Hello, and welcome to 2021!
There is something to be said for the fresh start a new year provides—an opportunity to look back and reflect on where God showed up, lessons He may have taught, things to be grateful for, and an opportunity to look ahead to what the new year might hold, asking God for direction, thinking about new possibilities, perhaps setting a goal or two.
If you’re like me, you are bringing some of the challenges of the old year into the new one. I have a family member who lives with anxiety and depression. And one of my ongoing challenges is how to love this person well, how to support them in becoming all God created them to be. The Bible tells us to:
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
The Supporting Loved Ones with Mental Illness group at NCBC helps me to do this. This group has been meeting monthly at NCBC for almost three years.
One regular group member shared:
”The Supporting Loved Ones with Mental Illness group has been a lifeline for me. It reassures me that others have similar issues, frustrations, highs and lows with their loved ones who struggle with mental illness. It reminds me that I am “not in charge of fixing” but rather supporting, listening, learning, and just being there for the one I care for. And it is so beneficial to be able to hear how others are coming alongside their loved ones. We learn from each other, cry with each other, and pray for each other. We can hang in there together.”
Another group member shared:
“I was weary carrying the burdens of sadness, sleeplessness, and hopelessness that I felt after a complete breakdown of my relationship with my daughter who has clinical depression and anxiety. I did not know when, how, or if our relationship would ever be restored. What I did know was that this burden was just too heavy for me to carry alone. God led me to this group. They helped me bear the sadness of separation from my daughter, giving me insights and understanding into her illness. They offered lessons from their own situations. At each meeting, we lay our burdens down for a little while by sharing them. Then refreshed and strengthened, we are better able to pick them up again, equipped with encouragement and, maybe, new insights into loving our loved ones well. I praise God for this group, a place where the 'law of Christ' - love - is fulfilled.”
Has God placed someone in your life, a family member or friend perhaps, who lives with a mental illness? If so, as 2021 begins, I’d like to invite you to come journey with us. We meet on the second Thursday of each month from 6:00-7:30 PM in Room 209 at New Covenant Bible Church.
A Fellow Burden Bearer
This post is part of a recurring blog series contributed by members of the Supporting Loved Ones with Mental Illness group that meets monthly at New Covenant Bible Church, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. All are welcome. For more information, please reach out to our Care Ministry Team at 319-395-0021.