Steve and Robyn Bloem
Summary: No one ever chooses their trials--and no one would ever choose to be assaulted by a mental illness. Trained as a pastor, Steve candidly tells his story of his awful fall into severe depression. Robyn weaves her own story of how Steve's illness impacted her as a wife to a sick loved one, and mother to 4 little ones. Not only was the depression a major battle, but the heartless assaults of Christians who simply could not understand that in this case depression was a physical problem, deprived this family of much needed comfort and support, and greatly added to their pain. Follow Steve and Robyn as they travel this unmarked road of mental illness, fighting the negative stigma, often travelling alone, seeking support and finding little. Today Steve and Robyn are a voice for the mentally ill. They spend their time counselling the hopeless, as well as helping and advocating for those who cannot speak for themselves. They seek to inform the church about the truth behind mental illness. Learn how we as a church can be a more effective help to sufferers. Learn the symptoms and get comfortable with the terminology. It's time that we become the heart and hands of Christ and bring compassion to these suffering Christians. They are in our pews. They are the walking wounded, suffering in silence and shame. Mental illness begs for community. Let's offer the mentally ill that safe haven.
Personal Thoughts: I'm thankful the Bloem's wrote this book. There is a lot of content held with in these pages. I appreciate the vulnerability that is portrayed in this book. How will Christians get the conversation going if someone doesn't start? Steve is candid when he talks about his illness. He talks about his tears, his hopelessness, suicide, his quest for help through doctors, medication and even the controversial treatment of E.C.T. There's a lot packed into this book! It is very readable. Agonizingly truthful. I hope it brings a much needed perspective to the church. The chapter on suicide is excellent. I'm glad the authors put it near the beginning of the book. Chapter 8 did a great job in bringing encouragements and helpful advice to husbands and wives on how to biblically deal with a spouse who struggles with mental illness. Also, the chapter on the history of psychiatry is fascinating! I truly hope we can make our churches a sanctuary for the bruised.
Quote: The church that becomes the empathetic community that God demands offers a wonderful refuge for those with broken minds. Research has shown that a lack of social support is devastating to those who have a depressive illness, as it is to those who are under heightened life stress. Yet in the case of mental illness, behavior can push social support away...
God designed the family and church, and to a lesser extent government, to be support systems. Family and church provide foundational support. But sometimes the family cannot provide the support needed. Then the church must shoulder the need, as it did with the widows of Acts 6. One of the hardest but most necessary calls on the church of Jesus Christ is to step up and be par of the social support system of the mentally ill. --pg.34