In my life, I have received this big, engulfing, no-questions-asked love. From old church ladies who winced at my blue hair but loved me anyway; from my “Do we have to talk about feelings?” little brother when I was shattered into depressed, weeping shards on the kitchen floor and he sat beside me. From seminary friends after I told them, terrified, that I wondered if a person with my mental health history could be—should be—a minister, and they said, “Hell yes!” From church board members after I shoved my foot halfway down my throat, from nurses in the psych ward—I am broken yet beloved. In all the moments when I needed love but didn’t deserve it, hadn’t earned it, couldn’t appreciate it—love enveloped me, a bounty without end.
I saw this bounty in my congregation. Fearless, unshakeable love for each of this world’s broken souls. It’s why I fell in love with them. Every Sunday we say, “Whoever you are, wherever you came from, whoever you love, wherever you are on life’s journey—you are welcome here.” It knocks the wind right out of me. I didn’t know the human heart could hold so much love before I met this congregation.
an excerpt from Stubborn Grace: Faith, Mental Illness, and Demanding a Blessing