One year has passed since the day we walked out of the neuropsychologist’s office with another diagnosis for our son. This new revelation thrust us into uncharted waters as we named the reality that we were parenting a child with mental health concerns, namely a mood disorder.
I had spent hours upon hours studying the differences in my son’s brain to be able to report accurately any information that would be necessary for determining a correct diagnosis. Continued behaviors provided data that eventually validated the reality that medication was a necessary choice. As I initially struggled to sort through the varied emotions filling my heart, I found that time and space were the greatest companions for offering kindness to myself.
My companions provided enough hope for me to be able to say yes to the journey, to the turn in the road, to the wild and rugged ride.
I recently re-read the words I heard God spoke to me during that time:
“I’d like to invite you to live a life beyond yourself. A life you never believed was possible. You will experience pain and heartache like you never imagined when you look into the eyes of your beloved child. Your heart will break over and over again as you watch him fight and struggle day by day. He will need you to grow and learn to love him uniquely as his needs will feel crushing at times. You will be overwhelmed and blame yourself. You will feel loss and disappointment as you grieve the normalcy that you craved. I have hand picked you to love this child. My hope is that you will open your eyes to the beauty of being his mother. You will experience depths of emotions as you begin to see the world through his eyes. This child knows me uniquely, and I desire for you to experience more of who I am as you grow in love for him.”
Tears fell from my eyes as I absorbed the beauty of those words. Recalling the scenes from this painful year, heartache, struggle, loss, disappointment, and grief have all been present, yet there has been more—so much more. Learning and growing have been an inevitable reality, and I believe that I am designed to be his mother.
The last couple of months have been particularly difficult. As I was sharing the recent struggles with a friend, she wondered aloud, “What if this is always what it looks like to live life with your son? It seems like he goes through periods of time when he’s doing really well and then other times where it is really a struggle.”
Her words settled gently in my chest as I pondered the reality. What if we are doing everything possible and he still struggles? We have spent our year in therapy and counseling, following recommendations and home programs to the best of our ability. We have tried different medications hoping to find the category and dosage that works best for him. We have modified our lives, our food, our parenting style, and our routines. We have been given the most amazing teacher, principal, doctors, and therapists who are allies both for our son and for us. We have been joined by a company of supporters who are daily petitioning God on our behalf, and I am often comforted in the truth that beyond anything we can do, we have the Spirit who groans with us when we cannot find the words.
Clinging to hope and believing that healing is possible—that my God can do immeasurably more that I can ask or imagine—I have been watching and waiting for the end of this struggle. The scenery is constantly changing, and I am grateful for the moments of beautiful success, but the ending is not coming like I had hoped it would. Truth is, the road that we are on may not end until my son is no longer here on earth.
What if the end does not come this side of heaven? How will I be?
May I be a woman who bravely believes. May I take each day, one step at a time. May I fill our home with love and laughter. May I cry and pray and feel it all. May I grow and change with each new turn. May I ask for help and fight like hell. May I know when to stop, rest, and enjoy life. May I speak blessing over my son as I hold him tenderly, kiss his head, and remind him that I love his brain.
Bethany Cabell is a Texas transplant, residing in Michigan with her husband and their two young boys. A lover of beauty, she lives life chasing after wide-open spaces: sharing her heart with others, in relationship with Jesus, and through music and photography. She tells her story here. &