The child we are guardians of walked in my bedroom this morning to kiss me goodbye before the school bus arrived.
Devin: “Why are all these people helping us and bringing food? Is it just because they love our house?
Immediately I realized what a perfect teaching moment had just presented itself.
Me: “No (insert chuckle), it’s because I just had surgery and we need help. This how is the church - the Body of Christ - is supposed to love each other. They are loving our family the way they would want others to love them, and they are showing us God’s love by loving us.
Devin: “But how do they know we need help?”
Me: “I told everyone.”
Devin: “ooooooh, hmmm....cool”
Immediately I realized how this conversation could be applied to mental health, the oftentimes invisible illness. If we don’t tell loved ones that we are struggling, they just won’t know. And if they don’t know, then they can’t help. Feelings of isolation remain strong and painful, and one might even start resenting others for not being sensitive or helpful. Lies that we are a burden are never addressed rationally, and shame will continue to be in charge when God desires that we walk in freedom and community.
Isolation + mental illness can be life threatening.
Community + mental illness can be lifesaving.
One thing that has been amazing since I started living transparently, is that it has opened a door for women of all ages, and even those in vocational ministry who are struggling, to feel the liberty to be open with me. I’m surprised at the cheerful, successful, ambitious women who reach out and confide their depression in me.
It’s a gift.
I do not regret starting to be vulnerable. It has actually been one of the most freeing experiences of my life. If you are shrouded in secrecy, pray and ask God to show you where to begin starting to open up. He is always faithful to guide.