Editor’s Note: Last Wednesday, October 10th was World Mental Health Day. It seems it is a good time to broach the subject of how we as the Church can support true Mental Health. We are deeply grateful to Dr. Carisa Wilsie for her role in helping the Church better care for the hurting, which often includes caring for one another.
As he sat there thinking about all that had happened to him in his past – the physical abuse, the neglect, the dysfunctional family relationships – I could see it in his eyes. Hope. It hadn’t been there before. He was only a teenager, but had lived enough for multiple lifetimes. As we worked through issues from his past in treatment, I slowly saw the change in his eyes. That’s why mental health treatment is so important. It changes a person.
A CALLING TO MENTAL HEALTH
I decided in high school that I wanted to be a counselor after I felt a clear calling on my life to serve those who were struggling the most. It didn’t take me long to decide on focusing on child abuse and neglect. I often get asked by people how I work with children who have been maltreated, as others think it is gut wrenching work. I know without a doubt that God created me to do this work and in that He has always given me a way to see the hope. People are resilient.
When I am able to intersect mental health with God, that is the sweet spot of seeing the hope. Scripture tells us this:
“In hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.” - Romans 8:24-26
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” - 2 Corinthians 12:9
When we are at our weakest, that is when we truly let the Spirit work in our lives. At those times in my life when I questioned God’s call on my life, the Spirit has interceded for me and given me a way to express to God my struggles.
SUPPORTING MENTAL HEALTH AS A CHURCH
We can (and should) support strong mental health as a church. We can lift one another up. We can support efforts others are making to better the life of someone struggling with mental health issues. We can encourage that friend to seek out a professional counselor. We can be there ready to celebrate when that hope comes back into their eyes. We can point them to the ultimate Counselor and Physician – God himself. When I live out God’s calling on my life, I’m able to do all of these things. When I allow doubt and fear to creep in, I have to be brought back to the feet of Jesus.
“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” - 2 Timothy 1:7
“Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” - Galatians 6:2
He has given us Hope and we can share this with others. I promise it changes a person as I have seen it happen.
How does your calling in life help you to see hope in others?
Meet the Author!
Carisa Wilsie is a licensed psychologist and orphan care advocate. She lives life with many bright and compassionate people that hold her up. She is a wife and mother to three who were born out of her heart through adoption. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower and strives everyday to live out her unique calling. Thoughts shared here are based out of personal opinion and experience.