How are you all doing? Are you being encouraged by others as well as giving it out?
Sometimes there are special situations in our lives where we need more encouragement than normal. We need to hear from people that actually understand what we've gone through. People can be empathetic, but it's MORE encouraging when you share your problem with someone who really understands because they have experienced something similar.
As some of you know, I've been in ministry in the past and have found myself in some really awful organizations and church situations that left a sad impact on my family. Lately I've found encouragement in a group of people on a blog. We share our tales of woe and let's just say that truth is stranger than fiction in most cases! I am encouraged by the strength of the human spirit! Sharing stories let's me know that I'm not all alone in the challenges that I have faced and that others have come to some of the same conclusions in life that I have. There is strength in grace and love and acceptance.
So here's my soul food challenge for you today. If you are struggling with a very particular issue, find some comfort in a group of people either in the form of a physical support group or internet support group. Locate a safe place to share your story. Sometimes to move on, we need deeper healing. Healing takes time and needs to go through it's process.
There are support groups for everything these days. Death, divorce, disease, mental health issues, addictions, pretty much anything a person can encounter. Avail yourself of the help if you need it! It's good for the soul!
If you were once in ministry but were forced out of your congregation, or if you've been a victim of spiritual abuse or if you've been part of a charismatic movement that promised way more than it was able to fulfill or if you've been excluded from ministry due to the fact that you are a woman and have been made to feel inferior as such or if you've been an unwitting member of a "cult" or an authoritarian church that tried to control you, or if you've been badly burned by your church friends or the leadership and are really struggling with it, or if have questions in matters of your faith there is a great new support group for you to get involved in. For a small fee of $7.00 a month, you can meet online with others who really understand your situation. Beautiful friendships are being formed and healing is occurring there. http://www.davidhayward.ca