In those days when you pray I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:12-13
Over two decades ago my husband, Jay, landed in the hospital due to a severe depressive episode. This storm arrived like a tornado and was the beginning of a troublesome, lonely and often chaotic journey for our family – it was no picnic. While we were raising three young boys the search for effective treatment was exhaustive.
Finding support and medical resources would often leave me feeling angry, weary, frightened all while unsure where to turn. I believed very few people could relate or understand, therefore I shared our concerns with only a trusted few. Over the course of the next decade, we at times ignored mental illness, hiding it because of stigma, our own shame or embarrassment. My greatest desire was for mental illness to leave us alone, unscarred. We all accept that ignoring a broken leg, high fever or heart attack is rarely a beneficial response. I have learned it is common for many to push aside the need for treatment. Why is that?
In search of help, I began to intensely pursue God through His Word and prayer. Over time this became my lifeline. My personal relationship with God became the catalyst that led to healing, not only for me but surprisingly for Jay. A genuine hope surfaced within me as I daily began leaning into God’s Word. As I drew closer to God, passionate prayer for Jay and our situation became a constant. I longed to sense the Lord’s presence in deeper ways. I believe intercessory prayer is powerful for those who are unaware of the prayers.
The strength and encouragement I have found through my growing relationship with God endures even the hardest of times. God has transformed me and may even be using me as part of the healing process. Looking back over the decades I recognize the hand of God helping us in so many of our struggles. It was God’s loving care that got us through unwelcome circumstances and directed our steps when we felt uncertain how to move forward.
God can be found within the journey of mental illness. He can be the foundation to build your life upon when everything around your loved one seems unreachable, dark and with little hope for healing. His plans for you are for good and He is a loving compassionate Father. You will find him when you seek Him with all your heart.