Share, Care and Prayer

We live in four different states. We worship in four different Christian traditions. We have four different professional backgrounds. I’ve known each of the other three in three different stages of my life. Between us we have 14 children ages 10 to 41, as well as a growing number of grandchildren. And we have two very important things in common. First, we all four put our faith in Jesus; and second, we all are moms of adult children living within the swirling horrors of mental illness.

I gathered the four of us together—none of the others knowing each other—on Zoom several years ago. I’d been in contact with each, prayed with each and wept with each. There came a time when it made sense to connect us together so we could strengthen one another through compassion and prayer.

And so we meet virtually an hour each week for “Share, Care and Prayer.” At any given time, one or two of our children are in crisis. And so we spiritually gather together around those moms and pray for their children as we would for our own. We pray for each other as we would for ourselves.

When we see answers, we rejoice. When we feel hopeless, we remind. On those days when one can only cry, the others cry out on her behalf. 

Like the four friends who lowered another through the roof to reach Jesus, we take turns bringing each other’s emotionally paralyzed loved ones to Jesus. We do this because none of us is strong enough to carry such a heavy burden alone, and we do this because we know there’s no other place to take them except to Jesus.

During the week there are texts. Requests for urgent prayers for a particular situation. Updates on some critical concern we’ve been praying about. Posts of Bible verses that ministered to us. Links to worship songs, blogs and quotes from books. In these ways we encourage, admonish and love one another.

We’ve all been at this long enough to know there are no solutions. There is no fix. There is no end. But we continually remind one another that there are paths through the fire and channels through the waters. We will not burn, and our loved ones will not drown because God is with us and will display His goodness to each one of us as we trust Him.

Jesus told his disciples, “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20 ESV). As we pray in the name, in the authority, in the love of Jesus, we find ourselves drawn into deeper love with Him and in greater affection for one another. These three, who were strangers to each other a few years ago, now call each other “sister.” They love the others’ children as they do their own. In the midst of the pain and bewilderment of mental illness, we have discovered God’s redemptive grace and the power of community.

If you have not yet, ask God to bring two or three other Christians who have loved ones living with mental health conditions to form a Share, Care Prayer Group. There are also virtual support groups that have prayer as a central component. The key is to have a few others who can understand and with whom you can regularly and transparently pray.

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