Blessings In The Midst Of My Child’s Mental Illness

November 17, 2016

I know many of you are thinking how on earth can a “Mom” put the word “blessing” and “mental illness” in the same sentence. I thought that too until it had become apparent that I had changed for the better through this experience with my child’s mental health challenges.

Let me make it clear; I am by no means saying, mental illness is a blessing. It would be so unfair and incorrect to make such a bold statement.  However, in the midst of the pain, frustration, and sickness I have found tremendous blessings.

Qualities were born in me, qualities I had no idea I could possess. 

So as I sat down to count my blessings this Thanksgiving I thought, why not do it differently.  Why not name the good that has come from loving someone in the midst of their mental illness.

I want you to know right from the get-go I am blessed beyond measure. My children with mental illness are blessings.   No, that does not mean that I am glad my kids have mental illness (who would?).  Nor does it mean we do not have challenging days because we do.  But what it does say is out of the difficult times some fantastic qualities and blessings have arisen.  I have discovered that I can see the good in the midst of hard circumstances.  It is a blessing that GOD chose me to be the mom of some incredible and courageous kids.

BLESSINGS IN THE MIDST OF MY CHILD’S MENTAL ILLNESS

I AM BRAVE 

When one gets to sit so close to someone that exhibits great struggle yet pushes through, it begins to rub off. It spurs me on to be courageous just like them. As I watch my loved ones fight mental illness,  I too can do hard things. Pushing myself to step out of my comfort zone has brought the realization that I am so much more capable than I ever thought.

I AM BOLD WHEN NEEDED

Fighting like a mighty warrior is possible when it is warranted,  needed or deserved.  Confidence and boldness can be found when standing up to speak regardless of the audience.

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. Letting go of the past, the way life used to be, and stopping the worrying about the future of what might be, creates less suffering. It is a beauty never experienced before.

I HAVE PATIENCE 

Most of the time I can 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 good 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 JUDGEMENTAL

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 BE SIMPLE 

Simple living allows more time for what is most important, like relationships.  I have learned that “simple” is okay. Finding those perfect napkins for the table may not need to be high on the priority list.

THE VALUE OF COMMUNITY 

Two are genuinely better than one.  We all need a tribe to keep us going, to encourage us, to call us out on our mistakes, to hold us up when we fall, and to pray for us continually. The people who have surrounded me made this journey possible.

I do have to say that none of the above occurred on their own nor do they exist all of the time.

MY #1 BLESSING HAS BEEN MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD 

I thought I was close to God until I walked through deep waters of watching my child suffer and not being able to fix it. However, I discovered a relationship through my dependence on him that I never knew was possible.

 

Of course, I wish that my blessings had come differently.  I would never have wanted my child to endure mental illness. Nevertheless, it is what it is. This year I am taking stock of the blessings in the midst of my child’s mental illness.

Hoping you will take a moment this season and look closely at the blessings that have been born out of hardships. We would love to hear what your blessings are in the comments below.


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20 Comments

  1. Reply

    Stephanie

    Maree Dee, this post reminds us of the way God redeems all things. I resonate with so many of these. It makes me wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn’t been blessed in such a way. These blessings have enabled me to see life through a lKingdom lens.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Stephanie,
      I know exactly what you mean. God is so good at “redeeming all things.” I shudder at who I might have been. However, I do have to say I wish it could have been me instead of my child. Blessings, Maree

  2. Reply

    Jacquie

    Thank you for sharing this. I have had these same feelings throughout my sons illness as well. You wrote beautifully what has been in my mind.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Jacquie,

      So glad you too have had the same things on your mind. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

      Maree

  3. Reply

    Christin Baker

    Such a powerful post! These are lessons we can all learn, no matter what valleys we find ourselves in.Thank you for sharing your heart, and blessings to you and your precious child–may the Lord continue to surround your family with His loving grace!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Christin – Thank you for your beautiful words. Yes, we all go through something and find ourselves in valleys at some point on our journey. Thank you for stopping by. Blessings to you, Maree

  4. Reply

    Leslie

    So very powerful, Maree. I love the picture you share of how God can change our perspectives and bring glory to Himself through us if we continue to press through the difficulties. Thank you for this!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Leslie, Thank you for your encouraging and kind words. I am so glad you stopped by my site. I just took a peek at your blog, and it looks fantastic. I look forward to getting to know you. I am going to jump on over there and read a post right now. Maree

  5. Reply

    Glynnis

    Maree – This is an incredible post. I too have walked through very hard things with my children – those added to our family through adoption and those added biologically. God has used these experiences to break many unpleasant things in me. Thank you for putting words to what I have yet to put words to. This encouraged and inspired me.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Glynnis, I am so glad me putting words to my experience encouraged you. As we know, life’s hard. I haven’t always been in a place to be able to look back and acknowledge the blessings. It is so difficult when you are in the middle of it. I am so glad I was there this year and it could give hope to others. Maree

  6. Reply

    Michel

    Great article! I can better understand more now than I did 12 weeks ago! Thank you Thank you Thank you! We too are blessed and have much to be grateful for.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      That is music to my ears. I am so glad you can see how much you have to be grateful for. You both are amazing parents.

  7. Reply

    Joan Richmond

    this is a wonderful piece. I cannot claim to have learned all that you talk about, but it is something to work for. And finally, my relationship with God has carried me this far and will continue to do so in the future. keep up the good work in encouraging those of us dealing with a loved one with mental illness.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I am so glad your relationship with God is carrying you forward and that my piece was encouraging. All of the things I mentioned are true, but that doesn’t mean I have it all mastered or feel that way all of the time. I am a work in progress, but I find that having a community of people that understand helps. Thank you for commenting and visiting my site. I hope to chat with you again soon.

  8. Reply

    Melissa

    Finding the blessings in the midsts of pain– a beautiful thing! Thank you!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Thank you!

  9. Reply

    Shirley

    Very inspiring. I’ll print it so I can have it available to read often. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Thank you! It was so good for me to sit and count my blessings. It is so easy to get stuck on what is difficult. I would love to hear a few of your blessings.

  10. Reply

    Chelsie

    This is so good and encouraging. It’s so inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I am so glad this post inspired you. Thank you for the encouragment and the reply.

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