anniversaryRemember Your Journey

August means hummingbird migration. It also means it’s time to celebrate. Not the hummingbirds so much as what happened four years ago. In fact, on this fourth anniversary of our horrible, no good, very bad August, I reflect in wonder at the amazing grace of God.

Four years ago, our youngest daughter, Sarah, texted us that she was having horrible thoughts. Thoughts about going for a walk on a lonely country road at night and stepping in front of a car.

Most people probably don't celebrate the anniversary of one of the worst months of their lives. But I do. Here's the reason why. #mentalillness #depression #anxiety #mentalhealthShe didn’t. And I’ll forever be grateful that we had a good relationship so that she knew she could confide in me. Thousands of teenagers and young adults don’t confide in someone, and tragically, they carry out their plans.

Today, I’ll celebrate that anniversary as part of remembering our journey. The journey involved many things that strengthened my faith. Arguments with my husband about how we should respond to Sarah’s non-verbal cries for help (or were they just acts of rebellion?). Despair over Sarah’s behavior. Wrestling with God and wondering where he was in the midst of our pain.

I’ll celebrate the anniversary of prayer warrior friends who lifted us up in prayer at the very worst of times over the next seven months. Without their prayers, our faith would have faltered during our journey towards understanding what was happening to our daughter.

Most importantly, I celebrate the anniversary of knowledge. Things I didn’t know before, but know now. God didn’t give me a spirit of timidity, and he’s empowered me to speak up. Next week I’ll speak at a conference in Chicago about the mental health crisis of our youth.

Prayers Still Needed

I would appreciate all of your prayers. Prayers that the right people show up to the break-out session. Please pray that I speak with humility and conviction, and that the Holy Spirit lead me. Pray that I don’t ugly-cry (not because I’m ashamed of ugly-crying, but because it’s hard to understand me when I blubber).

And please join me in praising God for his provision. Even in our darkest hours (and there were many of them), I felt the Holy Spirit’s embrace of comfort.

Please pray for those people in your sphere of influence that you know or suspect might suffer from a mental illness. Pray that they will find the right help at the right time (sooner, rather than later!). Pray for the Holy Spirit to comfort them in their distress and to reveal the God of green hope to them in their hour of need.

Together, through prayers, petition, medication, and counseling, we can help those in need find the answers to THEIR questions. One in four adults suffers from a mental illness. And believe it or not, one in FIVE children between the ages of 8-18 suffer as well.

The only way to stop the epidemic is to talk about it, remove the stigma, tell our stories, and encourage each other without ceasing.

The only way to stop the epidemic of the mental health crisis is to talk about it, remove the stigma, tell our stories, and encourage each other without ceasing. #mentalhealth #fmfparty Click To Tweet

And then more of us will have a meaningful anniversary of positive change to celebrate.

 

7 Comments

  1. I remember reading through your Sarah’s story…I think it can be strengthening to look back on the mercies of God and remember all He’s done and brought us through. Hugs 💗

  2. This is a great post, Anita! And I didn’t realise until I read it that it was the same horrible August four years ago when I was trying to support a friend through severe depression and multiple suicide attempts. I don’t particularly like to remember that time but it is important to look back and appreciate how much things have changed and that she is doing so much better now.
    I’m glad things have improved so much for Sarah too, and that you also have a testimony of how God has worked in you through something so difficult. I’ll be praying for you as you speak at the conference!
    Lesley recently posted…We Need To Remember!My Profile

  3. Thank you for reminding me that I need to celebrate the difficult. I dread the anniversary of my dad’s passing when I should be celebrating his entrance into heaven. I cry over my best friend loosing her life at a young age when I should be rejoicing that out of her death, beautiful and eternally significant things happened with members of her family. Again, I thank you. I will be praying for you as you share your story at the conference. And I will continue to pray for your family. Blessings!

  4. I love this! We’ve learned so much since that August. I’m so excited for you to share it at the conference. Thank you for posting!

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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