Have you heard “This Joy” by the Resistance Revival Chorus? “This joy that I have…the world didn’t give it to me…the world didn’t give it and the world can’t take it away.”
It sure can feel like the world steals our joy, right? But deep down inside, it’s there. It just gets buried sometimes.
In 2016, I heard that the United Methodist Church in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo was taking a stand. They were taking a stand against the stigma that women felt among their families and communities after they had been sexually assaulted. The church said, “No more!” The church was going to set right the culture around them. They were going to take a stand with the women and let everyone know that they should be loved by one another just as they are loved by God who loves us every last one of us.
When I heard this, I decided to volunteer to help raise the money to build a women’s center there. Named after my bishop’s wife, Lynn McAlilly. the Mama Lynn Center has become a beacon of light not only in DR Congo, but in so many places throughout the world. As I wrote about my experience of helping them help others my in other locations reached out to say that they needed a Center like that too. They were experiencing the similar trauma all around them. I knew that I did not have it in me to build buildings for the rest of my life. I began praying. I began having a vision.
We don’t necessarily need more buildings. We need people inside the buildings we already have to be be healed and share that healing with others. What if every house of prayer throughout the world was turned inside out? What if every house of prayer became a beacon of light to the communities around them? I began praying for a mental health model that could be used by people of faith so we can stand in the gap created by a lack of mental health services. We can stand in the gap and let people know they are loved deeply just as much as anyone of us is loved by God.
These last five years have uncovered a lot of scabs in society, right? Festering wounds lying beneath the surface. The wounds caused by white supremacy. The wounds of violence against women. The wounds of homophobia. We are not yet transformed. In a country that often touts its Christianity, where can we see Christ?
Praying for Help to Come
In my two years of praying for a mental health model that could be used by non-professionals, I almost gave up. At the end of last year, I thought that since nothing had come my way even though I had reached out, I thought maybe I should just let it go. Maybe I wasn’t the one to help people help others.
But then Monday came. The first Monday in January and I finally had a reply from someone who has a program that can be used in houses of prayer everywhere. All it takes is one committed person in each house to lead a peer support group or a 15-week program that could be free to those in the community. All it takes is one person infused with the Spirit of God knowing that we aren’t meant to lead half-lives and that life can be better for all.
Triumph Over Trauma Training
Through Harper Hill Global, I’m offering this training on October 14 – 16. It’s online and you can either come as an individual, or meet with a group of others in your church, mosque, synagogue or temple.
I’m tired of seeing people live half lives. I’m tired of people thinking that they are superior than others. I’m tired of not seeing the church live its fullest expression of God‘s love in the world. I’m tired and I know you are too. We can do this together. The people who will be training us are using these models in prisons. Why do people have to wait until they get to prison to experience healing?
God’s love does some powerful things. And we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. That strength rise up from the ashes left behind by life’s traumas. We can shine from our deepest light. The light of God within us!
“The world can’t give it and the world can’t take it away.” Amen.
To learn more, go to https://harperhill.global.