Don’t Underestimate Your Influence


Do you ever wonder if you’re helping your child who has mental illness (MI)? His illness may prevent him from thanking you. Your spouse may not acknowledge your efforts. When we near our breaking point, we’re tempted to give up.

This message is dedicated to the countless moms who privately provide support. No one sees all you do. No one could know how you minister to your child, in spite of your broken heart. You’d much rather crawl into bed and cry … for a week or two. But there’s no time for you to grieve.

Recently, I witnessed beautiful motherly care and attention. My good friend sat beside her adult son in a mental health care facility.

She had recently totaled her car, which left her with some back pain. She and her husband had settlement the day after her son was admitted into the hospital. Her husband had paper work to do. So she went to visit her son alone (not knowing I’d come alongside her).

In spite of fighting a cold, she asked all the right questions. Presenting each one lovingly.

“Did you eat last night?”
“How did you sleep?”

“Do you like your psychiatrist?”

“Do you take a walk in the hallway sometimes?”

“Did you have group?”

“What are you thinking?”

Periodically, she gently stroked his arm. Sometimes, she allowed silence.

She reassured him without promising something that may not happen.

“Do you think I’ll be able to go to my Bible study’s Christmas party on Friday?” her son asked.

“Maybe. Hopefully,” was her honest reply.

My friend held it together while in the hospital. Until we stepped outside after visiting hours. The exit door became a faucet for her tears.

I tried to comfort her. “Are you okay?”

“I’m numb,” she said as she softly cried.

I gently stroked her back.

Will her son be released before Christmas? That remains to be seen. Will his new medication restore him to his sweet self? Time will tell.

When is it a good time to be hospitalized for MI? Certainly not at Christmas.

Seventeen years ago Christmas wasn’t a time for celebration. Our son, Chris, had to be hospitalized. Those memories mercifully have begun to fade. Visiting my friend’s son threatened to arouse painful emotions.

“Are you sure you want to go?” asked my husband lovingly. Wondering if it would be too difficult for me to relive reminders of our son’s hospitalization.

“This will be healing for me,” I answered. “I know how much it would have meant if someone sat by me when Chris was hospitalized (if you couldn’t come). Especially if that person knew exactly what I was feeling.”

So I went. And was blessed by what I saw in my friend’s compassionate care of her son.

Her son also impressed me. There he sat in a psychiatric hospital speaking about God’s Word. He quoted verses from the Bible and discussed some of his favorite stories. His shattered cognition didn’t dampen his determination to focus on the Lord. His inner turmoil didn’t rob him of his love for God. My friend can take credit for investing Truth in him. God’s Word promises that His Truth will not come back void.

Isaiah 55:11 tells us, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”  (KJV)

Can anyone relate to the thankless care you provide for your child with MI? Certainly the Lord can. He healed ten lepers, but only one thanked Him. He died on the cross for the sins of all mankind, but men mocked Him as He hung dying. Spewing anger in return for His unconditional love. Countless still ignore His free gift of salvation.

Christ surely knows what it’s like for you. He sees your faithful labors of love. So seek His approval. He’s well-pleased with you. And know this: you’re having a positive impact on your child even though it can’t be measured.

Hang in there, with your focus firmly fixed on Him.

The song “In Christ Alone” (from the Secrets Of The Vine CD) reminds us that, “Here in the power of Christ we stand.”


4 thoughts on “Don’t Underestimate Your Influence

  1. Thank you sweet friend… Needed this. Bawling reading it.

    Hard few weeks, husband working overtime every day, josh having anxiety attacks and biting kids at school–plus his big project, me falling and still having a purple ankle and toe 3 weeks later… Ugh.

    and am hoping my husband can make it through the next 2 days with all my family–and his own anxiety! Unbeknownst to me, while mom and I ran errands yesterday and my dad was here with son, josh “fixed ” his RC car by stripping my husband’ car for parts. It wasn’t pretty when we got home last night, after dinner for my parents 50th wedding anniversary.

    Just feel like bawling… Thanks for giving me an outlet.

    Praying your family has a blessed holiday and God blesses you for all the comfort you bring to others. Please never doubt the power in what you do.

    Lisa Copen Rest Ministries Founder, Director Be sure to sign up at our website for our daily devotionals!

    Sent from my iPad


    • Dear Friend,
      I’m so sorry you’ve had such a tough few weeks. What a terrible fall, to leave you with bruising 3 wks. later! So much swirling around you: all the anxiety, guests, projects, school issues…sounds like you were due for a good cry. I’m grateful this message helped in some way to relieve your pain.
      There’s no yard stick that can measure the positive impact you have in your family and in your ministry. Thankfully God uses His eternity stick to measure all you do to encourage the hurting.
      Praying for healing for you, your family, and for peace in hearts and households.
      Thank you so much for your encouraging words.

  2. There is such a profound distance between the soul and the spirit. The soul may have ennui, memories, anger, fear, hesitation, delusion, temerity or grandiosity. The Spirit may have gentleness, living words and the Anchor of Hope from our Forerunner Jesus. Water that spirit. Make allowances for that troubled and irrational soul (will, emotions, cognition) just as if it were a wheelchair case. And remember, fault is such a small issue here on anyone’s part. (1 Thessalonians 5: 14)

    • Thank you SO MUCH for your comments: “The Spirit may have gentleness, living words and the Anchor of Hope from our Forerunner Jesus…And remember, fault is such a small issue here on anyone’s part. (1 Thessalonians 5: 14)”
      I also appreciate your godly advice: “Water that spirit. Make allowances for that troubled and irrational soul (will, emotions, cognition) just as if it were a wheelchair case.”
      Thanks for stopping by. I checked out your blog and LOVE it!!!

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