Helping Hints

By November 29, 2010 Blog

So you want to help a hurting friend… Remember: You’re the same! ·         We all have different struggles, but we are all sinners in need of rescue You’re not the saviour – Jesus is ·         Beware the temptation to make yourself the savior – keep pointing others back to Him Share the mess… long-term ·         You don’t need a PhD in counselling.  You do need prayer, prayer and more prayer. ·         Extra help may be needed in times of transition, …Read More

Beyond Black and White

By November 29, 2010 Blog

I’ve always viewed life in black and white terms.  All or nothing.  Victory or death. This “right or wrong” approach might work in a maths exam but when applied to people it’s devastating. Given such stringent criteria, how do I assess myself?  Success or failure? If I’m not the best, then I’m nothing.  And if I hit setbacks, I’ll just transfer my energies to another field. If I’m a student, I’ll work harder and longer than anyone else. If I …Read More

Death Becomes Her

By November 13, 2010 Blog

In case we’re in any doubt about the spiritual dimension of the battle with eating disorders, here’s a genuine prayer from a “pro-ana” website, (I haven’t put the link as I think it might be triggering). ‘Pro-ana’ is a term for the promotion of anorexia as a lifestyle choice. Sometimes it’s just called ‘ana’ and personified. (‘Pro-mia’ works the same way, but with bulimia). Dear Ana: I offer you my soul, my heart and my bodily functions. I give you …Read More

Too Messed-Up To Minister?

By November 12, 2010 Blog

I met recently with a gifted, outgoing Christian woman, who is a great blessing to her church, but has also struggled with a range of mental health issues. Despite being heavily involved in church ministry, she is often sidelined and labelled as ‘not quite up to par’. In her experience, the term ‘mental health’ acts as a convenient ‘keep off’ sticker, which enables others to categorise and then dismiss her. We talked about how being given this label has stopped …Read More

What Women Want

By November 12, 2010 Blog

Something I find hard to accept is having needs or desires. This is a common thread in many mental health issues, from depression and self-harm to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and addiction. Somewhere I have learnt that emotions – particularly negative ones – are unacceptable. This can be, but isn’t necessarily, the result of abuse. I may have learnt it from other people – whether directly, (‘Oh dry your eyes, you big girl. Pull yourself together’) or indirectly, (‘Ach, it’ll all …Read More

Women Beware Men?

By November 12, 2010 Blog, identity

We’ve been thinking a bit about identity and femininity – about women watching women and about how we see ourselves. A few years ago, John Berger did a BBC series called ‘Ways of Seeing’, which considered amongst other things,how arts and the media depict men and women in different ways. In this section he’s considering the way in which men see women and how they view themselves. I don’t agree with his argument that feminine identity is constructed purely as …Read More

Women Beware Women?

By November 9, 2010 Blog, identity

So, Heather’s comment has got me thinking about where I get my values and my standards of goodness. Where do I turn to see who I am? What is it that makes it ok to be me? Is it as I look at Christ, the perfect man?  Or as I read about my spiritual ancestors, marching off the pages of Scripture and into throne rooms and lion’s dens and Roman arenas? How about my brothers and sisters in the persecuted …Read More

Good Girl, Party Girl, Tough Girl

By November 8, 2010 Blog

We’ve been thinking a bit about the good girl/bad girl divide and this is something that Dan Allender explores in a fantastic book called ‘The Wounded Heart’.  The book has been written for survivors of sexual abuse, but has application for all areas of pastoral theology. I think it’s brilliant.Allender argues that survivors tend to fall into three types – ‘good girl, party girl and tough girl’, each with different strategies for managing pain. The good girl is kind and …Read More

Prodigal Daughters

By November 8, 2010 Blog

M makes a great comment about “good girls” and “wild girls”: ‘Both bring struggles with them- the good one must be good all the time or else she is a failure; the wild child feels like she’s stuffed it up anyway so may as well continue, no matter how self destructive.’This may remind you of the  story Jesus tells about the Prodigal Son, in Luke 15:11-32. In it we meet a  man with two sons.  The younger demands his share …Read More

Ladies! What is our problem?

By November 6, 2010 Blog, identity

I know, I know.  You’re not supposed to speak when you’re angry.  And I’m guessing that applies to blogging as well.  But I confess I am, so bear with me. What IS IT with us women hating ourselves? Now, I might be out on a limb on this, and if so, I apologise.  But over the past few days I’ve talked and met with some incredible, beautiful, talented, strong and wise women, women who are wonderful mothers, daughters, friends, sisters …Read More