Each time I was in the hospital I had to attend support groups of various kinds.  I found comfort knowing that I was not alone in the dark corners of life but I always felt depressed because everyone was deeply burdened or suicidal.  Nobody ever mentioned the extraordinary hope that came from Christ.  That hope that can raise the dead.  We were all in the same place so there was very little true encouragement or lasting internal change.  The facilitators were usually uninspired and unable to hold out for us the life that God offers through His glorious Son.  I was able to relate to people for the first time and feel understood which was paramount. I felt as though I found a little group of woebegoners and I longed to help every one of them.  When I was in the hospital I was so manic...I did not sleep for like a week straight.  I was conducting business from within and praying with people intermittently. The desire to save everyone dissipated dramatically as the years went on.  But it is so easy to fall into that trap when everyone in the group is bleeding with pain.  This is when I decided that small groups at church offered more of what I needed.  They became my support groups.  Then I was able to share with people who may or may not feel like me.  This way those who were more built up in their spirit were able to minister life to me and hold out wonderful promises from God for me.  Then as I shared, others who were suffering in silence felt free to share their turmoil and injuries.  I found a hope indescribable.  I found peace like a river (Isaiah 66:12). Worshipping God at any time is powerful enough to break the chains of the illness if only for a moment.  Worshipping in a group is a dazzling experience.  "God inhabits the praises of His people" (Psalm 22:3).  When He comes He brings His presence with Him.  "In His presence is fullness of joy." (Psalm 16:11) His presence wipes away tears. His presence brings holy laughter.  His presence is the antidote to the macabre misery. I found that small church groups are a slice of heaven and they became my acting support groups.  The insane part of it is, that God flowed through me sick in those groups to draw people out and become transparent about their sufferings and God poured out of me as I got stronger to lift others up.  Such an incredible dynamic these Christ centered support groups.  It is because it is His power flowing through us.  It is not us in and of our own strength.  It is His life touching burning souls and scorched minds.  We look to Him ..He is the source.  We are just conduits of His love, mercy, and grace to fragile ones strung out and cold from life's ills. 

***Remember, Jesus adores you and always take your meds!

C.C.Brighton
www.bipolarliveitup.com