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Finding hope at rock bottom

One thing that we have always been sure of at Lifewords is that the Bible is good news, even in the most painful moments, even in the darkest of places.

It can be hard to hold on to hope for those who are struggling acutely with mental illness, or for those whose lives have been turned upside down by a sudden tragedy. When the reality of our life is filled with pain, anxiety and sorrow, the goodness of God can feel very far away.

It is often in these moments that we feel the sustaining power of God’s promises, promises that at Lifewords we seek to point readers too throughout our resources.

Melissa, a Mental Health Chaplain, shares: "I have used Lifewords’ resources over the past three years within my role. An admission to an acute mental health ward can create questions that both challenge faith and create opportunities to reflect on where hope can be found.

She continues: "These resources, which are available to stretched budgets for free, provide bite size comfort and reassurance for our patients, and are good talking points about faith and spirituality within their recovery. They are accessible at a time when people may feel too overwhelmed or confused to engage with larger texts. They allow individuals to engage at whatever level they are able to, and are perfectly aimed for those of our patients who are seeking for a deeper meaning to life."

Melissa uses Lifewords resources both in her interactions with patients and within the hospital’s multi-faith rooms and Sanctuary area. Melissa said: "I am always topping them up, we leave them in the Sanctuary area and they are often seen in patient’s rooms. Some of our patients have commented, 'I feel comfort when I read this book' or 'I feel peace when I read this'."

Jennifer, a Hospital Chaplain in Northern Ireland started using Lifewords resources during the Coronavirus pandemic, in the hope that the booklets could be used to offer encouragement and spiritual support to those who needed it most.

She said: "We continue to use Lifewords resources as we find them so simple, relateable and relevant to those who find themselves in hospital, whether that be patients, families and friends, or members of staff. Recently, a mother thanked me for having these beautiful resources for her to read whilst her son was in theatre, she said that in them she had found comfort and peace."

In the Bible the coming of Jesus is sometimes alluded to by the presence of light in the midst of the darkness. When Isaiah prophesies of a hope to come, the image is clear: "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned." (Isaiah 9:2 NIV)

In 2017, Lifewords partnered with Think Twice to create Little Book of Chaos, a resource that explores how the Bible speaks into experiences of depression, anxiety and self-worth. Throughout the raw and honest pages of Little Book of Chaos, there is a sense of light breaking its way through into the darkness.

Clare has found Little Book of Chaos to be a resource that she has turned to many times in her struggle with depression: "When my thoughts are trying to tell me that there is no hope, that I am alone, unloved, a burden, this Little Book points me to Bible truths that say otherwise, that remind me that there is hope, that I am loved, that I am not alone in this fight."

Melissa also reflected on how having the opportunity to order Lifewords’ resources in multiple languages has benefitted her work: “In particular I have found the translations into different languages are a small ‘bit of home’ to patients who may have everyone they love in another country. This is a double layer of comfort for those patients, to be recognised and valued in their moment of distress.”

Addressing those who support Lifewords, she continued: “Thank you on both their behalf and my own to the generous donations which enable these resources to be provided for free. Without this generosity, we would not be able to use them as freely as we do.”

We continue to pray that in the hardest moments, people find hope in the good news of Jesus, the Light of the World. As John wrote in his Gospel: "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it." (John 1:5 NIV)


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