to be that those people were somehow 'possessed' or allowing Satan to run rampant in their life. 

People with mental health issues are sometimes afraid to mention their suffering around other believers because of the condemnation they feel they may receive.  Depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc. have often been minimized and are little discussed in the body of Christ.  In fact, I have met some who seem to act like they wish it would go away. 

Mental health and Christianity were in the spotlight recently when Pastor Rick Warren lost a son to suicide.  His son had struggled with mental illness his entire life and after a long bout with depression, ended his life.

We in the church are called to love our neighbors (Mark 12:31).  In fact loving the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbors as ourselves are considered the two greatest commandments.  So why do we sometimes fail to love our neighbors with mental illness?

What are we afraid of? 

Can God heal a mental health issue?  Absolutely.  He is a miracle working God.  However just as God does not heal every person with cancer nor does He heal every person with depression. 
Sometimes we are called to persevere.

I believe the church should be an inviting place.  A place where all those with problems, be they spiritual, physical, social, financial or mental are welcomed, loved and cherished. 

400 million battle mental illness worldwide.

God loves every one of them. 

Shouldn't we?