We all know what to do about a shaken can of soda. Let it settle before opening it. Otherwise it will explode and foam will shoot out.
Do you feel like a shaken can of soda? Is your heart like that carbonated drink? Unsettled. Does it first have to settle before you open up and talk about what mental illness (MI) has done to your child and to you? Are you afraid that if you release your emotions, raw emotions will gush out? And you may never stop crying.
We want to feel settled. More than that, we want peace. Peace for our child. Peace in our home. Peace in our heart.
Reflecting on Peace:
I gravitate to verses about God’s peace. Recently I discovered one tucked at the end of 2 Thessalonians.
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
Can you guess what caught my attention? “In every way” I yearn to have peace at all times. But I never considered having peace in every way.
What does peace ‘in every way’ mean? Hum…
After checking several commentaries, I learned how God can give us peace ‘in every way.’ It means we can have peace in every way we are unsettled.
- Peace from outward threats: betrayal, accusations, danger … physical harm that may come to our child
- Peace from loss: of the death of a loved one, of a job, of good health, of a marriage, of a prodigal child, of a friend moving, of a child off to war … of the contentment our child used to enjoy
- Peace from inner turmoil: worry, jealousy, discontent, fear, insecurities, anger, depression, anxiety, feelings of inadequacies … concerns for our child
An infant sleeping is the perfect picture of peace. Back when our son, Chris was first born, I loved watching him sleep. I’d gaze into his precious face and catch a glimpse of serenity.
If only I could have frozen those moments in time. Those were days when Chris’s life was filled with peace.
On occasion I dare to reminisce—to recall carefree days before MI hit. It’s painful to think of what MI did to my dreams for Chris. Hopes for an untroubled life were dashed by the harsh realities of illness. Peace was snatched away.
Yet I still sometimes entertain thoughts of happier days when Chris was young. Strangers often observed, “He’s such a happy baby.” And he was.
Etched on my heart are snapshots of family fun. Like times when Chris climbed a tree with his brother or played a board game with his father.
But I can’t linger in the past too long. Because my joy gets sucked into the quicksand of sorrow.
I never expected his life to turn out this way. I just wanted him to be happy and have a peaceful life.
I see his strained smile and know that, “Even in laughter the heart may ache” (Proverbs 14:13a).
Then I remember the God of all peace can fill Chris with true contentment.
Clinging to Promises about Peace:
Hang onto promises God gives us about peace. That’s what helped me through times of greatest trials in Chris’s life. I clung to promises about peace like, “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
Focus on an image of divine peace. Imagine laying your head in the palm of God’s hand. Picture yourself resting in the Creator’s mighty hand. The King of all kings has said, “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16a).
That’s a place we can always find complete contentment. In His hand our security is sure. Like a parent walking a toddler across a busy street, our Father keeps a firm clutch on us. Jesus assured His followers that, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me … no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29)
Reach out to the God of all peace who holds your life in His hands. And you’ll join the psalmist in praise:
“Let everyone bless God and sing his praises; for he holds our lives in his hands” [Psalm 66:8-9 (TLB)].
Human hands can’t fix MI. But the mighty hand that created the universe can handle your life with great care. Hear Isaiah whisper, “This is what God the Lord says—the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: ‘I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand’” (Isaiah 42:5-6a).
He will guide you through your journey. A journey that demands peace.
So, cry out for God’s peace. Cling to His promises about peace. And reflect on the Lord of peace who gives you “peace at all times and in every way.”
Reach out to Him and He’ll handle you with care.
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace”