Not many can do it. See the person behind the deformity. Or the personality buried under the disease. Or the potential masked by the illness. Thankfully, there are people who can see others differently … with heart eyes.
My cousin gave me a gift by sending me this email after Christmas: “I can’t tell you how much I was impressed with Chris and how thoughtful his gifts were.” That one sentence satisfied my desire for others to see the Chris I know and love. It quenched that desire like a sip of water in a desert. My cousin saw past Chris’ mental illness (MI) and acknowledged some of the qualities that make him special and unique.
Moms of kids with MI can see glimmers of their child’s personality. They can detect the potential in their child with seems invisible to others because of MI. How they yearn for others to see what makes their child unique and special.
What’s left after MI invades a life? It seems to destroy joy, demolish dreams, and damage family relationships.
MI can’t ruin everything. It can’t rob the person of their identity. It can’t steal IQ, creativity, or thoughtfulness. Even when those qualities aren’t demonstrated, they’re still there.
Certainly, MI has no power in the spiritual realm. It can’t erase salvation. If your child accepted Christ as his Savior, he’ll have that Gift for eternity. MS can’t separate your child (or you) from the love of God. Neither can it disintegrate your child’s God-given purpose. God’s still on the throne working out His perfect plan (though we may not see it or understand it).
I’m grateful to have a cousin (and other relatives) who sees Chris’ qualities, loves him unconditionally, and shares that love liberally. You may not have such a relative.
But, we all have Someone who knows the qualities of our children who have MI. The One who gave His life for them knows their potential and their pain. And He knows our deepest desires.
The Psalmist compels us to follow his prayerful example found in Psalm 139:1-6. “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”
In John 10:14, 27 we read of Christ’s assurances. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me… My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
God’s more than a drink in the desert. He offers living waters. (John 7:37-38)
His life flows within us. The power of the Holy Spirit is ours now and forever. The Creator of the universe loves you and your child.
A small child scribbles a picture for us. We gaze at it with delight. Marveling in the beauty of it. Not the exquisite artistry, but the beauty of the love behind it. Let’s do the same with the plans God creates for us. We may not see a beautiful portrait of our family at this time. But, by faith, we can delight in His great love for us.
Reflect on the perfection of His creation as you listen to ‘Wonderfully Made’ by Scripture Lullabies.