When COVID-19 arrived and we were all isolated at home, our whole world changed. One morning, during my quiet time with God, I looked up to see a gust of wind tear the remaining leaves from a tree outside. They rained down and I thought of tears falling – tears of confusion, fear, loneliness and frustration. I thought of those, like me, who struggle with depression and anxiety and would find this extreme change a huge challenge.
God prompted me to step out in faith and ask our pastor if I could develop a support group, using the wonderful technology of online meetings. He said, ‘Go for it!’ So, with his blessing and God’s, I did, and what an amazing adventure it has been!
I knew of several women who struggled with mental health issues, so I asked whether they were interested in forming a Zoom support group. The response was very positive. We decided on the name ‘GPS’ – or Grace Positioning Support, Grace being the name of our congregation, as well as our goal to be blessed by God’s grace in our lives.
We meet once a fortnight for 90 minutes and receive strength and blessings for our life’s journeys. We follow a structured but flexible routine of greetings, followed by a devotion on our theme for that day, sharing time, teaching time, a little humour and prayer.
Initially, I thought the group would disband after COVID restrictions eased. But members chose to keep going as we had realised how vital it was to continue supporting each other. The momentum is only gathering the longer we get together, and we are all stronger for it. There are tears and laughter, but we encourage each other beautifully. There have been varying degrees of trauma and stress, but we have helped and prayed each other through this.
I encourage anyone who has a heart to help support others in this way to give it a go. The wounded healers are prime contenders for the role. We need to have experienced life’s challenges to empathise with others who are struggling. I pray that other like-minded risk-takers are willing to take on this challenge and begin this amazing journey of discovery, healing and blessings.
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