Sometime after leaving Cliff Avenue I found Brentwood Park Alliance Church (BPAC). It was a big change from the United Church. The sermons were stronger and started to make a difference in my life. The Bible also spoke to me in a greater way than it had before. As a result, my walk with God took on a deeper dimension.  I adopted BPAC as my new church family.

The pastor’s sister invited me to her ladies’ Bible study. I jumped at the chance. The Bible study group at my previous church had always been an important part of my spiritual life and I longed to continue that kind of fellowship at my new church. I valued those mornings with the BPAC group and how they brought home what our life with Jesus could be. Gathering with the others under motherly leadership, the meetings became like home to me.

One lesson I’ll never forget was the pastor’s teaching to live for something greater than ourselves. Today, years later, the message lives on in my heart. Under his mentorship I grew in many ways. I learned how to be a better follower of Christ. I learned obedience. For years the child in me learned, as at her father’s knees. I learned well, though eventually I grew up, bringing a wisdom of my own to my life and ministry.

At BPAC, with the pastor’s support, I created the Living Room peer support ministry and ran a group in the church basement for nine years. Living Room spread to other churches and is now part of Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries. The work changed my life, as well as the lives of many others living with mental health issues. Those were happy years.

Living Room was happiness.
Helping others was happiness.
Studying God’s Word was happiness.
Writing to encourage others was happiness.

Later I was to go through some very stressful times, as a result developing BPD, an illness that was new to me. But throughout the suffering, I clung to God in the way I had learned and I did not stop writing my weekly devotionals.

As always happens when we suffer in Christ’s company, God made a different person out of me. Although BPD is difficult to live with, I came to see that it could be considered a gift, as bipolar had been for me in the past. I learned what it means to those who suffer like me and personal experience had shown me the great evils of the stigma the world has attached to it.

Today God has given me new work to do. I have joined with him to help understanding about BPD grow. Once more I’m living for something greater than myself. Amazing how that has strengthened me and improved my mental health! Pain and worries take a second seat to what’s most important – serving God. I’m reminded of how I felt when I founded Living Room. Those same feelings have come back. My life is as meaningful as it was back then.

A couple of years ago, I could see that the time had come to take the next leg of my journey. God helped me find New Life Community Church, a place where I now find happiness.