If you listen to the audio of my sermon: “God & Darkness: Why a Christian can be spiritually healthy and mentally Ill”, you will hear me go into my personal story a bit. (https://www.crowbarmassage.com/…/god-darkness-why-a-christ…/)
I did this in order to give some context to why I felt I had something to say about mental illness, particularly the matters of depression. I felt that if I was going to ask people to tell their stories then I would have to share some of mine. It was a step out of the comfortable emotional closet where we all hold our cards tight to our chest. But in order to strike a few more blows to the stigma wall, I felt I needed to share my own battles too.
As leaders and friends, we have to find ways to lead in meaningful matters and I have found that God often brings small streams of healing from the sources of our greatest pain.
It’s the crushed petal that brings out the fragrance, the broken grape, the wine. Such ideas make great Pinterest quotes but in practice, it takes much more courage and conviction to allow others to place their finger in our wounds. I follow the risen Christ who still has signs of suffering on his body. Those who suffer in doubt and unbelief about the stories of people being able to come back from the dead, need to see and touch the wounds of resurrected ones.
Christ gives new life but it is not a new life that bears no visible trace of the hell we have passed through. We are not to be ashamed of the stretch marks of new birth anymore than the ones a woman bears on her own flesh. They are signs of suffering that bore new life or attempted to bring it into the world.
I pray that the Church can make more room for people to bear their sufferings together. It’s a hard dance between becoming a hospital with no physicians and physicians with no patients. We are all seeking greater healing, the fullest wholeness possible in the plan and will of Jesus for our lives.
This is a new song off of Brandi Carlile’s upcoming project, I thought fit the whole subject well:
Lyrics from ‘Sugartooth’:
“It was hard to hide that his heart had scars
He would stay up late talking to the stars
People tried to blame him for making bad choices
When he was only listening to the voices
He’s searching for some kind of deeper truth
Between the lines in the Bible and living proof
There’s no point now to judge him in vain
If you haven’t been there, you don’t know the pain.”
His life became more than he could take
He found a bad habit he couldn’t break
Nothing could tame him and nothing could hold him
He only took the pills when the doctor told him
Looking too hard for the something sweet
To make his life feel as incomplete
What in the hell are you going to do
When the world has made its mind up about you?