[Some men] said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 

Nehemiah 1:3-4


I often feel like Nehemiah when I remember what Living Room used to be and how it was abandoned. On the eve of celebrating my new book I’m once more filled with tears.

I’m overwhelmed by the damage that occurred to the ministry God had at one time built that was good—that which had very much been from him and for him.

The Living Room peer support ministry was by all intents and purposes, abandoned by people who had no idea of the seriousness of that act. They had no idea of what they were in effect doing—what they were in effect saying—to people living with mental health issues.

At Living Room we had met as victors, together drawing from God’s well of love, finding healing there, as we do today via the emails that go out on Monday and Thursday mornings.

Yet under the teachings of a Christian organization, we are portrayed as victims, needing the care of those who are well, those who know better than we do, those who only know how to talk about mental health issues.

The voices of those who know the pain of living with stigma and discrimination, are not heard. Not the way they were heard at one time when Living Room was young and still had a voice. Today there is less true understanding of what it means to be us.

Peer support is no longer there in the way it once was for people with lived experience. And yet, if we want to follow Christ’s example in how he treated the sick with care and dignity; in how he ate with them as a brother would; in how he brought healing with his compassion and love—should we not do the same?

It makes me wonder if there might not be a way to re-establish such peer support for Christians needing help with their mental health issues. Christians with lived experience need to have their pain heard and understood by their Christian peers.

And I wonder if there might be people who have experienced mental health challenges, but have strength and courage—those who have the energy that organizing such ministry would take.

I wonder if there might not be such dedicated people waiting in the wings—people with the love of Christ in them; people who follow Jesus with heart and soul; people who will take their place among their fellow peers as equals—not standing above the others or thinking they know better.

And what happened to Nehemiah and Jerusalem’s wall?

With the help of laborers with many different gifts, work on Jerusalem’s wall was completed in only fifty-two days. All done with God’s help. God worked through him and his people, using their gifts and labor to accomplish his purposes.

Oh, if you could only help us like that, Lord!