It was in the quiet of the night. Everyone was asleep at last. Now it was my time. The time I used for refueling and recharging after a day of facig my child’s fear.
When You Are Worried and Weary From the Weight of Your Child’s Fear
It was my “me time.”
My creative time.
But as each evening arrived, I could do no more than collapse into my bed. I craved mindless activities. Researching adoption transitions and medical options was just too much for me. No longer could my mind reach into depth-filled content. Things that once invigorated me now had no appeal. Mental and emotional exhaustion was all I knew.
But underneath the exhaustion, there was a whisper.
“You know where your hope comes from.”
It was time to tiptoe through their rooms, lay a hand upon their sweet heads, and do the only thing I knew to do in those moments.
After leaving the boys’ rooms, I opened the door to my daughter’s room. The nightlight caught her beautiful profile. The round little cheeks. The rosy glow of her skin that not very long ago had been pale and paper thin.
Sleep had finally come and peace rested over her spirit. The anxiety no longer written across her face. I kneeled down alongside her bed, but knew better than to touch her. My touch would cause the screaming to return. So, with hands outstretched, I searched for the words to pray. Instead, I only found my tears.
What do I pray? Where do I even start?
The truth is that God doesn’t need our words. He only needs the cries of our hearts. The Spirit intercedes on our behalf.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. -Romans 8:26-27 (ESV)
But I wanted words. Real words to lay before Him in prayer. Authentic conversation with the only One who could help me in my need right now.
I wanted the right words with the right details. The specifics. Not just strength, comfort, peace, and wisdom. But real words that fit our situation. Words that expressed the desires of my heart for my daughter and for our family. Words as therapy for my aching soul.
As I sat on the floor at the edge of the bed, the glow of her nightlight caught a little stack of books on the floor. In it lay one I had purchased long before our daughter came home to us. Prayers and Promises for My Little Girl by Stormie Omartian.
As I skimmed through the book nougats of treasured prayers and scripture gave me a start to the words I was missing in that moment. I began whispering those prayers as I sat in the glow of the nightlight and the presence of God settled in.
You see, that’s how God is. He meets us where we are, giving us all that we need for just one more step. And each new step is a new beginning because that’s what God promises us.
New mercies fresh every morning. Including new hope in the face of fear.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” -Lamentations 3:22-24 (ESV)
So friends, just as I needed help that night long ago, you may need help in your situation tonight with your child. My prayer that night petitioned God to remove a spirit of fear from my daughter. Maybe you are searching for the words and Scripture to pray against the fear rising up in your child as well. May my prayer be the tool God uses to give you the start for which you long.
(Looking for more on defeating fear? This post about fear will help you understand what the Bible tells us about it. And this post about parenting with holy confidence instead of fear may encourage you as well!)
#MomentsofHope Featured Post
Those years ago when I longed for the words to the prayers of my heart, I struggled because I was very much alone in my journey. Our daughter’s needs went beyond a simple adoption transition. She is a little girl whose start to life was traumatic. And much like most children coming from hard places, the lack of love, attention, and care had taken it’s toll on her mental health. It had gravely effected the way in which she could love.
Very few understood that. They saw her beautiful brown eyes and smile that could light up the room. Much of the world’s opinion then and even now believe that love conquers all.
What they don’t realize is that love doesn’t always look the way we envision.
[bctt tweet=”Love doesn’t always look as we envision it username=”lori_schumaker”]
So when friends and family, with hearts filled with compassion, saw the outside beauty, they couldn’t wrap their minds around my life behind the closed doors. What they saw and what was real were not the same. My daughter knew how to charm others, but she didn’t know how to be loved. Love was dangerous. It was something to fight.
So as friends disappeared and help no where, I was lonely. I was grieving the daughter I loved and the life I’d had. I was trying desperately to save her life and hold onto our family and marriage. And no one seemed to get it.
But today I’ve come to know I’m not alone in this anymore. Awareness has increased yet still not enough. Mental illness still today is judged more often than it is helped. Those caring for loved ones with mental health issues are often isolated, and even worse, targeted.
This week, Maree Dee of Embracing the Unexpected, opens our eyes to judgement and mental illness. Her words resonated with me and I know they will encourage and challenge you as well. If you have never experienced mental illness, her words will challenge you to examine your thoughts and actions, as well as inspire you to promote awareness. If you are living with mental illness in some way or another, her words will give you hope.
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