Message of a Care Receiver Stephen Ministry
BeforeI reached out to Stephen Ministry, I was tired physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I advised many people, both professionally and personally. I was accustomed to supporting and caring for others but not to receiving support myself. I never felt that I had anyone I could talk to. I didn't think they would understand, and I didn't want anyone to judge me.
I was dealing with loneliness, anger, envy, jealousy, struggles with forgiveness, concerns at work, and feelings of being unproductive. All this, along with everything that others brought to me, was taking a toll on me. Although I was praying, nothing seemed to be getting better.
During one of my Bible study classes, I fell completely apart. I had a heavy issue over my head, and I wanted to give up. I wrote in my journal, "Today I feel tired, out of steam. I just want to run away and not deal with anyone's issues." I knew I had to move on, let go, and let God, but I was getting bombarded with others' life issues. I was thinking, "I can't take any more!"
Then, after class, a classmate who is a Stephen Leader told me about Stephen Ministry. She suggested that I ask for a Stephen Minister so that I would have someone to talk to. I decided to give it a try.
When I had my first meeting with Dawn, my assigned Stephen Minister, I really didn't know what to expect. I didn't know how much I should open up. I had made up my mind to tell her only bits and pieces. We didn't know each other, so I didn't feel it necessary to spill my guts. But who was I to think that I was in control?
Dawn was very transparent, and she made me feel comfortable enough to talk to her. So during our initial meetings, I told her everything about how I had been feeling. I told her that I was at a breaking point during out first meeting--that I wanted to run away and leave everything behind rather than deal with it.
I also talked with her about other issues that related to my family. During our next meeting, we talked about what love really means. She had me concentrate on 1 Corinthians 13, and today I continue to focus on this scripture and many others. The breakthroughs began--hallelujah!
After three months of receiving care, I decided that I was out of crisis mode and no longer needed care from my Stephen Minister. Honestly, I had been past the worst of it for a few weeks, but I felt I would be losing something by ending this relationship. But God told me, "I will never leave you or forsake you." I knew it was time to let go. I needed to free her up for the next person who needed care.
Reaching out to Stephen Ministry has been a blessing. Thank you, Dawn! Thank you to the Stephen Leaders at St. James! And above all, thank you, God!
Dawn, a Stephen Minister at St. James United
Methodist Church, Alpharetta, GA
Submitted by Patricia Williams, Stephen Leader