Christian Mental Health Support
Hope Within the Storm is a Christian mental health support ministry focused on loving and encouraging Christians living with mental illness. This goal will be accomplished in two ways.
- Provide training, support, and resources to equip churches to love and embrace Christians living with or affected by mental illness
- Provide support, encouragement, and resources for individual Christians who either live with mental health struggles themselves or love someone living with mental illness
The next step in this journey is the development of a 6-week curriculum that churches can use to help their members better understand and know how to love those struggling with mental health issues. This curriculum will be written by Revka Stearns in collaboration with her advisory group of licensed mental health practitioners, preachers, and Christians who either live with mental illness or have loved ones who live with mental health struggles.
Revka Stearns’ Story
Hello! I’m Revka (that’s pronounced with a long E), and I founded Hope Within the Storm because I know what it’s like to be a Christian living with mental illness.
Since my earliest memories, I’ve seen and experienced first hand the challenges of living with mental health issues as a Christian.
My father served in the Viet Nam war and experienced a traumatic event that left him with the diagnosis of paranoid delusion schizophrenia. He met and married my mother after his discharge from the Army. His illness was just an accepted part of my childhood.
My mother suffered from depression, which appears to have been a genetic inheritance.
I myself have long struggled with depression and ADHD. As a child, I was never tested for or diagnosed with those challenges. Instead, feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and helplessness shadowed my life, and I repeatedly failed in my efforts to make myself more organized, less scattered, and more committed to completing projects I started. Over time, I came to believe that I was lazy, undisciplined, and had poor character.
I graduated high school as valedictorian, went on to college, and eventually married a wonderful man with whom I had five children. I accepted Jesus as my Savior on June 18, 2007. Life seemed wonderful, but the mask of happy and successful wife and mother disguised my continued struggle with seeing worth and value in my life.
A few months after my fifth child was born in 2011, my facade of happiness and success began crumbling. My outlook grew so dark that thoughts of suicide seductively beckoned, telling me that my family, friends, and the whole world would be better off without me, that it would be unselfish of me to make that exit so their lives could be better. I will be forever grateful that a dear friend helped me to understand that my feelings were not normal or healthy and that I needed help. With great fear, I chose to accept help in the form of therapy and medication. While painful, the therapy gave me invaluable insight into the experiences, beliefs, and decisions that were adding to the weight that threatened to crush me. Medication helped decrease the weight and effects of my depression.
In 2014, I found a desire growing in my heart. I passionately wanted to find a way to help others using my painful experiences and the lessons I learned from them. I wasn’t sure how to go about doing that but prayed for the Lord’s guidance. Over the course of a month, God slowly revealed to me how I could fulfill my desire to support and encourage Christians living with mental illness, and Hope Within the Storm was born.