From my journal, written in 2006, as the plans for Living Room were unfolding:

My disorder had made a regular job impossible for me. I had never dreamed of doing anything like forming such a group. I had never heard of faith-based support groups addressing mental health problems. This was a brand-new thing I was undertaking. Where do I start?

I became a pioneer, travelling unknown territory with God my only guide.

There were times I doubted myself. “Who am I anyway doing something this big?”

From 1993 I’d been fighting the stigma of mental illness, first addressing a Christian audience in the year 2000. Now I would be giving direct help to those with such illnesses. I would be giving spiritual care to people who had for too long been ignored by the Church. My work was expanding. No longer was I only speaking about them, I was working for them.

But it was a huge task for a person who herself was living with mental illness. Anxiety was no stranger as I prepared. How I needed God!

I wrote TAKE MY LIFE twelve years after I founded Living Room  as I reflected back on how I had surrendered myself to God when I took up the work of starting faith-based support groups. The first group started at Brentwood Park Alliance Church in September 2006. Another group started a month later at New Life Community Church.  I thank New Life for being my refuge at a time when I badly needed acceptance and compassion.  They believed me and the source of the pain I was experiencing when few others would.


Written in September 2018

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Romans 12:1

Strange. Only yesterday I emailed one of our worship leaders with a wish to sing a favorite hymn. It was the first time I’d done anything like that. And here—the very next day—I read the first few lines of that very hymn, written in my journal from 2006 at a time when my Living Room ministry was just beginning. The first couple of lines of Take my Life, written by Frances R. Havergal, always inspired me:

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

As I sing these words I find myself opening my heart, surrendering my all to God, committing myself to the challenging work he calls me to. Wanting to sacrifice myself for it. I did in 2006 as I was starting Living Room, and I do today.

Makes me wonder: Is this a message God particularly wants me to hear at this time, twelve years later? Is this what he wants me to pass on to you?

In 2006, I was a healthier person. But life changes as we get older. We slow down. We don’t have as much energy. Considering this, is it even possible to give ourselves as fully to God as we did when we were younger?

But I believe that whether we are young or old, strong or feeble, whole or disabled, it’s always possible for us to dedicate ourselves to God’s work. We don’t have to have bundles of energy. There are always ways in which we can give—with our hands, our feet, our mouth. Though our “all” might not be as much as it once was, we still have a degree of “all” available to us. (Have I lost you here?)

Probably the greatest ability that remains for us is our ability to pray. Ask God to open your heart and fill it with his love. Ask him to help you share that love with others. Let others see what that love looks like—what God looks like. Show kindness, even when kindness is not returned. In this way you can give of yourself to others on God’s behalf.

These are prayers God will always answer. These are things we can still do, even in the face of poor health or lack of energy.

Devoting ourselves to God’s work is one of the most meaningful, fulfilling things we can do. As we reach out we’ll see there is a lot more to life than we thought we had within ourselves.

Take my life Lord, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord to Thee.