Over two years ago, I stopped writing. There was a lot going on in my life – I was balancing work and study at bible college.
But there were also a lot of personal issues going on – a loved one who suffered trauma who I was trying but was unable to support, issues in my marriage that we were trying to resolve but seemingly couldn’t, and facing challenges and criticisms as a woman who preaches and being discouraged by the constant backlash.
I didn’t realise at the time but with these particularly stressful events, I was sliding into another episode of depression.
So I stopped writing.
While writing has often felt like a wonderful way to express myself, an outlet for when my frantic thoughts race around and then find peace as the ink hits the paper – during that time it no longer brought me joy.
With another bout of depression - another onslaught of thoughts of inferiority started to make themselves more and more at home.
“Does anyone read my articles? Am I glorifying God through my writing or am I going to read it back and regret what I said? Does it actually benefit anyone? Probably not…Maybe I’ll just stop.”
Then out of the blue, last year I received a message through Facebook.
I had written an endorsement for my friend Graham Hill’s brilliant book ‘Holding Up Half the Sky: A Biblical Case For Women Leading and Teaching in the Church’. The Facebook message was from a Pastor who I didn’t know, saying that he had read my endorsement and from that had searched for my name online and found the articles I had written.
He expressed empathy and understanding as to restrictions women have often felt in church ministry and encouraged me to keep using the gifts God had given me. He shared his heart for how he wanted women in his church to also flourish and use their gifts to bless the church and the world as they served God. He said he found my words ‘thoughtful and inspiring’ and I broke down in tears.
A Facebook message turned into a dinner with Pastor Rob for my husband and I. My husband and I talked about our love for God, the struggles women face in ministry and our love for theology. Pastor Rob shared his heart for His church. We all shared our plans for the future. A beautiful message of encouragement turned into a friendship my husband and I now treasure.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians chapter 5, verse 11).
Pastor Rob served as a huge encouragement when I needed it. He helped me reconnect with my desire to write when I had become discouraged.
This year, once again, out of the blue, Mark Tronson asked if I would like to re-join writing for Christian Today. With my discouraged heart now once again emboldened - I said yes.
We often don’t realise how much someone might need to hear a kind word or a word to build them up. Is there anyone right now you can think of to encourage and build up?
Melissa Ramoo is a physiotherapist, Pilates instructor and studying a bachelor of Ministry at Morling College in Sydney. She’s married to her husband Roshan and has a Boston Terrier named Hercules who is completely doted on.