A pouting child is a picture of….How would you finish that sentence?
Rejection. Isolation. Exclusion.
“What did I do?” “No fair.” Children understand when they are unfairly judged or excluded for no apparent reason. But that doesn’t make them feel any better. Those emotional scars can last a lifetime.
Throughout history entire groups have been unfairly ostracized and persecuted. The Israelites, Jews, and blacks.
Perhaps you feel ostracized. Excluded, ignored, banished, left out. Has mental illness (MI) made you feel like a cast away. Discarded. Shunned.
Like victims of bullying, you feel shame. Convinced you did something to deserve it. Taunted by unfair thoughts: Maybe if I was a better parent.
But deep down inside you know you’re trying the best you can to help your child who has MI. You’re struggling to keep peace in your home and love in your marriage.
In the midst of all you’re dealing with, shame needn’t be one of the challenges.
According to the online Oxford Dictionaries, shame is defined as: “a person, action, or situation that brings a loss of respect or honor.”
MI: the situation that robs us of respect or honor. We feel shame because society still misunderstands MI. We feel judged by people who have no idea what we’re enduring. Shame on them!
Oxford Dictionaries also defines shame as: “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.”
Surely, our shame can cause us to feel humiliated. Others make us feel like we’re to blame for some reason. Shame on us for believing that lie.
The truth is MI is an illness. Behavior management techniques employed by other parents won’t work with a child whose actions are a reflection of unstable thinking or fragile emotions.
It’s not so easy to just…
- Tell a clinically depressed child to, “Snap out of it.”
- Expect an anorexic child to, “Sit there until you finish your meal.”
- Require the explosive child with a bipolar disorder to, “Calm down and relax.”
- Punish a child experiencing a psychotic episode for his violent and bizarre behaviors.
My resolve: to fight feelings of needless shame. And to seek encouragement from God’s Word.
“I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes, Lord; do not let me be put to shame (Psalm 119:30-32).”
“May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts (Psalm 119:78).”
“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame (Isaiah 50:7).”
I’ve learned to ignore assumptions made by others whose lives aren’t touched by MI. I no longer care what others think. Years of judgment from others taught me to be a God-pleaser. God sees the long-suffering, gentleness, and unconditional love I extend to Chris. My heavenly Father cares more about the fruit of the spirit in my life rather than the dust on my furniture. He knows I’m doing my best to honor Him in my parenting.
Bottom line: Christ knows the truth. And He experienced shame.
“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:1-3).”
Call on Him to rescue you from needless shame. Fall on the throne of God and leave it there. May Hillson’s
“Came to my Rescue” be the cry of your heart.
I just read your message and so identify with your words. Thank you for sharing your heart feelings, as always. I have felt shame since my boy was little, acted out and then was bullied, made fun of and, in general, all his school years were miserable for him and for us. We never got much help, even with years and many different counselors seeking help for him and us. I know he still suffers the wounds and scarring from those years. He had a few good teachers and for them I thanked God but the taunting, making fun of his speech, hair, behavior, etc. were too much for him. He never finished high school but did go on to get his GED.
I , too, got so so tired of being told or it being insinuated that his problems were all due to bad parenting. I believed that for years, suffering the guilt that why couldn’t we have done more, done it differently, been better parents. I am now so over that, but it has taken years of praying, talking, thinking, crying, wailing, depression, anger, etc. the whole enchilada of grief and the why, oh the whys.
He has just come home and we pray this time he can overcome his demons. But there are no guarantees, as you well know. He has had a very hard life; certainly a far cry from a parents dreams and hopes for their child!! But it is what it is and we walk this journey with God at our side, with the long suffering, gentleness and unconditional love from our Gods strength in us. I love your whole paragraph about not caring what others think; I am so past that too. And that God knows we are dong our best to honor Him in our parenting! and yes, my goal is now to please God rather than worry about what others think or stand in judgement of me and my child. Let them walk in our shoes for a few weeks, months, years, etc.
That Christ had to endure the shame, humiliation, pain, suffering and death for me and you and these children he gave us, is my strength to endure whatever this world throws at me. I don’t know how anyone does this without Him. Praying Keith submits to His will and plan for his life this time. God has given him and continues to open many doors to his life in Christ.
It helps to know you understand. You’ve endured this painful journey we share. I’m so glad to read how you’ve survived it all: “We walk this journey with God at our side, with the long suffering, gentleness and unconditional love from our Gods strength in us.”
I echo your statement: “I don’t know how anyone does this without Him.” Pray that those who don’t know the Source of our abundant hope, the perfect peace, and the divine strength. That they might stumble on this blog or cross paths with someone who can share the love of God with them.
