Why write about my family and mental illness? Why share such a personal story so publicly?
To be famous.
Not. Really. No.
The Young Clergy Women Project, that’s why.
We just finished our annual conference hosted by Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There were over 70 of us who gathered in-person to pray for each other’s churches, babies, families, and unrealized dreams. We cultivated deeper understandings of discernment about God’s will and we sampled the dessert menu at a nearby watering hole.
Back in 2006, I discovered an online community of other people like me: young women (under 35) who answered a call to ordained ministry. First organized by Susan Olsen, the aptly named group’s primary goals were to help us find each other and to offer support. Now TYCWP has over 1,000 members that span across the globe.
Chalice Press has a partnership with TYCWP that opens the door into publishing for young clergy women. There are several titles now that are a result of this partnership. I’m honored to be the most recent author in this collaborative creative effort with my book Blessed are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness, Family, and Church coming out this September.
Thinking back to when the inspiration first struck me to write and submit a proposal to the Chalice Press/TYCWP, what got me going was seeing other young clergy women writing and publishing. I realized not only that I could do it, too, but that I was called to do it. I could not not do it…fire in the belly kind of thing.
The idea to write about mental illness came from the realization that I was not alone in how significantly my family’s life has been shaped by mental illness. And I felt called to share how much grace and healing we’ve found along the way….this is my testimony to the power of God’s transforming love.
One of the mottos of TYCWP is “you’re not the only one.” This fits for talking about mental illness, family, and church, too.
I’m looking forward to seeing more books coming out of this Chalice Press/TYCWP partnership. The voices of young clergy women bring new perspectives and offer hope as we live into the incredible resiliency found within our Christian traditions.
My book Blessed are the Crazy would not exist without the encouragement, support and inspiration of TYCWP. Not only am I not the only one, but I’m in pretty good company.