June 14, 2023 is the date that I found the community that I had prayed for, just weeks earlier. My long, arduous mental health journey had reached the point where I was living life through private tears of despair. Four months earlier I was on the verge of a breakdown, which forced me to leave a job that I'd made every effort to keep. By the Grace of God, and someone very close to me, I was able to turn my focus to my mental and physical well-being. I sought out resources and began to slowly build myself back up. Despite my progress, I was losing hope that I would ever find meaning to my life again. Depression had broken my heart, and anxiety tormented me with fear of the unknown. I felt lost and so very lonely.
Turning to prayer, I knew I needed to be specific and intentional. I asked for a path to be shown to me, and people to guide me along that path. The next day, I was walking in the park with a friend, on a path, in the bright sun. We encountered my friend's former coworker. She immediately focused on me, though we'd never met, and apropos of nothing, began speaking to me with encouraging words of Faith.
A few weeks later, I was searching online for group therapy to supplement the individual therapy I was receiving. My social media request for suggestions was answered by a friend who works for Lighthouse Church. She told me about their anxiety and depression group that had just reformed and would be meeting Wednesdays. On June 14, 2023, I attended the meeting at the House of Hope, crying through most of the hour. At the end of the meeting, Pastor Dale spoke with me privately about the Community Connect program, and that I would be a good candidate. I was later accepted to the program, and matched with a Care Coordinator and Peer Support Specialist – both Lighthouse staff.
Two weeks after that first mental health support meeting, I joined the art group ("Art Hangout") at Lighthouse. Soon after that, I began volunteering in different capacities at church, including ushering and serving the Thursday evening meal for the Celebrate Recovery service. I am proud to say that since beginning both the mental health and art program, I have not missed a single session of either.
Now that the Hope in Recovery center is open, my plan is to continue to immerse myself in the numerous planned events, activities and classes offered, as well as seek out new volunteer opportunities.
Lighthouse has become my safe haven, and I am humbled and grateful to be an appreciated, valued part of this incredibly uplifting community. Giving back by being of service has given me purpose again. I have a renewed sense of hope and meaning, enabling me to flourish and encourage others along the way.
I can say with certainty that the support, generosity and empathy I've received from Lighthouse staff and its members is unparalleled. God is good!