Your prayer for Keith is a good one for all of us who are raising kids with mental illness…that our children will submit to His will and plan for their life. I often pray that my son will humble himself before God and seek His will. I also pray God will protect Chris’s face-to-face relationships with godly people.
Your comment about your son’s bullying made my heart ache. That’s because Chris suffered bullying throughout all his years of school. Like you, it was miserable for me as well (what mom wouldn’t suffer when her child suffers?). Here’s a correction on the old adage: “Sticks and stones may hurt my bones, but name will FOREVER hurt me.” Those scars do remain.Praise God for those few, rare teachers who can teach, encourage, protect, and understand our kids.
Continue to stay strong in Him, dear friend.
Grace and peace,
Thank you for your encouragement. It is so refreshing to have another mom who understands what we go thru and where we have been!
I am weary today as did not sleep much last night and much pain. Was so excited to go to a Hospice training session this am but due to my bad night, the early time it started, the distance and rain with several accidents during rush hour resulted in my missing it. I don’t get todo much and I know you understand the disappointment and sadness in plans being destroyed due to chronic illness.
Then, got word about a disturbing turn of events with my oldest son. It just seems like it all came down on me today. And, of course, Keith is constantly on my heart regarding his re entry into the world again and all that entails!! Then, this news and plans with his brother . You know those days; we all have them and pain , being tired, etc. just increases the stress which exacerbates the pain, and so on and all the above.
But I know God is in control and I just have to work through it all as usual. I know you know the drill. Prayer, settling down with God, reading His word, and just crying my heart out to him is the deal for peace in my spirit.
Praying you are having a good day in The Lord. And yes, I will continue to stay strong in Him. I thank God for the opportunity to know you and am blessed to call you my friend and sister in Christ.
PS hope its ok to post this here; if not, just tell me.
Hi again Patty.
It’s absolutely OK for you to post what you did. That’s what this blog is all about…to help those of us who would otherwise feel disconnected. We need to have this safe place where we can share our experiences and feelings. So we can encourage each other in the Lord.
I’m so sorry to read about your frustration (over missing the hospice training session) and your weariness. To add to everything you’re dealing with, you received disturbing news about your oldest son. Life surely does seem to hit us from all sides at times.
I just had my gall bladder removed 3 wks. ago…right when my picture book was released. God is telling me loud and clear to rest. I hoped I’d be more recovered by now. Guess my MS is impacting my recovery, making it longer for me to regain strength.
Tomorrow is Chris’s birthday. I wanted to take him out for lunch. But he said he doesn’t like to celebrate his birthday. So, my prayer is that God will bless him on his special day (since I’m not able to).
Thanks for your reminder to all of us: “But I know God is in control and I just have to work through it all as usual….Prayer, settling down with God, reading His word, and just crying my heart out to him is the deal for peace in my spirit.”
Together in His grip,
Just a short note back. No need or pressure to reply till you want to, etc. So sorry to hear of your gallbladder surgery; I was not aware of it or probably didnt remember, as memory is so yukky. I am so excited to hear your picture book is out WOW!!! How winderful!! Are we going to be able to see it??? I will have to share about my chldrens book i have written. Probably no good, am n ot a writer but did enjoy writing it but getting it published, whoa!!!!!
Really,I just wanted to tell you will be praying for strong recovery and that your MS will not flare up. I know gallbladder surgery is not suposed to be as sickening as in years past, due to new procedures, laser technology, etc.
I am also so sorry to hear that Chris does not want to celebrate his birthday!! I know that is hurtful for him and for you. I am praying that God will work out something for tomorrow for you all. I know that some of Keiths birthdays were awful for varius reasons. I wonder sometimes if they are so unhappy with themselves that they just dont want to celebrate their life–that God given day they were given life. MI just makes them so vulnerable to low self esteem, unworthiness, feelings of why me, etc. that it maybe makes them only more aware thtat they are different and , in their minds, not a good different. It does make me so sad fro them and us. Well, Enough of my ramblings.
Just hoping for a good day tomorrow for all of you. God is good, no matter what!!!
God has protected me from worsening MS symptoms (due to my gall bladder surgery). For that, I’m so grateful (as you can imagine).
Yes, you can see the book I wrote by clicking on the Amazon below. You can get a peek at some of the illustrations (if you sign into Amazon). There’s a Kindle version of the book (in addition to the print version).
I’m guessing you’re right about why Chris doesn’t want to celebrate his birthday. He’s got plans to go to his monthly poetry night at a local book store. He’s scheduled to read something he wrote. I’m happy he’ll be with a few friends.
Yes, “God is good, no matter what!!!”