I Never Expected My Son to Experience Mental Illness

I Never Expected My Son to Experience Mental Illness

There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing our children struggle. I know firsthand the difficulty of caring for a special needs son. Regardless of whether is a spiritual attack, a physical ailment, or emotional struggle, the struggle is real and can spark a myriad of emotions from fear to isolation.

This week on the podcast Tammy Kennington and I discuss the difficulty of having a child who suffers from mental illness, and the hope we have in Jesus that gets us through. Please welcome Tammy to By His Grace.


I Never Expected My Son to Experience Mental Illness

by Tammy Kennington

The run-of-the-mill, plastic shopping bag twisted in my sweaty hand as a sharp bell alerted the security guard to my presence. Glancing at the ID I slid through the narrow window, he pushed a button and the door slowly opened. My rubber-soled shoes move soundlessly toward the front desk, but my heart beat a rapid tattoo.

Your son is in the hospital. Your son is in the hospital. Your son is in the hospital.

“My son had asked for a few things,” I muttered numbly to a nurse at the front desk.

“Well, you can’t give him a plastic bag.” I hadn’t thought of something as mundane as a plastic bag being a possible danger. Dumping the remaining items on the table, he continued. “Alright…no clippers. Bible. No shoes—they have laces.” 

I was stunned. 

I’d never expected the gregarious, smiling baby boy I’d once known to ever struggle with depression. I could never have anticipated the midnight phone call from a suicide hotline volunteer calmly sharing my son had a plan to end his life. I would never have imagined praying over my boy as I clung desperately to the hope that a bed might become available; I’d be assured of his safety for just a few days. 

The Thief of Mental Illness

Mental illness is a stealthy thief. It creeps into some lives as an acceptable, common illness like generalized anxiety. But for others it burglarizes much more than peace of mind. It has the capacity to fill the mind with racing thoughts, panic attacks, soul-sapping-depression, or moods that swing from one extreme to the other. 

And when mental illness effects a child, it impacts the family. 

Parents wonder what they could have done differently. They blame genetics or find fault with their approach to discipline. Siblings struggle to understand the behaviors, choices, and illness of their brother or sister. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other well-meaning relatives offer unsolicited advice, tips, and techniques. 

And in the midst of it all? The child or youth struggling with mental illness often feels broken, less than, and ashamed. 

Trusting God with Your Child

Oh, the grief that engulfed my heart while my son trudged through the painful valley. Many of my mama-crafted dreams were shattered when I realized the depth of my son’s emotional pain and struggle. But in their place, I’ve begun to understand surrender. I began claiming Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) for my child and trusting Him to fulfill its promise.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

The truth of God’s word gives me hope on the difficult days. Click To Tweet

On the long and harrowing days. On the days when my patience is thin and I wonder how a young man with a hurting heart will be successful in a world that doesn’t understand.

Seeking Help 

We need community in all areas of our lives and support with mental illness is no different. The child with mental illness needs a team of supporters, but remember to include safe people who can provide support for you, as well. One or two trustworthy friends, a group in the community, or church members who understand your situation will prove invaluable prayer partners and confidantes when you need a listening ear. 

Be an Advocate for Awareness.

Be an Advocate for Your Child.

As you begin to accept your child’s diagnosis, learn more. Research. Join online groups. Become your child’s best advocate within the school system, at church, and in other areas of his or her life. Teach your child what it means to advocate and begin to teach others about mental health. We can make a difference for our children by doing our small part!

Pray Without Ceasing

1 Thessalonians 5:17 exhorts, “Pray without ceasing.” Perhaps God will heal your child and mine this side of heaven through our prayers. If not, we need to pray against anxiety, rage, fear, and all of the emotions that threaten to unsettle our children and our homes and ask Him to fill each of us with peace, patience, and love as we minister to our loved ones through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

This is our opportunity, friends, to love well in the midst of the hard. We’ll grow weary. We’ll stumble. But we can look to the One in whom we know all things will one day be fully restored. 

“In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So, after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” (1 Peter 5:10) NLT

Peace and grace, Tammy


So thankfful to have Tammy Kennington as a guest ths week. If you are a parent of a child with mental illness I hope this post encourages you.  Be sure to listen to this week’s podcast with Tammy Kennington: Parenting Mental Illness for more encouragement.

