Ever been to a five-diamond restaurant? I did only once. My husband and I went on the vacation of a lifetime. We traveled to Hawaii and splurged on an extravagant dinner. What made it so spectacular? Superb food. Unobtrusive service. Romantic ambiance. And a breath-taking view. The reflection of the sunset on the ocean, just outside our window, whispered, “Welcome to Paradise.”
How does a restaurant achieve a five-diamond status? Our son, Chris, worked for the AAA Club several summers. Often callers inquired about their Diamond Rating Definitions. Chris could articulate the distinction between different levels of service. For example, at a five-diamond restaurant diners would discover that their needs were not just met, but anticipated.
Our children who have mental illness (MI) require five-diamond attention. We attempt to anticipate their needs. When Chris finished treatment for his psychotic episode, I wanted to prepare him for his return to high school.
“If anyone asks you why you were absent for so long, just answer, ‘I was sick and now I’m better.’”
I wondered if Chris would be able to handle any stress. So I contacted the principal.
“If Chris feels overwhelmed, I doubt he’d ask permission to leave class. He might not want to face any questioning in front of his peers. Would there be a way for him to leave class inconspicuously?”
“I’ll give Chris a “gold pass. All his teachers will be instructed that if Chris presents the pass to them they should excuse him—with no questions asked.”
The principal even provided a safe place for Chris to go on such occasions. Chris could report to a person who would be available and qualified to help him with his stress. Three staff members were identified: one on each floor of the huge school building.
Was I able to provide five-diamond protection for Chris? No. I couldn’t anticipate all his needs. That reality sometimes led to my own anxiety.
Those of us raising children with MI are keenly aware of our child’s fragile mental stability or of their shaky emotional well-being. We’d love to keep them in a protective bubble. But we’re simply not able to provide for their every need.
What are we to do? Wring our hands in anxiety or fold them in prayer? Folded hands aren’t a symbol of resignation. But a position of hopeful expectation. When we pray for our kids, we’re not giving up; we’re giving THEM up—to Him. It’s relief for our grief. We can rest in His loving care.
In the Hands of God, our child receives BETTER than five-diamond service. His care is more perfect than anything we can provide. Jesus reminds us, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:8)”
What a comfort to know that the One who created our child knows his needs even before he asks! And He knows our own thoughts too.
Raising a child with MI can be a lonely journey. Often we wonder if anyone understands. Even our own spouse can’t seem to comprehend how we need to be supported. We wish someone would know our deepest thoughts. Thankfully, we can turn to the One who knows better than we know ourselves. How many of us offer this as our prayer to God?
“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. (Psalm 139:1-6)”
It is difficult to comprehend His love. When I contemplate my status as His child, I begin to understand.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1-3)”
May you be lavished with His love today.
Reflect on His love as you listen to Scripture Songs’ ‘Behold What Manner of Love – 1 John 3:1.’