It is a hard day to reconcile. We hurt for those who are living and grieving yesterday’s shooting. Come in close as you take the next few minutes to read.
Your desire for sanity and sound mental health, and everything in you that desires the fruit of loving the Lord with your heart, mind, soul, and strength – I’m inviting you to seek and pray for it today. Because the prayers of His people wield a mighty force in the battle against depravity that sometimes leads to insanity.
As we pray and grieve, we forge ahead in the 12 Steps, lingering for a few weeks in Step 2: We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
I was reading the definition of sanity this morning, and it reads this vaguely: “the quality or state of being sane.”
But before I moved on to looking up the root word, sane, I read how the dictionary’s authors used sanity in a sentence. After all, any English teacher worth her weight in words seeks clarification from the sample sentences. They read as follows:
People have begun to doubt his sanity.
She is the mother of six children but somehow keeps her sanity.
The sanity of the decision was never in question.
Notice I bolded the second sentence. It read as a bit of a zinger, and each time I reread that sentence, it seemed to single me out with its pointer finger. I don’t have six children, but yes, I do have five. I have only one less than the mother of six indicated in the sample sentence, so maybe that places me close to the mother who “somehow keeps her sanity.” I wonder — Does having five children buy me additional real estate to live in a place that teeters on insanity more often than my girlfriend who has two children?
That is wrong. As my mentor and fellow writer-friend, Leslie Johnson would say, “Girl, that is a lie from the pit of Hell!” (Click her name. Check her blog. She speaks from a sweet place.)
But those are some of the kind of lies we might believe. We might believe that having a certain amount of children predisposes us to crazy. We might believe that attaining a certain amount of wealth protects us from feeling out of control. We might believe that looking a certain way protects us from severe judgment within our social circle. We might even believe that compulsive behaviors, especially those that secure a number on a scale, are logical ways of keeping us “healthy.”
But I will say this about caring for children. One, two, or six. Caring for children illustrates something to us about how sanity might be restored if we have a compassionate and well informed caretaker nearby. Right next to our seeking hearts.
Last Monday evening, after tucking in our children, Dave and I were especially exhausted. I think we may have mall-walked back to our bedrooms, racing to see who could be finished with the kids first. WE WERE TIRED. But making it back to our bedroom brought relief from the duties of playing chase, wrangling the three year old to brush his teeth, and checking the never ending piles of homework that mount with growing-up boys.
Looking back, maybe five minutes passed between the completion of Mission Bedtime and “the proclamation” that spilled its way through the dark rooms. I hear my son’s voice clearly as I retell the story. Just as my feet were getting comfy under the warm sheets, he announces, “M-o-M, I think I just threw up!”
No stomach complaints had ensued earlier in the evening, so surely this was an exaggeration, I told myself. Dave walked speedily ahead of me to announce in a defeated voice, “And it’s ALL OVER the carpet.”
So, in pure Harvey fashion and excitement, everyone leaps from their beds to check on the immediate crisis that comes with someone getting sick at their stomach. As quickly and patiently as possible, I reassure each individual (including the sick child) that everyone is fine and everyone MUST go back to bed. And then comes my husband’s voice, trailing down the hallway. He needs me to know. “Babe, it’s really ALL OVER the carpet! Can you get in here?”
God bless him.
My man can secure high dollar contracts and evade even the most negative thinkers in his industry. He is capable of financially providing for 7 people and speak with force to thousands of people, on a whim. On probably just about anything.
But there is this thing that happens when anything ugly and smelly erupts from one of our children that is stomach related. I must assess it first.
While he volunteers to help my poor, now pasty white-faced child to our room to set up for mommy-watch for the evening, I start the process of clean-up. I begin by picking up the biggest pieces of the mess and disposing of them because that is what we do with messes. Physical or emotional.
We start big, go small. Pray for progress.
I tell this story because when my kids get sick, I get a glimpse of how we long for sanity. Of how circumstances suddenly change when someone is not healthy, even if only for a few days. And our hope, as parents, is that we can reroute the course of illness. As our child’s body struggles to fight a virus, tension and suffering ensues, and we do everything in our power to comfort them in their sick state.
Last week, my child needed me to check on him a little extra, nurse his fever, take him to the doctor, hydrate him slowly. He needed me to be a protector and an advocate, all the while full of compassion.
My child needed to believe that something more powerful than him had the ability and was willing to help restore him to health.
I hope He believes that God is the Great Healer, yes. But his 7 year old boy-body was really looking for Mommy to be the hands and feet of Jesus to help restore him.
This leads me to ask: Who is restoring you to health?
For most of us, it’s not our mommas anymore. We are adults who, seeking to understand our spiritual reality, are being called to look deep within and see, What are my weaknesses?
Where is there illness that pervades my thought patterns?
Are there compulsive behaviors that I pursue that taint the way I see myself?
What words do I use to value this body that serves and works and plays and sings?
It should lead us to ponder: Do we see ourselves in a truthful way?
I believe we want to see our reflections, the bodies staring back at us, in ways that glorify our Maker. I believe we want Biblical truth to shape the way we think about our flesh. I believe even the most lonely, most sick at heart, ache to experience sound mind and sorted reflection.
That might mean there exists an invitation to honor our bodies when they are hungry and make peace with foods that we have previously demonized. In fact, I’m willing to venture there might be invitations all over the place we are starving to accept but blind to recognize.
So, we choose to answer these questions together. We’re walking through what it means to believe that our greater power, God Almighty, our Creator, wants to restore us to right thinking — sanity. And, of course, we pray. We release down, onto our knees, and beg the Almighty to intervene because the prayers of His people wield a mighty force in the battle against depravity that sometimes leads to insanity.