I didn’t know where to find help for my addicted, depressed daughter. What counselor should we take her to? How could I find one? What rehab should we send her to? Which one would be best for her unique needs?
I didn’t understand mental illness. What is bipolar – really? How does an anxiety disorder impact a person? How can I help when she has a panic attack?
I didn’t know why she cut and slashed her flesh. Was her life that bad? Did she want to die? Should I hide all sharp objects in our home or make her keep her door open?
I was scared she might take her life before her 21st birthday. Would I find her lifeless body in her room one morning? How do I sleep worrying about something like that?
I didn’t know if her problems were my fault. Was I really such a bad parent? What did I do to cause all of this? I was overwhelmed.
What would the future hold for her? What kind of life would she have? What were realistic expectations?
I certainly didn’t know if I could keep my sanity in the midst of so much heart break.
Was there anything I could know for certain? Anything helpful or encouraging?
Yes. I now believe there is. It took a long time, but I’ve come to see that there are two things I needed to know that could make a difference.
First, and foremost, is that I am not alone. Many other parents are going through the same thing. I meet people all the time who tell me my daughter’s story is the same as their child’s. But beyond that, I can know God is with me. The Creator of the universe. The Savior of the world. The Almighty, invisible, immortal, incomprehensible, all-wise, all-powerful God is there.
One of His names is Jehovah Shamma. It means The Lord is there. In the middle of the mess. Not far off. And He will never, ever leave. He will walk with me all the way through the storm as my Helper, Comforter, Strength-giver, Advocate,and Friend. What deep peace this gives me.
The second thing I needed to know is that God’s purposes will be revealed. I don’t know what that will look like in your life, but I can tell you that in mine, it has been comforting.
May it encourage you to know that if you are a believer in Jesus, your pain puts a spotlight on God. He has a reason for allowing it.
If we can say, “I’ll trust you in this, Lord, even though I don’t like it and sure don’t understand it, have your way,” then it opens the door for beautiful things to happen.
You are not alone. God is with you. His purposes will be revealed in your life.
These Bible verses encourage me to believe this is true:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you” (Psalm 9:9-10).
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair . . . We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. . . so we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen . . . ” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10, 18).
Help us believe these things are really true. May they be fulfilled in our lives. Thank you for the reminder that You’re with us. We’re never alone. Your purposes will be revealed even in the worst parts of our lives.
In the comforting name of Jesus. Amen.