As most of you who read here know, I’m working on behalf of individuals who live with mental health challenges. I’m trying to help those who don’t understand what it’s like to live with stigma, to better understand how they could help heal the pain caused by stigma. It must be stated that it’s extremely difficult for people without such challenges to understand. But I try.

The loss of Living Room in 2018 has meant that Christians are learning  “about” what mental health challenges are, but the voices of those who experience it have disappeared, along with their groups. We are talked “about,” as though we’re “victims,” set apart from the “well” people who we are told are being equipped to support us.

At Living Room we were supported by our peers, all of whom had lived experience. We came to realize that faith in God could help us overcome our challenges. Within our groups we had no one looking down on us or talking “about” us. Through Jesus and his love, we were able to encourage each other to be more confident. We learned that we could be “victors,” despite our challenges.

Below is the kind of message we received at Living Room meetings. It built confidence and an understanding that we are real people, just like everyone else.



November 2018


…to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9,10b


As you look at the title of this piece you might ask, “Living victoriously? With all the things I have wrong with me? With all that has happened in my life?”

God’s answer? “Yes. I don’t make victims. I only make victors. And you can be a victor. Trust me and see.”

The apostle Paul has a good message for us in the Scripture above. Nobody knows exactly what he meant when he talked about the “thorn” in his flesh, but it’s believed to have been some kind of physical problem that never left him till the day he died. He prayed three times for healing. The answer he received was that all he needed was God’s grace. In his weakness—his disability—God’s power would do its best work.

We are all broken somehow. No one is excluded. Each of us has some kind of disability, illness, or difficulty. But God can help us have victory over them. He can help us reach our potential in a way we might not even imagine. What Paul said holds true for our lives as well. We too can say, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Sometimes God can even accomplish greater things through our disability than if we were perfectly healthy. When we trust him, gathering strength and courage through his presence, God can work to bring victory to our lives.

What can you do to make the most of what you have? What can you give? What fulfills you?

Don’t define yourself by your difficulties. Don’t label yourself with a certain disease or disorder and use that to make excuses for what you can’t do. You don’t have to be a victim to your disability.

Helen Keller is a powerful example for us. Despite being both blind and deaf she lived a long and productive life as an author and activist. She said, “Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but do not let them master you. Let them teach you patience, sweetness, insight.”

Do you have limitations? Ask the Lord to be with you as you work within them. Like Paul, and like Helen Keller, you too can be a victor. God says, “Trust me and see.”