(February 28, 2008)

In her blog, Nancie, my friend from long ago, talks about the joy CH Spurgeon’s wife, Susannah Thompson, found in her ministry. A semi-invalid, confined to her home, she found something she could do to benefit others – something that benefited herself as well. Please check out her story as told by Nancie on her “Believer’s encouragement blog“.

I’ve often talked about Living Room here, and I will continue to talk much about it. This support group for people with mood disorders which I founded and facilitate is an important part of my life. My experience with this ministry is similar to Susannah Thompson’s experience with her ministry. It brings me great joy and is benefiting others as it benefits me.

At our group we start with lunch, then we have a devotional time. I draw the devotional from my own experience with struggles…and with joy as well. I talk about how God can work in our lives with mood disorder. Most importantly, we have a discussion surrounding this to see how this is true in the lives of the others around the table.

We have been having large numbers out to the meetings lately – twenty-two at the last meeting. So after the devotional time, we split into four smaller groups and have a sharing time. Members then have a chance to talk about how life is going for them. It’s good for them to have a safe place like this to talk and to find out that they’re not alone in their struggles. We end the meeting by praying for each individual.

No matter what I’m going through, I find things I can bring to my devotionals to encourage others. This is God’s gift to me. Through the trials I experience, and by staying close to God, I can find something helpful to pass along.

I often pray that God will fill me with his love and help me share that love with others. And he always answers that prayer. The best and most important thing I do at Living Room is to pass along this compassionate love to others. And what a joy that brings me! After almost every Living Room session I go home feeling great joy. It is an overflowing, but quiet joy. I’ve come to refer to it as holy joy.

Living Room is good for me and I know it’s good for the participants as well. Unfortunately, this month there will be three weeks between meetings. I’ll miss it. There are things I’m struggling with – sadness and anxiety. It would be good if I could have a devotional to pour myself into right now, in the process finding out what I can learn through dealing with it – finding what God has to teach me through this. But maybe I could blog about it instead. Maybe we could have an online Living Room!