I should be working on Christmas gifts or making Christmas treats. But instead, I am blogging because I am in no mood to work on Christmas things when I have a child who is losing it in his bedroom right now. I’m just thankful he finally decided to stay there for awhile.
I should have seen the warning signs coming. Last night Ben was up seven times. That means seven times that the alarm for his bedroom went off as he came out the door and wandered the house. Seven times that Jeff or I had to get up and make sure he went back to bed without getting in trouble. Seven times that I pleaded in prayer for him to just settle down for the night and stay in bed.
Living with mania is no picnic. Holes in bedroom walls tend to bring down the aesthetic value of your home just a bit. Depression is no Sunday School picnic either, but with mania he tends to rage more, while with depression, he cries more silent tears. I have prayed many times over the years for Ben to be healed. I used to beg Jeff to give him a priesthood blessing to heal him. When Jeff told me he didn’t feel that it was part of his priesthood calling to do so, I falsely accused him of not having enough faith. (Yeah, I know I can be a bear to live with sometimes.) At the time, however, I felt like I had the faith and just knew he could be healed if someone was willing to pronounce those words.
I wasn’t asking for his deafness to be removed; just a simple mental illness of bipolar disorder. Surely that wouldn’t be too much to ask. If the Lord healed all of those who approached him during his mortal ministry, couldn’t he do the same for my son? When he appeared to the Nephites in the Book of Mormon (3rd Nephi chapter 17) and asked that all of their children be brought to him and he blessed them one by one as well as any in their midst who were sick, maim, deaf, blind, or afflicted in any manner, then surely he would be willing to do that for Ben. Why not? I had the faith. But then, one night in humble prayer, I asked. “Heavenly Father is it your will that Ben be healed?” The answer I really didn’t want to hear, came: “not yet.” There will be a time someday when Ben will rise in glory and be perfected and all of his frailties and weaknesses will be removed, but for now we must endure a bit longer.
And in the midst of the trial of mental illness that I do not understand, I have learned a simple lesson. It takes great faith to be healed, but it sometimes takes an equal amount or even greater faith to continue to trust in and follow a loving God who says, “not yet.” Faith in God means having faith in His timing.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV)
When I struggle, these words bring much comfort. And I can be still and know that He is God.