17 I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is. 18 So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.”19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.21 Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

LAMENTATIONS 3:22 (NRSV) The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.

DEVOTION – S. L. Ashbrooke (Virginia)

My older son was diagnosed several years ago with schizophrenia and alcohol dependence.  The complexities of his dual diagnosis include drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, paranoia, delusional thinking, and angry outbursts.  We have come close to despair on many occasions.  Repeatedly, we have tried to help him because we love him, but we have been forced to back away.  At times I have felt anger at the choices he makes that worsen his condition.

Because I’m his mother, each time I back away I feel like a failure.  I have to live with the shame and guilt that I feel because his severe mental illness is more than I can handle.  My heart breaks when I think of his suffering.  The sadness and sorrow of the situation at times seem to much for me to bear.

During these times, I remind myself that God is greater than my son’s mental illness, my family’s grief, and my own helplessness and pain.  I am able to get up, go to work, and live with the situation another day.  I know that whatever the future holds, God’s love and grace are greater than any human trial.  I am able to look for today’s blessings waiting for me from a God who loves my family, my son, and me.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God’s love for us is greater than any problem we face.

LINK2LIFE: Volunteer at a homeless shelter.

PRAYER: Loving God, bless and comfort those who struggle with mental illness.  Help those who love them to cope with the trials that come with caring. Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: Families Coping with Mental Illness