Tag Archive | prayer

In Need of a Husband’s Support

Howie and Chris

Howie and Chris

Chivalry came from the most unlikely gentleman.

“Here, let me get that for you,” he offered. The blind teenager had enough vision to notice his teacher struggling to open the door. In one hand I held a heavy metal braille typewriter. The other held my bag of supplies and student files.

My student saw a problem and solved it. Like most males.

Men are wired to repair broken things. The reality is that some things can’t be fixed easily. Like a child’s mental illness (MI). Many fathers try to remedy the problem by explaining it away. Denying the diagnosis can only last so long.

How does that fit with a wife who has moved on in her grief to anger, bargaining, or depression? She needs emotional support from her spouse. When her mate is unable to provide what she needs, anger grows and bitterness can set in. Does that sound like your situation?

How can a husband care for his distraught wife if he’s not yet able to face the illness? If my blind student’s vision had been worse, he would have been unable to see my problem. He wouldn’t have come to my rescue.

What can a grief-stricken mother do when her husband can’t provide what she needs? Allow me to share what I’ve done. I don’t presume to have all the answers. I’m not a psychologist. Just a fellow mom who’s been through what you may be experiencing.

  1. Pray for God’s perspective of your husband. Imagine his need to fix the unfixable. That could only lead to helpless feelings. Think about his desire to protect his family members. Then contemplate what it would be like for him to realize he can’t protect your child from MI. Men love their tools. But no tool can reach inside your child to restore clarity of thought and joy. No gizmo can guard against turbulent emotions.
  1. Pray for your husband’s emotional healing. Look beyond your husband’s avoidance of the whole situation and see a grieving father. Any loving dad will surely feel sorrow. He won’t express it like a woman. But it’ll weigh like a concrete brick in the pit of his stomach. Perhaps your husband harbors guilt feelings. Ask God to move mightily in his heart and mind. So your husband can find forgiveness and peace from a loving Father.
  1. Ask God to provide what you need while your husband is grieving at his own pace. Through scripture He’ll speak words of healing you long to hear. Ask your Father to send a godly woman to support you. To cry with you, pray with you, and listen without judgment.

Let me encourage you. God hears your prayers. He heard mine. Howie has become attentive to my emotional needs regarding Chris. And he is gentle in his interactions with our son. God’s perfect peace has settled Howie’s heart. Yes, he’s sad. But Howie’s calm assurance comes from eyes lifted heavenward. He’s learned to let God carry the burden.

I told Howie this post would pertain to husbands raising kids with MI and asked him for any message he’d like to share. Here are his words of experience:

“It makes it easier when you realize there’s nothing you can do. It helped me when I realized it’s out of my hands. You still show love but you know you can’t fix it. That takes a long time to get to. Years.”

Howie hasn’t given up on Chris. He’s just given Chris over to God. Not given up…given over. When he seeks help for Chris, he doesn’t run to our tool shed; he goes to our prayer closet.

The centurion in Matthew faced an impossible situation with his suffering servant.  As a man, he understood authority. So he pleaded with Jesus to heal the servant.

“‘Lord,’ he said, ‘my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.’

“Jesus said to him, ‘Shall I come and heal him?’

“The centurion replied, ‘Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.’”

“When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, ‘Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith (Matthew 8:6-10).’”

What got Christ’s attention was his faith. Ask the Lord to increase your husband’s faith. To help him understand the power of the greatest Contractor of all. The Repairer of lives is accessible. Just a prayer away. When pipes are leaking a man gets a plumber. When wiring is frayed he hires an electrician. When his child is ill God can provide healing and comfort. Free of charge!

Advertisements

God, where are You?

walking in snow walking in snow2
‘Ever wonder if God is really there? You pray and there’s silence.
Sometimes, it seems a prayer goes unanswered. Other times, the answer isn’t what was expected.

Am I the only one who asks God for help and proceeds to tell the Creator of the universe exactly how to answer?

Recently, God provided precisely what I requested.

A winter storm hit our area. Meteorologists predicted sizable snow accumulations and blustery winds. Those forecasts didn’t deter Chris from his plans. Before the first snowflake, our son headed out to a bowling alley seven miles away. His intention: to walk home.

Chris proceeded to leave, carrying a huge backpack.
Howie offered, “I’ll drive you home.”
“No, I wanna walk home.”
Howie didn’t repeat the offer. No point disputing Chris’s decision. Arguing with someone who has mental illness (MI) isn’t a good idea…reasoning with him isn’t usually possible.
Although rejecting the assistance made no sense, Chris’s mind was set.

