by María Elena Rivas
My son’s story is too long to tell in a blog.
It is almost 18 years of living with the joys and sorrows, victories and defeats. Now he is about to turn 18 and he will be legally independent. His mental health diagnosis is right in the middle: it doesn’t make him unable to make his own decisions but it doesn’t make him always able to make the right decisions either.
I know every parent’s life is a constant struggle to learn when to let go, but for parents with children with a disability or mental illness, the struggle is much more difficult. It’s scary to let go of a child you’ve seen fall a hundred times. You can’t imagine what can happen when he’s no longer around.
The last few years of trying to survive his adolescence had left me weary, so I decided to seek the help of a therapist friend. From the beginning her advice was: “You have to release him into the Lord’s hands”.
I couldn’t do it.
It was like when my father-in-law couldn’t lie in bed after his stroke. He wanted to do it but some neurons just couldn’t connect to give the command to his body, so my mother-in-law had to help him. The same thing happened to me. There were neurons in my heart that could not connect and I could not open my hands. I felt like I couldn’t get my hands on the abundant life Jesus promised, so I decided to ask the Lord for a miracle. I wrote this prayer in my journal:
“Lord, connect those neurons in my heart that do not allow me to let go of my son. My heart needs rest, but I can’t seem to get my soul into a position of rest. Give me the faith to believe that you are in control of everything. If not one little bird falls without your consent, help me to understand that you will never forsake my son.”
Months have passed and I have begun to feel a small improvement. My hands have begun to open little by little. I know I have a long way to go and I know that the battle of faith will continue for a lifetime, but I have begun to feel more peace in the midst of difficult circumstances.
I don’t know if you are in a similar situation to mine. There are thousands of things that are out of your control as your child grows up and goes their own way. Your role as a parent is changing and that may fill you with fear.
Ask the Lord to help you let go.
Remember that your child will never be alone. He has a heavenly Father who loves him much more than you do and will never leave him. He is worthy of all your trust.