“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. ” (Psalm 8:3-5)
Most of us would rather go through a trial ourselves than watch our children in turmoil.
When our kids struggle, we do all we can for them. We help in different ways, depending on the problem and the age of the child. Sometimes, we provide physical assistance. Other times, our children need a listening ear and a prayer. Older ones might want guidance or advice.
Sometimes there are limitations to what we can do to help. The ongoing pain our child experiences can pierce our own heart.
When my son, Chris, was in kindergarten he struggled with his behavior due to his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Every day after school, his teacher asked to speak to me about something he did wrong. Even though Chris was trying as hard as he could to behave appropriately, his impulsivity got him into trouble.
We did all we could at home. We prayed with him, taught him how to behave, shared appropriate scripture, and even role played situations he might encounter in the classroom. The problem seemed impossible to solve.
How could I help my son understand that God still loved him in spite of his circumstances? How could I teach him (and myself) that God would help him with this problem and all his future problems?
Around that time, my mother gave Chris a chrysalis. Such exquisite beauty! The beautiful oval-shaped creation looked like an earring. Resembling a pale green porcelain vase dotted and lined with gold. God created it and all things simply by speaking, “Let there be…” Such power!
God provided an answer to the cry of my heart. He showed me how to explain God’s love and power to my son.
I pointed to the chrysalis and said, “If God can create such beauty simply by speaking it into existence, then He can certainly help you with any problem.”
God’s creation demonstrates His power and it draws us closer to His love. This stanza of God’s Garden by Dorothy Frances Gurney (London: Country Life, 1913) expresses it well:
The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,–
One is nearer God’s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
When it becomes unbearable to watch our children cope with their struggles, we can look to the One who overcame death. He provided a way for us to have everlasting life. He also provided a way for us to live victoriously while on earth. He gave us the Helper.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. ” John 14:26
How do you endure watching your child suffer with mental illness?