Mr. Bill and Miz Mona

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Group hug

Miss Mona sez:

Had the first meeting of the new women's faith-based peer support group I am facilitating this morning. Bad night last night after a VERY active day on Monday so I was in major pain, did NOT want to get out of bed, thank you very much!

Managed to get up with a little help from my honey, Mr Bill, showered, meds downed and tea-in-hand, I limped my way next door to the church. Nobody there yet, into the Family Room to turn on the "fireplace" a blessed soul donated so the room would warm up above the economical but chilly 50 degrees the thermostat sits at during the week. A little praise music on the cd player and my battered body on the couch (another wonderful donation) to spend a little time in prayer...

What is a peer support group, you ask?

Peer support is when people who are experiencing similar challenges get together to provide mutual support as they continue the process they are in. There can be any number of types of groups- young mothers, home schoolers, people with chronic illness, seniors, substance abusers, organic gardeners...Sharing ideas, information, cups of tea, a little humor- we stand together and our lives are richer because of it. Life is messy and often hard, doing it all alone is a great way to flounder and end up failing. In peer support you find you are not the only one struggling, the only one confused or frustrated when things do not go according to plan.

My group is for those of us dealing with chronic something-or-other with an eye toward prayer, the Bible and restoration. 20plus years of fibromyalgia, chronic depression, a husband in chronic pain and the struggle to make sense of the process are my particular focal points in this group. Others will come with their own particular burdens they could use a little help with. Two ladies came today, one is new to the peer support concept and the other has been in it for a few years. Total confidentiality is a key concept in the process, no gossipy "sharing" with someone outside the group, not even your very bestest friend forever!
My own stuff is mine to spread around as I see fit but by no means do I share the lives and struggles of my fellow members.


It can be hard to be a Christian and have a chronic struggle with disease or depression. Helpful people advise me to pray more or repent of the hidden sin in my life."Think positive", they'll say, or "Just trust God!"
When I first came back from my personal pigpen (see the Prodigal story in Luke 15:11), there was very little teaching in churches about how to get the messes cleaned up that my behaviors had made. I was a drunk, a druggie, addicted to what my eldest calls "frivolous sex', and prone to taking off down the highway when things got complicated. Fear, depression, anxiety. A toddler daughter and a screwed-up marriage. Mostly I was treated like I was all better now and things would be fine since I was back in the sheepfold. That was not really how things went, though, surprise, surprise. I needed a whole lot of help and all that was available was a lot of smiley, well-meaning but clueless folks and a sense of somehow being a failure because I did not feel as happy as they all seemed to be. Rural Alaska was a little scarce in the resource department when it came to my collection of garbage.

Tomorrow I will talk a bit about the process God took me through from there to here, more than thirty years in the process.

May the God who spoke to the wind and the waves also bring to you the peace and stillness He brought to them!

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