Blessed are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness, Family, and Church
Sarah Griffith Lund
This is an honest and brave book. It is the author’s testimony. In her story, I saw the reality of mental illness. I saw how the church failed and fails to talk about it, to support the ones who live with it, and to welcome mental health consumers and their families as they are into the body of Christ. This isn’t an easy story to read because it is so real and heartbreaking. And in the midst of the struggles, I saw hope and possibility and community shining through.
I don’t want to tell you too much about this book because her words are so powerful and unlike many other books I review this is a story and I do not like it when people ruin the story. In Chapter 6, she shares her hope for how the church can change. She encourages us to tell our stories and to listen to others’ stories. She asks us to care for caregivers. And she recommends we all pray for ourselves, for each other, for an easing of the pain and stigma of mental illness.
For me, this book is a challenge to the church to do better and to be better. I recommend we all read this story. I recommend we open our churches to support God’s children who have mental illness. I recommend we open our churches as places of hope, support, and comfort for those whose loved ones have a mental illness. For too long, the church has not talked about this and I thank Sarah Griffith Lund for changing that. You can change it to by reading this book and utilizing the resources she mentions.
“Church taught me a lot about a loving God, but not how to tell my own story about love, or the lack of it. My Sunday school teachers wanted me to learn about God’s love for the world and that this love sent Jesus to save us. But no one in Sunday school ever asked me what I needed saving from in my own life. Bible truths would magically set us free from sin. Yet there was no place for us to name, in our own words, the sin in our lives, the sinfulness of our families, or the sinfulness of our world” (7).
“If we believe that God knits us together in our mother’s womb, do we therefore believe that God knits crazy into our being? If God is in all places and is present in all times, is God also in mental illness? If we are made in God’s image, then is God crazy too?” (37).
“The gift of prayer is that over time it can transform worry into something else. Spiritual transformation doesn’t happen immediately, like creating light by striking a match. It is the day-by-day, hour-by-hour practice of lifting our worries up in prayer that brings change. By taking our worries to God in prayer, we can free our minds” (52).
“As a Christian I want so badly to believe that God has the power to save us. But what life has taught me is that God cannot save us from situations where we choose to give fear and hatred power, and, in so doing, choose other gods. When we choose the God of love, whose very nature is to reconcile all things, then we have a real shot at saving the world through Christ. Salvation means wholeness and it comes through relationships, not through individual piety” (70).