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Posts Tagged ‘#iamnotalone’

It is socially acceptable in our world to talk about supporting those with mental health issues. Equally we talk about supporting those who struggle and suffer with chronic physical health issues. There are many similarities in both.

Those who have physical illness that is with that person for years on end, often (if not always) also experiences pressures on their mental health. How can it not? For physical pain can exhaust, wear out and depress the one who sees no end to it.

When we read the words of Job, in the midst of his losses and sufferings, as he is questioning his very birth, his life, we can see how the physical losses and pains have affected his mental health :

” … sighing has become my daily food;
my groans pour out like water.
What I feared has come upon me;
what I dreaded has happened to me.
I have no peace, no quietness;
I have no rest, but only turmoil”

Job 3:24-26

Here’s the thing about chronic illness and mental health … it doesn’t matter how much social media attention we give to such suffering, when the rubber hits the road, both are hard to watch, hard to be consistent in care, hard to stand by … and yet support. And the reason it is so hard is because both chronic and mental health issues carry with them a unifying characteristic … pain that others cannot alleviate.

So, how do we support those with chronic health issues?

As one who is in such a position of standing by, I am looking for answers too. For there is often little that we can do to make things better, no amount of there, there will ease the pain, no special Bible verse or prayer or measure of faith that will do what we most want to do …

to erase the pain and suffering.

There is, in my opinion, only one thing that we can do, only one thing in our power. It is the most difficult task. The one that often seems fruitless. Yet, it is the one modelled by Christ himself.

Be there.

Be present with the one who is suffering.

Stay near, while others turn their backs, leave …

This is such a difficult thing to do, for the only thing we can truly offer is our presence. In this we are reminding the one who suffers that they are not alone, that they are still valuable, worthy.

In just simply being there, we are the hands and feet of God. We are being the vessels through which God can be with them in their wilderness journey.

Moses words, to the Israelites, speaks to the work of our being there, not just for, but with those who suffer chronic physical illness and the mental health stresses that can accompany such agony :

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you He will not fail you or forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

I have to say to be there, the mire can feel like quicksand at times, for you can begin to wear their pain, weakening your own mental health. This is why we have to ensure that we, as supporters, as advocates need to hold close to God. To stay connected to Him in prayer, to remember that we cannot be a support unless we are upheld by a stronger force.

Our job is to remind those who suffer that they are not alone.

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I always get a bit nervous when I get a notification for a comment on a blog post.

Could someone have noticed the horrible grammar? the run-on sentences? a spell correct that resulted in a risqué statement? maybe I offended their political, religious or dietary views? or, maybe it will be a comment from someone who knows me, and they are calling me a hypocrite?

Most of the time, though,  the comment goes like this:

“I so needed that today” or “that is exactly what I am dealing with right now”

These comments are always the most precious to me, for they remind me, over and over, that

I am not alone.

For I can only write from the place of experience, having been there. I can only be sincere, if I have sincerely had the same thoughts, fears and wishes that I write about.

To discover that we share a life of experiences, thoughts and feelings that is parallel to another oxygen-breathy, fleshly human being is to find kinship, commonality, friendship that is soul-deep.

May we continue to experience the birth of friendships from that which we share. So, don’t forget to share your joys and sorrows, strengths and weaknesses, with those around you … you might just find that you are not alone.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”
Romans 12:15

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