Matthew 10: 27
Seven years ago I found myself in the most difficult situation I had ever faced. My twenty-four year old daughter was in a hospital in the psychiatric wing. Her mind left our world completely and she was living in a world of her own. My efforts to reach her were unsuccessful. She retreated to a place I couldn’t go and no amount of reasoning could convince her that the thoughts she had were not true. I felt completely defeated as my husband and son took legal action to get her committed in a final effort to restore her health. We learned she had schizophrenia.
I turned to my faith, and found myself spending additional time in prayer each morning. I tried to make sense of what had happened. At first I was very angry at God. How could he do this to our family? Hadn’t I been a faithful servant for many years? And my daughter had been employed as a youth minister when mental illness struck her down. I felt God had slapped us in the face in spite of our efforts to do what we thought was His will.
I knew very little about mental illness, getting my information from television and movies. Through a series of phone calls from one concerned person to another, a phone number for help soon reached my ears. I called the number and learned of a class for families in similar situations. I signed up immediately and began a journey into love and the understanding of brain disorders. The education I received gave me a glimpse of the world my daughter had entered, but more importantly I was given tools to help me cope.
I continued to pray for God’s guidance. I came to the place where I was able to give my child back to the Father in my heart and to vow to follow Him in spite of the pain. Through research and prayerful reflection I felt God was instructing me to work every day with my daughter to keep her brain engaged. Each day I printed a word search game that we did together, and I played games with her that involved the addition of numbers. Some days she was too exhausted to complete them, but she tried.
Over the period of four years, with intensive therapy and the proper medications, my beautiful daughter got her life back together. This journey was a series of baby steps and each accomplishment was celebrated. Eventually she was able to be employed and live on her own. And I rejoiced. I knew my prayers had been answered and I had witnessed a miracle.
The classes I took were an important part of my transformation. I signed up for training and became a teacher for the organization that educated me. I found myself on the opposite side of the table, guiding other families into the world of acceptance, love and understanding for mental illness. I share with families my own pain, but also my hope in the Lord and His ability to be glorified in all situations.