Monday, November 3, 2014

The death of dreams

"But if it were me, I would encourage you.
    I would try to take away your grief."  Job 16:5 NLT 

I know the title sounds a bit morbid, but sometimes a reality check has to be straight forward. 

When David got a mental health diagnosis that was the beginning of the death of several of his dreams.  Not everyone with a diagnosis loses as much as he did, but many do.  Many of their hopes are shattered.  The prospect of a long lasting career was not in the cards for him no matter how hard he tried.  The longing to have a family was there but it was never to be.  Sheer will power was not going to cut it.  Often self-medication got in the way too.  Failure became a familiar word and then he not only "failed" but felt like a failure too. 
He couldn't hold down a job very long.
He couldn't stay in school.
He couldn't bring himself to get out of bed.
He couldn't follow through with many things.
Try as he might, he couldn't ….  It was a vicious cycle with no end in sight.  And you are helpless to stop the cycle or help.  You mostly have to watch the destruction and pain they are going through. 
Parents of these special needs kids go through continual grieving for all of the losses their son or daughter will face in their lives.  They grieve for them each step and rejoice greatly when even little victories are won.  Oftentimes those victories are short lived, but not always. 
When your child has severe mental illness it takes quite a toll on the whole family.
At various times in David’s life he was arrested, in jail, wanted on a bench warrant, homeless, driving under the influence, hallucinating, self-injuring, almost overdosing, suffering silently, delusional, and he even fled the country for a time. 
At other times he’d be hanging out with friends and family, on mission trips, ministering to others, clean, sober, fellowshipping, and enjoying the great outdoors. 
Currently I can think of friends with loved ones that are in jail, homeless, at a halfway house, at home, not working, fleeing, or living on their own now.  Some are doing well and some not so much.  They all need our encouragement and prayers.
Mental illness is just one example of the death of dreams.  Many other kids go through this and many other parents grieve along with them and ache for them. 
What can you do for these families? 

1.    Pray for them and encourage them.

2.    Help them in practical ways.

3.    Lastly, whatever you do, don't judge their parenting.
Prayer:  Lord, help me to pray for and encourage these families and if I am one of these families, help me to keep my focus on you and be an encouragement to the rest of my family.
Ann Gapinski
To see Ann's other posts click on her name under the labels section.

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