The Church’s Steps Toward Recovery
Question: If the “care taker” of someone (physically or mentally) ill doesn’t “take care” of the “care taker”, then eventually no one will be able to “take care” of the one ill! So how can the Church support, or “take care” of the “caretaker”?
Today we continue asking questions that need answered in order for the Church to make steps towards it own recovery in mental health?
Answer: I was shocked when nine individuals came together to form the Bachman Bipolar Bear Club, a group of friends, personal family, and religious family members, whose top priority was “to get me (the care giver) back to work (after a 5 month leave of absence) to bring sanity and “normalcy” back into my life, and secondly to support my wife through her recovery. With my wife’s illness, not only had she become the “victim” of the disease, but so had I, my children, and all who knew us. We all had been affected by this disease, which directly changed and altered our lives.
The caretaker, me, was experiencing physical, mental, and spiritual burn out, exhaustion. Trying to do it all on my own with no support was beginning to bring tragic results to my health and well-being. Not only did my wife need help, but so did I. Some advised that I now needed “professional help”, but together we were already seeing nine different professional medical doctors (with only me again, the caretaker, being the coordinator integrating all nine different medical voices talking at us) and were forever going to “appointments” as if that was our only social life, filling up my calendar, and, by the way, was sifting me financially.
The Bachman Bipolar Bear Club met formally only once weekly for only one hour, yet that hour became monumental in my well-being, because through them I got advice, literally personal support during crisis, directions when it seemed that I hit nothing but road blocks or became stagnant, stuck in the place I found myself. The group gave me badly needed assurances and encouragement of what I was doing, hope when faced with hopeless situations, and a badly needed hug when all I needed was a physical touch, something my ill wife could not give me while she was in the depths of her abyss.
As you can see from my past blogs that I believe in the five fold ministry (Ephesians 4) of the Church, and as a caregiver I needed someone from the Church to offer me pastoral care, the day to day oversight of my personal walk through all these daily challenges. The walking out of my daily life! I could have used a person with an “evangelistic” point of view to help “birth” or “rebirth” new ideas, strategies, etc. especially when I got stuck and seemed to be in no movement forward. I needed a prophetic word giving me Rhema, living truth in how I can walk out my faith through these trials, rather than receiving only the Logos word, which usually brought judgment, the last thing one needs when working with depression. I needed an apostolic person to help oversee the maelstrom in my life, to calm the storm, to help coordinate the advise me on how to handle the opinions of nine different doctors in different specific medical fields who often contradicted one another. I needed the Five Fold, the Church that I have propagated in over 175 blogs now!
Are we willing, as a Church, to lay down our theological differences and misuderstandings to serve those in need. We spend so much time being divided by our differences, that it hampers our effectiveness as the Church, “one body” as Paul calls it. Are we willing to have new mindsets on how the Church should minister or serve? Are we willing to “equip the saints for the work of service” as the Ephesians 4 commands us to do? As a Church are we willing to develop the five fold, so that we can serve out of our diversity, that are actually our strengths? Oh, I thought I was giving answers (which I am), but look at all the questions that arise! Let’s, as a Church, face these questions so that we can give positive effective answers on how the Church must face mental health.
“What does the Church have to offer the Mental Health field?” is the question we face tomorrow!