A prayer to get us by way of the Holidays…
Final evening I lastly did one thing I was dreading undertaking, I place up my Christmas tree. In my heart I was just about thankful the boys had been also busy to enable me as I knew it was going to be really hard. I wanted to spare them the discomfort of unpacking Elliott’s ornaments and his stalking.
As significantly as we attempt to pretend that factors are regular now, we regularly face reminders that they are not. I typically run into folks that ask me how Elliott is undertaking that have not heard about what has occurred. I employed to attempt to clarify factors, now I just say he is not effectively and he desires your prayers. I then typically sit in my vehicle and cry afterward. I nevertheless get mail for my son at occasions and salesmen nevertheless contact my residence searching for my son. All these factors have a tendency to remind me that my son is not right here, and only God knows when he will be residence once again.
As I pummeled by way of the worn out Christmas tree box and hastily packed away ornaments from final year, I intentionally slowed down and took my time. I kept reminding myself that I created it by way of his birthday, the 9th. It was a morbid kind of inner pep speak I employed to pump myself up to manage decorating this tree – reminding myself that I had currently conquered the one particular year anniversary of his initial suicide try, incarceration and his now passed 23rd birthday. I was mentally preparing myself to face a further Christmas with no him, as I lovingly separated bulbs and silver glittered ice cycles.
I lastly unpacked his ornaments and his stalking. Every single one particular holding memories of a distinctive time. A happier time ahead of schizophrenia presented itself. A time when I looked forward to him coming residence with such anticipation. A time when we sat at the table and employed glue and glitter to customize these extremely bulbs and stalkings. A time that appears so extremely extended ago. It only reminded me that if the state of Florida had been to get their way – my son may perhaps by no means come residence once again.
I forced myself to decorate it anyway. I reminded myself that I do have other kids and they want to have a semi-regular Christmas. They have to have the tree to do that, they have to have their lives to resume. So I proceeded to trim the tree in tears, the previous 23 Christmas’ flooding by way of my thoughts in flashbacks of previous presents, Christmas trips, and the thousands of “good times” we had as a complete loved ones ahead of Dec. six, 2017 changed our lives forever.
And the the Lord reminded me that I am not alone in my suffering…
I began to believe about all the parents whose kids will not be residence for Christmas this year mainly because they are now deceased – and will by no means come residence once again. Their seriously mentally ill kids may perhaps have completed suicide, died at the negligence of their care providers, been killed by the police or died when incarcerated. Some untreated mentally ill kids passed away in sad silence on a street corner or an alleyway, lastly succumbing to the components. There are thousands of folks who have passed away mainly because of our absolute negligence as a nation to care for their psychiatric desires, and there are actually thousands a lot more ideal now that are at threat to not make it by way of till Christmas subsequent year.
A lot of grieving parents will be facing what I am facing this year, the absence of a loved one particular at the Vacation season. Some absences will be due to incarceration, some can be attributed to involuntary or voluntary psychiatric commitments, other individuals more than the vagrancy of a kid and other individuals, regrettably, will be mourning the actual death of their SMI kid.
This is a time when we are taught to be cheerful, thankful and complete of the Christmas spirit. This inner expectation to be satisfied regardless of our inner sorrow compounds the circumstance. We have other individuals to believe of, other kids and possibly spouses, that count on us to decorate, shop and wrap presents – in spite of our personal desires. The stress to make positive the Christmas show need to go on can be immense.
As a Minister in my neighborhood, I have been invited to many Christmas Contadas, Christmas Choir Performances, and Vacation Celebrations and Parties. Everybody in attendance is constantly in that trademark Christmas cheer. Folks are dressed in their Sunday greatest, smiles galore, as kids happily anticipate all the glory of what this time of year represents to them. It is a attractive time of year, and but at occasions, it is really hard to really feel the beauty myself.
It is in these occasions I gently remind myself to concentrate on the factors that eternally matter. That the Bible tells us that this planet is short-term and so are our afflictions. I remind myself to concentrate on the reality that Christmas is about the birth of our Lord and Savior, that in him there is constantly hope, and that in him we have eternal life. That even in the occasion of physical death, my kid will be redeemed into his loving arms. That he has offered Elliott the most valuable and strong and priceless of all gifts currently – the present of salvation. That his hand is upon Elliott, even in jail. As the old hymn tells us that his eye is even on the sparrow, how significantly a lot more so is it on his kid, Elliott.
I comprehend the feeling of attempting to make your self satisfied, it does not truly function all also effectively. Happiness can appear fleeting, it is, of course, a short-term emotion but the joy of the Lord is one thing else. The joy of the Lord can overpower even the deepest of sorrows we may perhaps practical experience in this lifetime if we find out to lean on the Lord in prayer and in faith. I want to let you know that I comprehend this season is not constantly that joyous for a multitude of distinctive causes, but I want to encourage you that the Lord does care and he is there, prepared to enable you in your deepest occasions of inward darkness.
Please pray this prayer with me if you also are possessing a significantly less than Merry Christmas in 2018 for what ever explanation, know that God loves you and he is there prepared and capable to comfort you.
Dear Heavenly Father,
As this Christmas approaches Father, I ask that you guard my thoughts and my feelings against the feelings of sorrow or sadness that in some cases dwell inside me more than the conditions in my life that result in me discomfort. I know that your heavenly hand is in my circumstance and that you want to give me the peace that passes all understanding, Lord. I pray for that peace ideal now, a peace that transcends the veil of sorrow and brings comfort to my aching heart. Lord, you comprehend my human shortcomings, you comprehend my conditions and my limitations right here in this planet and I ask that you give me your strength to stroll by way of the Christmas season with gladness and a joy that I know only comes from you.
Heavenly Father, heal my heart, bring peace to feelings and make nevertheless my thoughts. Send the Holy Spirit to comfort me in my deepest emotional and spiritual desires. Providing my heart and soul that significantly required peace and solace that only comes by way of you. I pray for all these that in the course of this vacation season uncover themselves possessing a really hard time acquiring the joy of the Lord. I ask that you renew their faith in you, replace their human weakness with your God strength, and carry me by way of to a New Year with a refreshed spirit, filled with your like, grace, and mercy for all.
I pray in the Holy name of Jesus Christ,