During the years at my previous church, I had been a well-regarded leader. In the greater community I was considered a pioneer, bringing attention to the needs of people with mental illness to churches. So what happened?

During my time at this church, I gave my all to serving God. I…

  • wrote my second full-length book, building mental health awareness among Christians.
  • brought mental health awareness to churches.
  • founded the Living Room ministry – a group of my own and others.
  • led a large support group of my own for nine years.
  • sent weekly messages to ca 300 readers, giving encouragement and inspiration when they were unable to come to a group.
  • spent time with individuals, supporting them one on one.
  • wrote articles about mental health from a faith perspective for secular and Christian newspapers and journals.

And so, these are my questions: Considering the many ways I served God, why did these things happen to me soon after I retired from my group? What did I do wrong?

  • Why was I mistreated?
  • Why was I ostracized socially?
  • Why was I the only person excluded from a study group I badly needed?
  • Why was I betrayed by friends with whom I’d at one time been close?
  • Why was I shown disrespect when the Living Room philosophy of peer leadership was altered? It hurt not to be conferred with. It was my creation.
  • Why was I ignored when I had key questions about theological issues?

Maybe the big questions should be:

  • Why did they try to push me from the church?

It was bewildering to be treated the way I was when I followed everything the church was teaching. When I was doing all I could to serve God.

My psychiatrist – on seeing the emotional damage caused – called it a tragedy. My story won’t be forgotten. It will help others learn how those who are discriminated against suffer.

Why am I not letting go of this? It’s not solely personal bitterness, although that’s part of it. The pain is not as great as it was.  But I don’t think I’ll ever overcome anger about how injustice – of which this is a prime example – is affecting lives like mine. I will use what I’ve learned from my experience to help others.

marja