My heart continues to ache over the ongoing, unwise—even life-threatening—choices of a loved one, who is battling mental health issues.
The main gift as a writer, speaker, mental health worker, God has given to me is the gift of proclaiming truth. What hurts so much is that this loved one refuses to receive truth. At times she becomes verbally abusive when I speak it to her.
As I reflect on my own life, I know I’ve been in the place of rejecting truth. That’s exactly where the enemy wants us. Even as Christians, we can be enticed to go there.
This dearly loved individual surrounds herself with peers who believe lies, and they support one another in this.
Other circumstances have threatened to bring me into the pit lately as well: more allegations of sexual assault—even in the writing world, Bill Cosby in the news as he was sentenced to prison, the sad supreme court justice confirmation hearing, severe problems in extended family members, other loved ones with mental health problems, marriages of loved ones failing, other loved ones caught in the grips of addiction and dependence on many other enticements of this world rather than on the Lord.
The sexual assault crisis, especially as it pertains to Bill Cosby, brings back memories of the sexual assault against myself in my college years, which was done in the same way. I was given a drug, and then the person, whom I knew and trusted, raped me. I was conscious, but I could not move.
As I think of these matters and others, I feel oppressed by the evil of this world.
Yet in the midst, a song has been coming on the radio, which has lifted my spirits. It is “Counting Every Blessing” by Rend Collective.
I listen and remember that the world has been evil since the fall, and that’s why Jesus came. Because of that, I have so many blessings, which cannot be taken away.
As thoughts of negative circumstances invade my mind, and fears of the future threaten to overwhelm me, something else invades my mind: the words, “counting every blessing.” And then I begin to do just that.
One blessing is that God’s love for me and my loved ones will never fail. Another is that He will always be with and for me and them. Yet another is the promise of heaven that nothing on this earth can take away. Then there are the many promises in His Word. Each one is a blessing I can count.
At this moment, three come to mind:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 NIV
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 NKJV
God is keeping each of these promises as I go through these latest difficulties.
What I know is that I must keeping holding on to Him. Others have not done as well in the midst of the crises and calamities of life because they chose to hold on to someone or something else. Only He can help us through every dark and difficult day. And if we let Him, He uses the difficulties to make us more like Jesus and to help us grow in trusting Him.
A saying comes to mind, which always holds true: “Life is hard, but God is good.”
During these days, I do not want to doubt God’s goodness. I desire to grow in trust and be a shining light for Him. He wants to give me everything I need to do just that.
God wants my wayward loved one to grow in trusting Him as well. I believe that He will one day use her as a shining light for Him. How wonderful it is that her bad choices do not disqualify her from that.
When I asked God recently how to pray for this loved one, Psalm 139:7-12 came to mind.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
I pray she will sense God reaching out to her in her darkness, and that she will take hold of His hand.
“Counting Every Blessing” by Rend Collective