Life that includes a loved one with serious mental illness (MI) can knock you off your feet. You regain your balance and resume your walk through mundane tasks. Then, BAM! Some bazaar behavior or unexpected comment hits you. Once again, the wind is knocked out of you. Time of prayer restores the pep to your step.
Along comes another whack. This time, it’s a diagnosis (or MISdiagnosis) or a blunt recommendation made by a specialist (who seems to have no clue what you’re going through). Blindsiding you. Like you’ve been demolished by a Mack Truck. Making you an emotional wreck. As if your feelings got churned up a meat grinder.
Weary from it all, it gets harder and harder to stand on your own two feet. Does that describe your life?
How can we go on when life hits us from all directions? When we’re too worn out to even stand.
Last week, President Obama spoke about getting knocked down. On April 18, 2013 he gave a message at the interfaith memorial service in Boston. He said, “Like Bill Iffrig, 78 years old — the runner in the orange tank top who we all saw get knocked down by the blast — we may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we’ll pick ourselves up. We’ll keep going. We will finish the race.”
Pick yourself up. Just keep going. Sounds easy enough. Not so!
Moms who have a child with MI may need support. We need human buttresses—people to come along side us. Loved ones who will keep us from crumbling under the pressure.
Years ago, I worked as a Bible instructor at a Christian camp for handicapped children. One adolescent camper, Bruce, was huge in stature. His large physique was exceeded only by his big smile. The joy of the Lord lit up his face.
His mental retardation didn’t prevent him from memorizing hymns—every verse and chorus. His beautiful voice drew you into his world…a world where intellectual abilities are irrelevant. A world where rejoicing reigns supreme. Anyone who joined Bruce in his world of praise experienced his heavenly serenity.
Yes, Bruce could sing. But, he couldn’t roller skate. He needed support to stay erect on skates. The first year, it took six strong camp counselors to hold him up. He crept along like a floating tree powered by human training wheels. Skating ever so slowly. Inch by inch.
The next year, he needed only five supporters. The third year, it took only four. Eventually, he was down to only one helper. Then, it came. That moment of victory. The helper let go. Bruce stood on his own!
That’s a picture of what God will do for you. He’ll send human buttresses. His people to support you. As many as you need. For as long as you need them. Until you can stand on your own.
Or, He alone will miraculously help you move forward. He promises you, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:10, 13
Sometimes, it’s in the power of Christ alone that we can stand. Let those words minister to you as you listen to “In Christ Alone.”