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Sharing Our Stories Heals Us: Reading Blessed Union with a Group

Sharing Our Stories Heals Us: Reading Blessed Union with a Group

by Sarah Griffith Lund, author

There’s power in telling our true stories about mental illness. Our stories open passage ways for healing. One of the most powerful, transformative gifts we can offer another human is to listen to their truth. Some truths are harder to speak out loud than others. The shame and stigma surrounding mental illness and mental health challenges makes it a truth about our lives that is hard to share. It can be hard to admit the truth first, to ourselves, and second, to another person.

Blessed Union: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness and Marriage is an invitation for you to create communities of truth telling and healing. Reading Blessed Union together in small groups and inviting people to reflect on the themes of mental health and relationships is an important step we can take to end the stigma and shame. In community, we can listen with compassion, offer care and support. We can remind people that they are not alone and that there is help.

Stigma and shame isolate us and make us feel alone. The beauty and power of breaking the silence is that it builds community. Mental health conditions impact not only individuals, but also families, faith communities, and our society. Creating spaces to talk openly, honestly, and without fear of judgment will help build healthier communities.

Reading Blessed Union together in a small group is a great way to begin the conversation. As we listen to each other’s stories around mental illness, we can be part of the movement for health and wholeness, dismantling the stigma and shame that keeps us silent about the hardships of mental illness and mental health challenges. Blessed Union contains reflection questions, scripture reflections, prayers, mental health resources, and a guided journal. 

Here are two ways to engage Blessed Union in your church or community:

Small Groups

  • Create a small group to meet four times and read two-three chapters per session. Invite participants to use the guided journal ahead of each session to to record their initial reflections.
  • At the first session, begin with a scripture reflection and a minute or two of silent meditation on the passage.
  • Show the Blessed Union Book Trailer. 
  • Begin the discussion time. Elect one leader ahead of time to choose several reflection questions from the chapters for conversation. Remind the group of confidentiality (what is shared in the group, stays in the group) and that no one is required to share more than they are comfortable with. Allow each person to respond, making sure each person has a chance to share.
  • End the group with a prayer from one of the chapters discussed.

Book Study

  • Adopt Blessed Union as a book study for your church and schedule a gathering to discuss the book.
  • Begin the gathering with a prayer from the book, followed by the book trailer.
  • Elect a leader to choose several questions ahead of time that will enable the most sharing. Invite participants to respond and share their own stories around mental illness.
  • End the meeting by reading “A New Vow for Marriage” (p. 129) and a prayer from the book.

Engaging in this holy and hard conversation will bless you and bless your community, bringing you closer together and reminding you of God’s big blessed love.

Order Blessed Union and download the free resources HERE.

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