Tag Archive | waiting

How to Love


Our 32-year-old son, Chris, doesn’t want to be treated like a child. He no longer wants me to meet his needs when he’s hurting. His desires are perfectly normal. Since he lives with us, I observe hints of difficulties. And sense his internal turmoil.

On his good days, it’s easy to get clues he’s feeling fine. He might join me on errands. Or stop to chat with me while passing through the kitchen.

For so many years, that ability to discern his emotional or mental needs served us well. Now, he doesn’t reach out. I only detect clues he’s in need.

He comes and goes and I watch how he walks.

He seems slumped over. Is that just my imagination?

I catch a glimpse of his face, careful to look without him noticing.

He looks sad. Or is that just fatigue from working out at the gym?

As long as he remains somewhat active, I know he’s not isolating. That’s a good thing. When he conceals himself in his room, I’m left to wonder.

How do I stop being a mom? Is it possible to extinguish the impulses to ease a child’s pain? How do others keep from worrying?

When a young child is hurting and vulnerable, our sole priority is to help. A mother’s instinct is to nurture, protect, and comfort. We’re drawn to minister to needs. It’s as natural as breathing. Impossible to stop for any length of time.

So how does a mom love a mature son who has serious mental illness (MI)?  Differently.

A ruler in the Bible shows us how we can love our adult son or daughter differently. Jairus was one of the synagogue leaders. His twelve-year-old daughter was dying. What did do?

Mark 4:22-24 tells us Jairus humbled himself and went to Jesus. Seeking help from the Great Physician. One who could heal his daughter.

Jesus agreed to go to his daughter. But then Christ stopped to heal another woman with a blood flow (Mark 5:25-34).

Can you imagine what Jairus must have felt? Surely, he was thinking: No, no, no…don’t stop now. There’s no time…my daughter is dying. PLEASE, Lord, come with me NOW! You can heal that woman later.

We can all relate to delays. Waiting in traffic is one thing. Waiting for God’s answer to our prayers is another thing. Especially when we’re praying for God to provide His peace and clarity of thought for our child with MI. That kind of waiting could lead to depression if we don’t hold onto our faith and keep our eyes fixed on Him. With our head buried deep in His Word.

Finally, Jesus healed the woman. But then the grateful woman had to tell Christ her “whole” story (Mark 5:33). Was Jairus feeling panicked? Surely, it didn’t help when others came spreading their fear. Informing him that “your daughter is dead” (Mark 5:35).

But, Christ calmed his fears.

“Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe’” (Mark 5:36).

Then Jesus raised up the girl (Mark 5:41-42).

What’s the message for us? When Christ delays, He’s still working. When fears bombard us, He’ll provide comfort. And remind us to keep believing and not waver in our faith.

When we don’t know what’s going on, we can trust in what we DO know. We do know God is still in control. He hears our prayers. He’s promised to comfort us. He’ll provide all we need.

Do you have an adult child with MI? In what ways do you show your love?

Casting Crowns’ song reminds us “TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS.”


Wait for it…

waiting waitingbest
What are you waiting for?
That can be taken two ways:
1. What do you wish would happen?
2. Why aren’t you doing something? What are you WAITING for? Do something!

Sometimes I ask God the second way. I don’t like to wait for answers to my prayers. Does anyone?

When our son Chris was in college, I drove him home to see his brother march at a high school football game. On the way to the high school, the cars came to a complete stop. No cars were moving on the highway. It became evident we would not make it to the game on time.

In sheer frustration, I reported, “Well, we’re stuck in a traffic jam.”
He replied with glee, “My first traffic jam!”
That familiar inconvenience was a new and exciting adventure for Chris. All the sights and sounds fascinated him. He delighted in the sounds of sirens whirring past us. The people getting out of their cars and the people in the oncoming cars gawking at the scene intrigued him. So, I opened up my lunchbox and we enjoyed some leftover snacks. And prayed for the accident victims.

Okay, so it’s possible to enjoy waiting in a traffic jam. But, how can mothers of children with mental illness (MI) be happy about waiting for restored joy and peace? How long must we wait for our child to have clarity of thought?

What does God think about our impatience? As parents, we know how annoying it can be. When traveling, children often ask “Are we there yet?” When heard incessantly, it can feel like TORTURE.

Now imagine a trip that takes 40 years to arrive at the destination. That’s how long it took the people of Israel to reach the land God promised them. Imagine the parents hearing their children ask, “Are we there yet?”

Thankfully, God doesn’t get annoyed when we bombard Him with daily questions. “When will You restore my child’s sweet personality? When will You heal my marriage? When will my life be normal again?…”

When God delays his answer, we can react in our usual impatience. Or we can respond like Chris did in the traffic jam. It could become an adventure of looking for the mixed blessings and lessons we might learn along the way.

In our weariness, our heavenly Father coaches us with His pep talk from Psalm 27:14. “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!”

Children are good at asking for what they want. In fact, they’re good at DEMANDING what they want. In spite of the same denial, a young child will ask to do something repeatedly. Finally, in desperation the child will plead, “Please. I’m begging you!” Sometimes the child will ask, “Why not? Why can’t I…?”
A parent doesn’t always want to give an answer. The answer may lead to an argument. So, the parent replies, “Because I said so.” Our no’s don’t mean we don’t love our child. Often it’s in our child’s best interest to say no. “No, you can’t stay up all night. No, you can’t have five cookies. No, you can’t date when you’re only 13.”

At times, we’re the same way. Waiting and hoping for something. Asking God again and again. Pleading with Him. “Please God. I’m begging You!”

Waiting is too hard. We ask, “Why not?” Inside we sulk. How can God’s “no” or “not yet” be in our best interest? Why would God have us wait to see our child’s mental stability restored? Why would He make us wait to see our child joyful once again? While seeking those answers, we might miss what He’s giving: comfort, strength, an eternal perspective…

Moms can’t be happy unless their kids are happy. How we desperately want our child with mental illness to be happy!

While hoping for the thing you most desire, hope also in God. Good self-talk would sound like, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” (Psalm 42:5, Psalm 42:11, Psalm 43:5)

Mental reminders of His promises will restore peace while waiting. Tell yourself, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)

What are you waiting for?