Tag Archive | persevere

Waiting for the Payoff

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What’s the point of all we do? No one thanks us for showing unconditional love to our child who has mental illness (MI). No one knows our heartache. Or our loneliness. What keeps us going? How do we continue to support our child with little or help or no recognition?

We don’t see the fruit of our labor like other moms raising kids without MI. There are days when discouragement sets in. Thoughts of our child’s future taunt us.

Will he ever be fully healed? Will joy and peace ever return to him? Will he ever find his place in life?

We’re tempted to shake our fist at God and cry, “Why do you allow this misery to continue?” How is it possible to resist the temptation to lash out at God? By remaining in His Word and clinging to His promises.

How do we face another day? What does keep us going? Certainly we’re driven by our steadfast love for our child. We’re also propelled by the rewards God promises.

Matthew reminds us that there will be an eternal payoff.   He tenderly shifts our focus by saying,

“Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).

Eye on the Prize:

MI tempts us to abandon our faith in God. For those who trust in God, Jeremiah offers encouragement.

“… ‘your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me, says the Lord’”  [Jeremiah 39:18b (NKJV)].

For those who earnestly seek Him:

I can’t imagine dealing with MI without access to a real and living God. When earthly reality gets shattered, I can rely on the Truth that God exists. He not only invites us to turn to him in our distress, but He promises to reward us for doing so.

“Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

For those who persevere under trial:

When things get tough, it helps to have someone cheering us on. Teaching was especially tough for me when multiple sclerosis (MS) hit. My husband kept assuring me, “You can do this.” God reassures us that we can endure with His help. He doesn’t say, “See if you can make this for one more year.” That would sound IMPOSSIBLE. He calls us to trust Him one day at a time. Just like when He told the Israelites wandering in the wilderness to trust Him for manna for each day. For those of us who trust him afresh each morning, He promises a reward.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

The online Oxford University Press dictionary defines “persevere” as to, “Continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success.”

Is that a picture of your efforts? Do you continue to do all that is within your power to help your child, even though deep down inside you suspect it won’t make a difference?

James tells you that you will be rewarded for persevering under trial—for ministering to your child in so many ways and for such a long time.

For those who run as God’s athlete:

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).

Running the race God has set before us involves strenuous effort, self-control, and concentration.

In the face of MI, we focus solely on fixing our child’s problems. Like a marathon race, our track requires strenuous effort. We can say we ended the day victoriously if we devoted strenuous effort to seek God in the trial.

Ours is a daily battle of fighting fears, self-pitying thoughts, and anger.

When circumstances take a turn for the worst, I’ve had to deliberately interrupt my own negative thinking.

Why must I have to face this AGAIN? I’m just so tired of—No! Dear Father, put a hedge about my thoughts and emotions. Block out any negative thoughts. Help me deal with this situation. Give me steady emotions and Your wisdom.

We can exert self-control. Self-control that will be seen in our gentle responses to our child, regardless of his actions. Restraint that doesn’t come from self-will, but from the Holy Spirit in us.

We can demonstrate a constant concentration on our goal. Many of us function with a clear focus on heavenly matters, in addition to life’s pressing concerns. Yes, we help our child find good treatment, compassionate therapists, and a purpose for their life. In the midst of it all, we also remember to invest Truth into his heart. We share verses and pray with him. And we remind him that God’s power is greater than any problems. We reassure him that God is still on the throne.

Run your race with renewed confidence. God will enable you today and reward you for all eternity. He’ll give you treasures in heaven and a crown of life. That will truly be the best payoff ever!

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Standing Together

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I had selfish reasons for asking my friend the question. “Is your daughter still dealing with depression?” Truly, I wanted to know if her daughter’s medication was helping her deal with the demands of life. I had been praying for her. But, I also needed to hear how my friend was dealing with her daughter’s mental illness (MI). If she could hang onto her faith, then I’d find renewed confidence in my own faith. An encouraging word from my friend would remind me that God is able to help us in the midst of a very dark time.

Happily, I found that the new medication was helping. What’s more, my friend expressed unwavering faith. Her strong trust in the Lord bolstered my faith.

If she can keep her eyes on the Lord through this trial, I can do likewise.

Godly friends can show us the way to handle great sorrow. When the enemy tries to saturate our soul with fears, they serve as living examples of how it’s possible to rely on God’s peace.

It reminds me of Paul’s inner struggle when he wanted to see his fellow believers in Thessalonica. Satan had been hindering Paul from going to them.

“For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way” (1 Thessalonians 2:18).

Has your child’s MI made you feel like Satan is blocking your way, keeping you from moving on?

How did Paul respond?

“So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain” (1 Thessalonians 3:1-5).

He got to the point where he couldn’t bear it any longer.

We can relate to that, can’t we?

What did Paul do? He sent Timothy to go to Thessalonica. He needed to know if his fellow believers had been under similar temptations. He needed to know that their faith remained strong.

Timothy’s encouraging report comforted Paul.

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord (1 Thessalonians 3:7-8).

We gain strength from each other when we stand firm in the Lord. It’s uplifting to hear that a fellow believer has remained strong in the midst of dark trials.

Those of us who have lived many years supporting a child with MI can encourage others who are new in their journey. We can share how God revealed Himself in the midst of trials. And those starting their journey can be encouraged to persevere.

We can relate stories about how God has been true to His promises. And bolster a fellow mom in her faith walk.

We can tell about God’s faithfulness, and others will gain strength to carry on.

We can endure our own trials when we know others are finding strength in the Lord. Because we share the same living God. Who cares for us, helps us, strengthens us, provides for us, protects our children, and comforts us.

We’re connected in raising children with MI. And we’re connected in our faith. We can carry on by encouraging each other in our unwavering faith.

Remember, Paul needed to reach out to fellow believers. And so do we.