Rain or shine, we walk together
Saturday, May 20, was a terribly cold and rainy day as our team gathered for the Sioux Falls NAMI Walk, benefitting the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Despite the weather, 12 First Lutheran participants helped raise $1,748 for this organization which provides services to people affected by mental illness and their families. I was so proud of our team’s effort as we huddled together under the shelter at Sertoma Park, there with others to display our support for NAMI and those affected by mental illness.
Those who struggle with mental illness are in need of others to “walk alongside” them on the road to wellness, for getting the right help for mental illness is often difficult. The road to health and wholeness often includes unexpected obstacles, like finding the right doctor or counselor, obtaining the correct diagnosis, identifying the right coping strategies, and so forth. Sometimes what worked in one part of the journey no longer works at another juncture. Sometimes the sun is shining and we feel great, other times, the skies are gray and we feel so cold and alone. That is why it is so important to not walk the path alone, so we can press on when the journey becomes difficult.
If you suffer from mental illness, I hope you can trust and believe that you’re not alone. Jesus Christ never, ever shied away from those who suffered disease of mind, body, or spirit. In the flesh, he was there – graciously granting forgiveness of sin, the peace of God, and his gifts of healing to those in need. His gracious actions also removed stigma from the affected person, as they were reconnected with their community.
This same Lord has also given his Spirit to the church, so that you can also walk with God’s people during every time of need – in sickness and in health! If you are thinking about getting help for something that might be diagnosed as mental illness, please reach out to someone who can walk alongside you as you seek the right kind of help. Friends and family members are great places to start, but so is the Sioux Falls chapter of NAMI with is programs (visit namisiouxfalls.org for more information). The pastors and parish nurse of First Lutheran Church are also here to help you get connected to caring professionals. Finally, if you love someone who lives with mental illness (or might need to seek help), please remember how much power exists in caring words, compassionate deeds, patience, and forgiveness where it is needed.
It’s a blessing to walk alongside with you all in this community of faith, rain or shine. Together in this walk by faith, let us follow our Lord!
NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in communities nationwide as part of the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization. NAMI offers help and hope, improves lives, takes a stand and educates families and those living with mental illness.
NAMI South Dakota addresses the mental illness needs of our community, replaces stigma with understanding and helps thousands of families and individuals each year. Learn more...