Adam Graham and Colton Mulligan, two Ethos family members, have connected and started dreaming up an idea. Read more in Adam's blog below.
"This time last year, when I would wake up in the mornings, I could tell that something was off. The feelings grew over a matter of weeks and developed into other symptoms where I lost my appetite, I would have extreme difficulty focusing on any task, and I would wake earlier and earlier in the mornings, until it got to a point where a day or two would go by and I wouldn’t sleep at all. Within a 6-week stretch, I lost 20 pounds along with any interest in the things I was most passionate about."
The story that Colton begins here (from his incredible blog post) is not an uncommon one. Here in our city, right now, are tens of thousands of people wrestling with depression, anxiety, trauma, and more. In fact, 1 in 4 of us currently wrestle with a mental illness of some kind.
1 in 4.
And yet instead of rallying behind those of us in this tough place, the response is silence. A silence that leaves us with lies of shame: there is something wrong with us, we are messed up, not faithful enough, not smart enough, not enough…and so those who wrestle with mental illness wrestle alone.
We know that our world, and each individual in it, is not as God created it to be. Death and illness have infected God’s good creation. We know that. But what we don’t always know is where the pain of mental illness can meet the transformative and untamed love of Jesus.
It’s right here, with you and me.
You see, it is precisely where the community of God comes together to know each other and to be known, to love each other and to be loved, even in — especially in — the midst of mental wrestling matches.
Colton goes on in his blog…
"I believe that this awful experience is something I needed to go through. I now have a relationship with my father that I would never have had otherwise. It bonded me to a friend that I had been close with for over a decade in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. It forced me to realize that I can’t do everything on my own. I need other people. I need God. I need to appreciate everything and everyone in my life more.
I’ve shared parts of this story with people, and I couldn’t believe how frequently I would hear 'I went through that,' or 'I feel like that every now and then too,' or 'I have a friend that’s like that now…'"
The intersection of the suffering of mental illness and the life-changing love of Jesus happens when we come together in powerful vulnerability, when we share our stories, learn each other’s stories, and together experience a community of grace.
We want to be intentional about creating a space for this intersection, because sometimes it can be difficult to broach some of the more difficult topics in life that feel too personal or embarrassing. Sadly, so many of our members either struggle themselves, or love someone who struggles with depression, anxiety, self worth, guilt, or grief, but they don't really know of any environment or group that can help. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say to the friend who's going through depression or self-doubt or anxiety, so we want to create a place where we can share ways to help.
This past summer, a group came together in a Grow class focused on these issues from a biblical perspective to create a comfortable space for folks to share struggles and perspectives not frequently discussed. The success and comfort of that group led Ethos to open up more opportunity to share in that community.
So, on the 4th Tuesday of every month, we're going to gather at the Cannery at 6:30pm until 7:30pm. Some folks will listen, some will share, we’ll bond in community with and for those who are facing challenges in life.
We’d love to have you join us.