At nightfall, the storm arrived with a vengeance. Gusts of wind created white-out conditions.

I couldn’t get the image of Chris out of my mind. I pictured him trudging alone, in the dark, on the side of a snow-covered road. Thoughts of cars creeping by on slick surfaces tormented me.
Will drivers see him in the dark? What if a car spins out of control right next to him?

I calculated how long it would take to walk seven miles in good weather. Two hours, at least. But, battling defensive linebacker- strength winds could make it much longer. The journey could take close to four hours.

“Howie, please pray for someone to offer Chris a ride home.” With bowed heads, we lifted up our hearts.

The night wore on. I couldn’t sleep. What mother can sleep not knowing what’s happening to her vulnerable child who has MI? Midnight came. Still no Chris. 1:00… 2:00…

Will I hear the front door open or the phone ring?

Finally, at 2:45 AM the door opened, telling me Chris returned home safely.

The next day, Chris told Howie someone at the bowling alley offered him a ride. He turned it down.

Where was God when Chris rejected the second offer?
He was providing His answer to our specific prayer: for someone to offer Chris a ride.

Surely, God knew we meant that we wanted our son to be spared the ice-cold trek home.
But, God demonstrated His ever-present care for our son. He moved in the heart of the person at the bowling alley. He honored Chris’s free will. And protected Chris as he trudged home in a storm.

It’s hard to understand why anyone would reject help and willingly choose to venture out into a storm. Yet, isn’t that what we do? We ignore God’s presence in our troubles. God says, “I’m here for you.” We respond, “No thanks…I’ve got it. Never mind…I know the way. I can handle this myself. “

We head into the storm, rejecting God’s assistance. Our Father knows how my husband felt when Chris declined his offer. He knows what it’s like to watch us as we struggle needlessly on our own.

God promised Moses and Joshua He’d be with them. With that promise, Joshua was able to assure his people.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).”

When you face a river of uncertainty, can you hear the words God spoke to Joshua? The Lord your God goes with you. Do you hear Him beckoning you to walk with Him?

Will you stagger alone, or stroll with your Lord?

Listen to Him call you as you watch Alan Jackson perform the song ‘In The Garden.’

Ice Cream Sundae Prayers

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God…And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:14-16)

Little children know how to ask specifically for what they want. “Daddy, may I please have an ice cream sundae with two scoops of chocolate ice cream, lotsa rainbow jimmies, chocolate syrup, nuts, whipped cream, and two cherries?”

Their detailed lists help us know exactly how to bless them.

But requests we make to our heavenly Father are brief. “Please, God, help my child feel better.”

No details. Nothing specific.

Why do we hold back from asking exactly what we want? Perhaps we’re too busy. Maybe we fear He won’t provide what we need. Or that we’re undeserving.  So we whisper simply, “God please spare my child any stress.”

Our son, Chris, experienced his first psychotic episode while attending a public school. I dared to come before the Creator of the universe and lay a list of requests at His throne.

I cried out, “Oh merciful Father, move mightily in the hearts and minds of the educators in Chris’s life. Create in them a compassionate attitude toward Chris. Guide them to respond lovingly to our son. Provide a way for Chris to get relief and help if he feels overwhelmed during the school day.”

God’s answer: The principal presented Chris with a gold pass. A get-out-of-class-without-any-questions-asked pass. It could be shown to any teacher at any time. Teachers were instructed to allow Chris to leave class. Support personnel were designated on each floor to be available to Chris (guidance counselors, principal, and nurse).

During that year, Chris participated in a foreign exchange program. In return for us hosting a German student the previous year, Chris flew to Germany. He lived with a German family for a month. Instead of simply asking God to take care of Chris, I asked, “Please Father, help Chris take his medicine. Provide clarity of thought. Help him feel Your presence.”

Once again, God faithfully responded.

The next year, Chris wanted to live away from home. He chose to attend a university known as a party school. The specific prayer this time sounded like this: “Oh God, please provide just the right roommate for Chris. One that doesn’t drink. One that will be a perfect match for Chris.”

God’s answer: Chris had a Christian roommate. A quiet young man who took his studies seriously.

We want to bless our children when they ask us for things. Surely God wants to do the same. The difference? His love is perfect. His power is limitless. His faithfulness is dependable.

Cry, Abba and run into God’s loving arms. Boldly beg for His intervention.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).