Our 32-year-old son, Chris, doesn’t want to be treated like a child. He no longer wants me to meet his needs when he’s hurting. His desires are perfectly normal. Since he lives with us, I observe hints of difficulties. And sense his internal turmoil.
On his good days, it’s easy to get clues he’s feeling fine. He might join me on errands. Or stop to chat with me while passing through the kitchen.
For so many years, that ability to discern his emotional or mental needs served us well. Now, he doesn’t reach out. I only detect clues he’s in need.
He comes and goes and I watch how he walks.
He seems slumped over. Is that just my imagination?
I catch a glimpse of his face, careful to look without him noticing.
He looks sad. Or is that just fatigue from working out at the gym?
As long as he remains somewhat active, I know he’s not isolating. That’s a good thing. When he conceals himself in his room, I’m left to wonder.
How do I stop being a mom? Is it possible to extinguish the impulses to ease a child’s pain? How do others keep from worrying?
When a young child is hurting and vulnerable, our sole priority is to help. A mother’s instinct is to nurture, protect, and comfort. We’re drawn to minister to needs. It’s as natural as breathing. Impossible to stop for any length of time.
So how does a mom love a mature son who has serious mental illness (MI)? Differently.
A ruler in the Bible shows us how we can love our adult son or daughter differently. Jairus was one of the synagogue leaders. His twelve-year-old daughter was dying. What did do?
Mark 4:22-24 tells us Jairus humbled himself and went to Jesus. Seeking help from the Great Physician. One who could heal his daughter.
Jesus agreed to go to his daughter. But then Christ stopped to heal another woman with a blood flow (Mark 5:25-34).
Can you imagine what Jairus must have felt? Surely, he was thinking: No, no, no…don’t stop now. There’s no time…my daughter is dying. PLEASE, Lord, come with me NOW! You can heal that woman later.
We can all relate to delays. Waiting in traffic is one thing. Waiting for God’s answer to our prayers is another thing. Especially when we’re praying for God to provide His peace and clarity of thought for our child with MI. That kind of waiting could lead to depression if we don’t hold onto our faith and keep our eyes fixed on Him. With our head buried deep in His Word.
Finally, Jesus healed the woman. But then the grateful woman had to tell Christ her “whole” story (Mark 5:33). Was Jairus feeling panicked? Surely, it didn’t help when others came spreading their fear. Informing him that “your daughter is dead” (Mark 5:35).
But, Christ calmed his fears.
“Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe’” (Mark 5:36).
Then Jesus raised up the girl (Mark 5:41-42).
What’s the message for us? When Christ delays, He’s still working. When fears bombard us, He’ll provide comfort. And remind us to keep believing and not waver in our faith.
When we don’t know what’s going on, we can trust in what we DO know. We do know God is still in control. He hears our prayers. He’s promised to comfort us. He’ll provide all we need.
Do you have an adult child with MI? In what ways do you show your love?
Casting Crowns’ song reminds us “TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS.”