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faith Mental Health The Struggle With Church

Pastor: Not Sure How to Respond to Suffering? Start Here.

I’m not a theologian, my expertise comes only from personal suffering (as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and a suicide attempt). But it seems to me that theology—at least the Western version of evangelical Christianity I’ve been steeped in—is as much about our views of self as it is our study of God. To […]

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Church and Mental Illness: How to Stop Failing People

“When we can let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness—the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging.” —Brené BrownIn recent years, several well-known Christian leaders have died by apparent suicide: Amy Bleuel, Andrew Stoecklein, […]

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PODCAST: My Church Isn’t Safe. What Can I Do?

In episode 41 of Catching Your Breath: The Podcast, Steve Austin walks through the Bible with a look at church safety, plus a discussion on the characteristics of a safe church leader. This episode also includes stories and advice from real-life people who have been wounded by the church.Support the show via Patreon.Is your church […]

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How Devastating Loss Led to Ultimate Freedom

It was Thanksgiving morning, and I was standing in the shower, escaping for a moment into a world of hot water and steam. My morning shower had become my last refuge.Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay​Devastating Loss. Ultimate Freedom.I was no stranger to loss. In fact, loss seemed to be a fairly constant companion in […]

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faith guest post My Very Worst Day (series) Religious Recovery The Struggle With Church

Terminated by the Church: My Very Worst Day

“Besides, I shall perhaps obtain actual relief from writing. Today, for instance, I am particularly oppressed by one memory of a distant past. It came back vividly to my mind a few days ago, and has remained haunting me like an annoying tune that one cannot get rid of. And yet I must get rid […]

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God’s Embrace in the Midst of Desperation

I’ve just returned from a truly magical time on the West Coast. On Sunday 12/15, I had the distinct pleasure of speaking at my friend Marc’s church, Bridge City Church in Milwaukie, Oregon. This is the text from that sermon. -Steve Desperate for Hope ‘Oh God.’ Five letters. Two words. One exhale. Full stop. ‘Oh […]

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faith Mental Health Recovery from a Suicid...

4 Ways Your Church Should Look More Like a Psych Ward

​Christians with mental illness are desperate for authenticity. So how do we facilitate honesty in church? It could start by having a prayer box specifically for mental health concerns, and continue through messages from the pulpit.  One of the missions of the church is to help people grow. Our journey toward wholeness requires permission to be […]

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It’s Time for the Church to Confront Mental Health (via USA Today)

​After the suicide Monday of Jarrid Wilson, a well-known pastor in the evangelical community, Christian leaders across the country are grappling with how to address and help believers struggling with depression and anxiety – including when those struggling are the ones leading the church.Jarrid Wilson, an associate pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship who founded the […]

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Anxiety Depression faith Mental Health

Suicide Prevention for Pastors

With Pastor Jarrid Wilson’s death by suicide, questions and comments have flooded my email and social media inboxes. Here’s one example, “I’m scared. Because there are people that I love who struggle with thoughts of suicide, and I don’t know what sets them apart from the Jarrid’s and the Andrew [Stoecklein]’s and the Amy [Bleuel]’s.” […]

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Anxiety Depression faith guest post Mental Health Religious Recovery self-esteem The Struggle With Church

Guest Blog – Worthy and Unashamed: Facing Mental Health Stigma in the Church Head-On

Unworthy.  It’s a word that I often use to describe myself….in my own head.  You see, I’m a Christian who has mental health issues. I have struggled with panic attacks, anxiety and depression for over 20 years. I’m also a licensed mental health counselor, college professor, worship leader, entrepreneur, wife, and mom.  If you were […]