(June 22, 2007)

Things have come together. I no longer feel so dizzy and stressed. And I’m sure it’s all because we had a Living Room meeting this afternoon. How therapeutic that group is for me, even if I am the leader – probably because I am the leader! I get so much out of doing this work. The feeling of joy and peace I have after meetings never ceases to amaze me.

In my small sharing group today the members talked about a lot of pain. It was intense. We felt for each other. There were tears. But at the end of the meeting we prayed and gave it all to God. I went home feeling at peace. I hope the others sensed that peace as well.

That’s the beauty of faith-based support. Not only do we support each other, God is there with us. God is part of the picture. We talk about our faith and we talk about our doubts, but we all accept each other – wherever we are. No one judges. At Living Room we can be real with each other and express our joys and pains. This open sharing is healing.

I am excited about having finished the manual to help other Living Rooms get started. I know it will be a powerful tool, helping other churches see the value of such a group and showing them how to set one up. Forming a Living Room group gives churches an opportunity to respond to Christ’s call to love and help people in need, people who are all too often shunned in the community. Having such a group in the church is a good way to help build understanding within its congregation. It will help make mental illness a more acceptable topic of conversation, reducing the stigma that exists.

My next job will be to write a manual on how to be a Living Room facilitator. And after that, a booklet of sample devotionals to use at meetings.