Hidden Disabilities

In Their Own Words: Church Support and Mental Illness

In Their Own Words: Church Support and Mental Illness

Shortly before Dr. Grcevich’s book Mental Health and the Church was published, we asked our readers to share their experiences, both good and bad, about mental health needs and church support. We continue to get responses, and want to share a few that we have received since we made our initial request, for the insight that churches and ministries can glean from the experiences of others.

Disability and the Protestant Reformation

Disability and the Protestant Reformation

Disability is often at odds with our plans. But it was disability that first landed Paul in Galatia. The passionate language about justification by faith and not works of the law, so finely conveyed in this epistle to the Galatians, flows from a relational context colored by disability.

Five Stages of Spiritual Growth in Mental Illness

Five Stages of Spiritual Growth in Mental Illness

I’d never wish the darkness of mental illness on anyone, but if it wasn’t for anorexia, bulimia, anxiety and depression, I don’t know if I would be a Christian today. There seems to be a pattern common to many Christ-followers who also live with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc. Here’s how I now characterize the five stages in my relationship with Christ, and the spiritual growth He worked through each stage to the next.

When Your Emotional Tank Is Empty

When Your Emotional Tank Is Empty

I felt ashamed. There was so much to do last night, and there was no time to waste. I didn’t have time to run out of gas. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I keep going? Then the epiphany: there is nothing wrong with a car that runs out of gas. The problem is being out of gas.

Get Rid of Your Camouflage

Get Rid of Your Camouflage

No one wants to think of themselves or their family as dysfunctional. And the mental image associated with the term special needs most definitely does not fit. Special needs seems like a suit that was tailored for someone else. But there are no other health conditions for which there are such lengthy delays in diagnosis and treatment solely because of denial. Ditching the camouflage that covers your minimized mental illness might be the best wardrobe decision you ever make.

The Remarkable Strength of Persons with Mental Illness

The Remarkable Strength of Persons with Mental Illness

Whenever a group or congregation is talking about mental illness, there is a tendency to want to help the helpless. We are the powerful ones who can make a difference. As a result of my years of counseling, I saw myself as weak. But over the last year or so, the language I use about my ability has changed. I am no longer weak. I am resilient, remarkably resilient.

Is Mental Health Ministry Too Inefficient for Your Church?

Is Mental Health Ministry Too Inefficient for Your Church?

When I think about the scripture that exhorts Christ-followers to number our days correctly, I kind of get the meaning backwards. I think about things from a natural human perspective, when what I really need is God’s perspective. The verse isn’t so much about the volume of what I accomplish, but the quality and the purposefulness of what I do. It’s also what I let ministry do to change me. Without anyone reminding me, do I actually see the personal dignity of every person?

Loving One Another for the Long Haul

Loving One Another for the Long Haul

Two of the most important aspects of doing ministry for and with the disability community are learning how to create long term reciprocal relationships, and choosing to understand the world through the lens of the disability community.

Conduct Yourself in Truth and Love, Even Behind Closed Doors

Conduct Yourself in Truth and Love, Even Behind Closed Doors

What do you think happens to a teenager when one of the main authority figures in his life lets him know in no uncertain terms, without words, that he doesn’t matter to your church environment? God offers us all incredible love and grace, but as His followers we have the responsibility to love others with both truth and grace, even when we don’t understand what we’re seeing.

How Many Children with Disabilities Should I Expect at a Church My Size?

How Many Children with Disabilities Should I Expect at a Church My Size?

How many children with disabilities should your church be serving? It’s a good question, and there are a few factors that go into determining what the number could be.