 

Tammy Kennington: Parenting Mental Illness

Tammy Kennington: Parenting Mental Illness

On this episode of By His Grace we discuss parenting children with mental illness. My guest Tammy Kennington is an author, national speaker, and certified Christian life coach. Familiar with the impact of abuse, mental illness, and parenting in the hard places, Tammy hopes to lead women toward a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationship with the God who loves them. 

Tammy’s work has been featured by MOPS, Thriving Family, The Upper Room, Light from the Word, and several other publications. She writes regularly for Arise Daily and has had five children’s books published. 

You can meet regularly with Tammy online at her blog tammykennington.wordpress.com and download her e-book, Moving from Pain to Peace-A Journey Toward Hope When the Past Holds You Captive when you sign up for a weekly dose of hope. 

Please feel free to share, tag, or tweet this episode with friends and family.

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Thank you for listening to this episode, head over to By His Grace Podcast on I-Tunes to subscribe and leave us a review. Thank you!

Sarah Geringer: Christian Meditation

Sarah Geringer: Christian Meditation

Please welcome Sarah Geringer back to the By His Grace Podcast to discuss transforming your thought life. Sarah openly shares her struggle of promiscuity, being a child of divorce, and generational sin causing her to nearly get divorced herself. We talk about the importance of taking our thoughts captive and meditating on scripture to combat the lies the enemy uses to try and defeat us.

Sarah’s book: TransformingYour Thought Life: Christian Meditation in Focus is available for pre-order now and releases October 1, 2019.

Sarah Geringer
Writer and Artist, Sarah Geringer Creates

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Thank you for listening to this episode, head over to By His Grace Podcast on I-Tunes to subscribe and leave us a review. Thank you!

 

Wendie Pett: Reveal to Heal

Wendie Pett: Reveal to Heal

By His Grace podcast- Empowering YOU to live By His Grace through the struggles of life with host Misty Phillip.

Wendie Pett is the creator of Visibly Fit, a fitness and wellness program that focuses on the healing of mind, body, and spirit through faith-based coaching methods. She has a nationally syndicated TV show on the NRB Network, UpLiftv, and IBN Television.

“Coach Wendie” is heard weekly on KTIS radio in the Twin Cities and she is a steady contributor to Vegworld Magazine and The Christian View. For more information and free health resources go to www.wendiepett.com.

Learn to release emotions attached to weight gain by addressing mind, body, and spirit.The Visibly Fit program helps reveal underlying issues so that you can be healed beginning with forgiveness. Visibly fit is a 7- week coaching, mentoring, mindset, devotional program.

If you’re ready for a health change today, go to www.getvisiblyfit.com

Wendie Pett Social Media:

Facebook – www.facebook.com/visiblyfit

Instagram – @wendiepett

Twitter – @wendiepett

Youtube – www.youtube.com/wendiepett

Please feel free to share, tag, or tweet this episode with friends and family.

Tag me @MistyPhillip

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Thank you for listening to this episode, head over to By His Grace Podcast on I-Tunes to subscribe and leave us a review. Thank you!

 

Julie Holmquist:God’s Faithfulness in Transitions

Julie Holmquist:God’s Faithfulness in Transitions

By His Grace podcast- Empowering YOU to live By His Grace through the struggles of life with host Misty Phillip.

This week on By His Grace I welcome Julie Holmquist to discuss God’s faithfulness through life’s transitions. Julie is no stranger to transition. Her twin boys graduated from high school; one left for the military, and the other, headed off to Bible college. Her husband lost his job and they uprooted their family, including their special needs son, to move across the country for a new job.

Julie shares how her friend encouraged her to find joy in the process. She decided to be content and started embracing her new city and making new friends. Julie realized how God was orchestrating her steps. Through all of these transitions, Juile has learned to thrive. Her advice is to find your identity in Christ and let your roots go down deep.

Julie Holmquist is a writer with a passion to see God’s people encouraged, equipped, and empowered to look beyond their circumstances and to live out their God-given callings. Besides writing on her blog at Stuff of Heaven, she’s been featured in Focus in the Family, Devotable, and Refocus. She and her husband have four sons and have recently relocated from Colorado Springs, CO to Charlotte, NC.

You can also find Julie at the following:

Instagram at Stuff of Heaven

Twitter at Stuff of Heaven

Facebook at Stuff of Heaven (Julie Holmquist)

Julie Holmquist writes at Stuff of Heaven

Please feel free to share, tag, or tweet this episode with friends and family. Tag me @MistyPhillip

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Also, please head over to By His Grace Podcast on I-Tunes and leave us a review. Thank you!

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