Sometimes life turns upside down in a mere moment, and we are met with intense pain. Other times it comes on like a slow leak which continually drips. We step into a new world we never anticipated riddled with hurt, frustration, and hard stuff to persevere through. We may know "God's Got This," yet the pain remains. Will you choose to see the blessings in the pain?
How about if it is your child's mental illness?
Typically, I instantaneously begin looking for the good under challenging circumstances. However, when our storm hit and my beautiful children started showing signs of mental illness, it wasn't so easy.
Finding blessings in the pain of my child's mental illness seemed ludicrous!
After all, how could a mom find any blessings in the midst of her child's mental illness? My children suffer, it is unfair, and nothing seems right about it.
Why would anyone go searching for blessings in mental illness? After all, disorders like this can be ugly, complicated, and quite honestly painful for everyone involved.
However, we know God can and will bring good out of terrible hardships.
"We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
But we must be willing to look for the blessings in the pain.
Never in a million years did I think or consider I could watch my children suffer and find goodness in my life. It seemed so wrong at first. But then I began to understand the truth.
It is possible to endure terrible circumstances and find blessings at the same time; one will not cancel the other out.
Let me make it clear; I am by no means calling, mental illness a blessing. It would be unfair and incorrect to make such a bold statement. However, in the middle of this pain, frustration, and sickness I have found God's goodness. He has forever changed me to be a better person.
Qualities were born in me, qualities I had no idea I could possess.
BLESSINGS IN THE MIDST OF MY CHILDREN'S MENTAL ILLNESS
I AM BRAVE
When one gets to sit so close to someone who endures great struggle yet pushes through, it begins to rub off. It spurs me on to be courageous, step out of my comfort zone, and realize I too - can do hard things.
I AM BOLD WHEN NEEDED
Fighting like a mighty warrior is possible when it is warranted, needed or deserved. The little girl in me who wouldn't raise her hand in class can find the confidence and boldness deep within to stand up and advocate for those she loves.
I KNOW THE VALUE OF LIVING IN THE PRESENT MOMENT
As I live in the present moment, it comes alive with all it has to offer. Learning to let go of the past and not worry about the future creates less suffering. It is a beauty never experienced before.
I HAVE LEARNED PATIENCE
Waiting is hard, but I have learned to wait well.
I CAN LET GO
My “striving to achieve” attitude isn't always helpful. The world will survive if I do not cross my t's and dot my I’s. Striving for excellence is useful but not paramount; sometimes "good enough" is just right.
I AM STRONG
No longer do I need to go through life worried the "Big" life challenges will cause me to fold: I am strong.
I AM LESS JUDGMENTAL
If your kid is screaming in public or you show up to the grocery store in pajamas, I won't judge. Silently, I will cheer you on. It is freeing to let go of that role of judge and jury.
I CAN BE ACCEPTING
Acceptance allows me to live life as it is - not what I want it to be. I can wholly accept things, people, and circumstances where I never could before. When I do this, it helps me to quit fighting reality and say, "It is what it is" and move forward.
I CAN LIVE A SIMPLE LIFE
Simple living allows more time for what is most important, like relationships. I have learned “simple” is okay.
THE VALUE OF COMMUNITY
Two are genuinely better than one. We all need a tribe to keep us going, encourage us, call us out on our mistakes, hold us up when we fall, and pray for us continually. The people who have surrounded me have made this journey possible. Thank you!
A DEEPER RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
I save the best for last. My #1 Blessing has been a deeper relationship with God.
As I began practicing putting my complete trust and dependence on God, I discovered a relationship with Him I never even knew was possible. He is my best friend and has never left my side. God weeps with me as I journey through the deep waters of watching my children suffer and not being able to fix their problems.
He whispers in my ear - "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
I do have to say that none of the blessings above occurred on their own nor do they exist all of the time.
I am blessed beyond measure. Of course, this does not mean I am glad my kids have a mental illness (who would?) Nor does it mean we do not have challenging days because we do. The pain is real. But what it does say is out of the difficult times some fantastic qualities and blessings have arisen. It is a blessing that GOD chose me to be the mom of some incredible and courageous kids. Along this journey, I will continue to take stock of the blessings in the midst of my children's mental illness.
Your pain may not be the same as mine. But at some point, we all meet up with the unexpected and life seems unbearable. Will you only see the hardship?
I encourage you today to stop and count your blessings which have come from persevering through painful situations.
Looking for God's goodness in the middle of hardship won't wipe away the pain, but it will help you to embrace the unexpected and persevere well.
Will you choose to find blessings in the pain?
In it together,
This article is adapted from a post originally published on Embracing the Unexpected.
About Maree Dee:
Maree Dee is a Writer | Speaker | Advocate - passionate about “Embracing Life in the Midst of the Unexpected.” She is a work in progress, accepting God’s grace and mercy every day. Maree believes together with God we can find incredible blessings along the way - even in the midst of the unexpected.
You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Embracing Faith and Mental Illness from a Caregiver’s Perspective.
Maree and her daughter will be giving a presentation at Circles of Hope: Mental Health Support on May 21, 2019 - "How to Support Someone with an Anxiety Disorder." Click here for more information.