Until then, only snakes and dentists scared me. One snowy night in December, I felt fear unlike never before.
Decades ago, several of my girlfriends joined me as I babysat two children. It was New Year’s Eve. The children were in bed. Teenage sounds filled the dining room. Music from a Beatles’ album accompanied the noise of giggling and chatting girls.
A loud noise interrupted our festivities. A muffled bang sounded as if landed right outside the dining room wall. Fear muzzled our merriment. Like scared rabbits, we sat frozen with ears and eyes open wide. Listening. Did we imagine it?
The music played on. Then, we heard the sound again.
We screamed and scurried away from the dining room wall. And tore into the living room.
Survival instincts kicked in. We started trying to figure out if danger lurked outside.
“I think someone is pounding on the wall.”
“It sounded like a gun shot.”
I felt a sense of responsibility to protect the children from…whatever. Suddenly, I realized my big brother was home. From the back window of my house, Ken would be able to see the dining room wall of the home where I was babysitting. So I called him on the phone.
“Ken, look outside our back window. Do you see anyone near the dining room window where I’m babysitting?”
“Oh yeah. I see large footprints in the snow leading right up to the window,” he teased.
One of my friends solved the mystery. “Vicki, it’s fireworks!”
We were never in danger. We simply forgot it was day of celebration.
Sounds in the night tend to scare everyone. The darker the night, the more terrifying is the noise. Vulnerability and helplessness magnifies fear.
Consider a woman is who is enjoying a quiet evening alone at home. Suddenly, she hears an unusual sound just outside her window. She peeks through the curtains to identify the source. It may satisfy her curiosity. But, it won’t calm her nerves if she sees a burglar trying to enter her home.
Moms raising a child with mental illness (MI) can identify with that woman. The onset of our child’s illness rattles our nerves with equal intensity. It interrupts the solitude of a peaceful home. As the darkness of mental illness (MI) closes in, we’re more susceptible to fear. Sometimes, our child’s symptoms suddenly increase.
A heavy THUD pounds on our heart. Survival instincts kick in. And we start trying to figure out how to help our child.
What just happened? What caused that?
We’re tempted to close the curtains of our lives. And hide all the turmoil and pain.
At times, we’re drawn to the window for a different reason. To gaze out and watch care-free families going about their daily routines. To see reminders of what life was like without MI. To catch glimpses of normalcy.
A window can’t provide lasting peace or true contentment. We’ll find comfort in God’s Word. Peering into the pages of the Word will calm our heart more than peering out any window.
How I love God’s Word! It’s my go-to place to find comfort. I echo the sentiments of the Psalmist who cries, “My eyes fail from searching Your word, saying, ‘When will You comfort me?’” [Psalm 119:82 (NKJV)].
Open the Word and find comfort.
The Bible hasn’t let me down. In my darkest times, I’ve found comfort. How is it possible to find comfort in the midst of our child’s illness? The Psalmist explains it this way:
“This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life” [Psalm 119:50 (NKJV)].
Open the Word and find delight.
We can do more than go through the motions of each day. God’s tender mercies will help us live as we delight in His Word.
“Let Your tender mercies come to me, that I may live; for Your law is my delight” [Psalm 119:77 (NKJV)].
God’s Word keeps us from dying on the inside.
“Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction” [Psalm 119:92 (NKJV)].
“Trouble and anguish have overtaken me, yet Your commandments are my delights” [Psalm 119:143 (NKJV)].
If the Psalmist can find delight in God’s Word in the midst of trouble and anguish, surely so can we.
Open the Word and find strength.
Does the Psalmist’s plea sound like something you could have written?
“My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to Your word” [Psalm 119:28 (NKJV)].
Seek God’s strength.
Open the Word and find hope.
Many of us find ourselves in hopeless situations. We hope in therapists or treatments. But, find they can’t always provide assurances for restoration. God’s Word never fails. The more we cling to It, the more we can proclaim, “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word” [Psalm 119:114 (NKJV)].
Open the Word and find how to live each day.
God guides us through the days that begin and end in His Word.
“I rise before the dawning of the morning, and cry for help; I hope in Your word. My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word” [Psalm 119:147-148 (NKJV)].
The Bible satisfies our longing as we reflect on His promises throughout the day.
“Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” [Psalm 119:97 (NKJV)].
Open the Word and find treasure.
Many of us feel life’s unfair. The Psalmist experienced unfair circumstances and still could say,
“Princes persecute me without a cause, but my heart stands in awe of Your word. I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure” [Psalm 119:161-162 (NKJV)].
Let him be your inspiration today.
Open the Word and find light.
Stumbling around in the dark can be scary. Flicking on a switch instantly brings relief. There’s danger of stumbling when we walk down a dark path. But, a flashlight illuminates our path, letting us know where to step. That’s what it’s like when we open God’s Word. The darkness of our situation suddenly seems brighter. The Bible reveals our next step.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” [Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)].
“The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” [Psalm 119:130 (NKJV)].
When seeking peace and contentment, we have a choice: window or Word. I choose God’s Word. How ‘bout you?