Life has a way of ripping the in-control rug right out from under us. When mental illness (MI) hits our child, we’re thrust into survival mode. Dreary routines give way to psychiatrist appointments. Laundry could easily be tackled. But emotions must first be healed. Priorities shift. Our kid’s happiness, clarity of thought, and safety become the only things that matter.
A complicated life also simplifies life. We moms, who are used to taking care of everything and everyone, suddenly focus on one person: our vulnerable child.
In a simplified life, short devotionals are in order. So I’ve decided to do several messages based on one-word reflections. The word for this one is hope.
Hopeful children express delightful anticipation. “I can’t wait for our family’s movie night!”
But nothing kills bright expectancy like countless disappointments. Dashed hopes create fragile trust.
“I hope my father will come to my performance tonight. He promised he’d be there. But things always happen to make him break his promises. I doubt he’ll come.”
Many well-meaning parents have to disappoint their kids when life interrupts plans. Things happen that are unpreventable, unavoidable, and unexpected. Love doesn’t let their child down. Limited power does. We humans can’t know the future, let alone control it.
But the One who holds our future can control it. And He won’t let us down. Hebrews 6:19-20 assure us, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”
As long as we’re anchored to Christ, we can find peace in the midst of a storm, calmness in the midst of sorrow.
Many of our kids with MI face an uncertain future. Nothing seems sure except the promises of God. As we cling to Christ, we’re fastened to the throne of God. With access to His power, love, comfort, and peace.
MI storms can set our souls adrift. Tornados of emotions rip through our heart as we helplessly watch our child suffer. When symptoms resurface we feel like we’re heading down rapids toward a waterfall. But we have an anchor for our soul.
God is our hope.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).”
With Him, we can overflow with hope!
When our child with MI is a prodigal, we can entrust him in the hands of our ever-present Father.
When our child needs healing, we can place her in the hands of the Great Physician.
When our child is emotionally shattered, we can seek His perfect peace.
When we need direction, we can lean on His promises for wisdom and provision.
When MI causes division between loved ones, Christ our Mediator can restore relationships.
God reminds us to put our hope in Him.
Jeremiah 14:22 tells us, “Do any of the worthless idols of the nations bring rain? Do the skies themselves send down showers? No, it is you, Lord our God. Therefore our hope is in you, for you are the one who does all this.”
The Psalmist reminded himself to put his hope in God.
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (Psalm 42:5).”
Isaiah 40:31 tells us the benefits of putting our hope in the Lord. “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
1 Timothy 6:17 urges even the rich to put their hope in God. “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
Are you wondering, “How can I go on?”
If you think you can’t take it anymore, 1 Timothy 4:10 reminds you God is real and alive. He’ll help you hang on.
“That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.”
Colossians 1:27 reminds those who are saved have Christ’s indwelling power. “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
The Psalmist reminds you that God is faithful.
“But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish (Psalm 9:18).”
So, like Paul, we can, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12).”
Hope.. Jesus is the only hope in this battle. I recently sent my adult son with MI the verse where God says ,Your mother and father may abandon you, but I will never abandon you. His biological father has abandoned him, wants nothing to do with him, as he has been disrespected, as we all have by our MI adult children. This is probably the worse thing for a young man with MI to deal with. But God does not reject even the prodigal son, instead He waits for him to return fully to Him. My son is returning to his right mind, as I am seeing him approach Christ once again.His only Hope.
Yes, ‘Jesus is the only hope in this battle.’ I read your message with tears in my eyes…aching for your son and for you. Your final sentence expressed such Truth. What an encouragement for other moms longing for their adult child to humble themselves before Christ!
I love the verse you shared with your son. So perfect for his situation. God’s Word is surely our sword in this battle!
Rest in His peace and presence,
Been quite awhile since I’ve shared as am far behind in my RM devotionals, yours and others.
I can barely read about all scriptures you quoted regarding hope without tears flowing. I cry silenty at night in my bed as my husband and I sleep seperately for health reasons and I try not to cry in front of him.
Unlike Cindy, I don’t see Keith approaching Christ. I am in the black hole of depression, as I always am during the holidays.
In to much pain (physical) right now to write much but I wanted to thank you for your prayers for Keith and our family. So much going on, yet nothing going on. That’s how the depression wants it, I guess.
But wanted to tell you we had a wonderful 50th anniversary, except for Keith’s behavior, etc. It was heartbreaking to see him, so thin and no peace in his soul, just brokeness and wounded spirit, a shell of him. It hurts so bad. I miss my boy so much and have no idea when I will ever see him again.
I am reading advent devotions from church and they are comforting. Trying to immerse my self in Him, trying to put one foot in front of the other. God is good all the time and Hope is always present, even in the midst of the soul’s anguish.
God bless you, my friend. I pray this is not too much dark, why I have not commented as don’t want to share the pit but just wanted to thank you for you and your spirit of strength and hope.
No need to hesitate to share honest and dark feelings from your “pit.” That’s what this blog is all about…being able to share openly with other moms who understand and care.
Yes, the holidays can be so difficult for moms raising kids with MI. The season can suck us into the “black hole of depression.” Thankfully we can hope in One who is stronger than our greatest sorrow.
I’m glad to hear you had a wonderful 50th anniversary celebration. I had it on my September and October calendars, so I prayed for you at that time. My heart ached just reading your description of Keith. Can’t imagine how hard it was to see him that way. In the midst of your sorrow, you remain able to say, “Trying to immerse myself in Him, trying to put one foot in front of the other.” Your testimony will encourage others to face another day with Christ.
With continued and heartfelt prayers,