Mental illness is a topic not discussed openly in many social settings. Many people with such issues as mental illness hide their fears and depression for fear of being stigmatized, especially in the workplace and in churches. For me, this has been true until I came to grips with limitations learning to use them to my advantage.
You are never alone – Poor mental health can make us feel ashamed and alone. The reality is that two-thirds of us suffer from some form of mental health problem, and the more we talk about it and are honest, the easier it becomes for people to get the help they need.
This eye-opening moment happened many years ago. And while God did begin to change me, it didn’t happen in the way I’d anticipated. My honest desire to please God grew, and my actions soon stemmed from that desire—not from a works-based checklist.
To understand my perspective on Father’s Day, you need to know a bit about my relationship with my father. Initially, there was no intention of him becoming my “father.” He was the pastor of the church that sat across the street from our foster home placement in a small community outside of Birmingham.
I’ve come to realize that sometimes pain is a gift, that sadness and even suffering can be a positive if they make us stronger or help us grow. Our awful, sorrowful hurt can also be an instrument of healing.
“What this pandemic did is sort of show me how we need to get our priorities in order,” said Pastor LT Mabry of St. Paul MB Church. “From here on out, my priorities will be to serve the people … We have got to meet the needs of our communities whatever it be.”
Churches around the country are wrestling with the issue of how to re-engage regular churchgoers whose attendance has trailed off during the pandemic. In September, LifeWay Research found most pastors said their congregation had less than 70 percent of its pre-COVID crowds.
As Ability Tree works to meet a need in the community, the JBU student body is doing what it can to meet the needs of the organization. Through classroom assignments, volunteer opportunities and outreach ministries, John Brown University is seeking to engage with the community that surrounds it.
To choose right, we must learn to be obedient to God, which will give us an appetite for being good. This kind of obedience will create a radical change in our relationships, so that our quality of life will improve.
My listeners peppered me with questions, and we discussed them one by one. Most often I asked them a question in return, and they found themselves answering their own questions based on what they'd already learned. Sometimes I said, "That will be answered in an upcoming story."