Expert=”having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)”
I have never really thought of myself as an expert at anything. However, life has taught me a lot about being the daughter of a woman who lives daily with a mental illness. My experiences have shaped me into the woman of faith that I am today. And looking at that definition, I do know a lot based on the experiences I have had in life.
However, it took me a really long time to tell my families journey of mental health. In fact, it took me eighteen years before I really told anyone because I saw the stigma associated with the illness. The story was locked tightly against my heart.
But the day I finally told our story, there was a sense of freedom and peace that immediately came over me. And once the story was released from my heart, I could not not tell my story. It is a huge piece of who I am.
Telling my story has become a huge gift for not only me but especially for many of the people I encounter. I have been able to support friends and family who are struggling. I have been able to share my story in the hopes that it might help someone else.
If I had let fear win, I wouldn’t have ever told my story; our story of mental health. And if I had let fear win, I wouldn’t have applied to lead a workshop at the ELCA Youth Ministry Network Extravaganza in January 2019. And because I didn’t let fear win, I will be doing exactly that—leading a worship about mental health.
I am excited but I also am a little scared. What do I know that I can teach them? How am I an expert? Why is it important for me to share my story; our story? What I have learned is that I may not think that I am an expert, but my experiences say differently. So I will continue to tell my story and not let fear win!
“The bravest thing you’ll ever do is tell your story”–Brene Brown