Sometimes life feels like you are drowning.  The surface is so close, and you know light and breath are waiting, but you can’t seem to kick hard enough to break the surface before being pulled back down.

There are seasons in life where doing the next thing seems to take everything you have.  Seasons when it feels like you are in “survival mode.”  Seasons where, when your friends reach out and ask how they can help or pray, you don’t even know what to ask for.  Seasons where you feel like you are in deep water.

And then breakthrough comes, and you gulp in a bit breath of air, desperate for more.  And you raise your hands to praise God.

I’ve been missing here.  Words wouldn’t form, and being a mom was my very first priority. But we’ve gasped and risen to the surface.  We’re praising Jesus, and knowing that our head may go under from time to time, but that we aren’t going to drown.  And that, my friends, brings a ray of sunshine and joy.

As parents, we want so much to protect our kiddos.  Over the course of the last year and a half, we have walked the valley of deep depression and anxiety with one of our kiddos.  And I’ve realized in that time, that we don’t talk about such things, and there is a stigma and a misunderstanding that needs to be broken.

I don’t think you truly understand until you live it.  I know I didn’t.  Our brains are such magnificent works of God, but so very complicated.  When we have trauma, or depression, or mental health issues, I feel like it leaves us saying “I just don’t understand” more often than we can imagine.

I can’t share from the perspective of being the one enduring the attacks personally, that is my sons’ story to share when and if he is ready.  However, I can share from the perspective of the mom who would sit by the side of her son and beg God for wisdom in how to help. I can’t describe how it feels to watch your gentle giant son curled up in a ball on the floor, rocking and crying and afraid; and all you can do is reassure him that you are right there and pray.  I can’t explain what it is like to watch a hallucination due to a medicine reaction and to feel so afraid and helpless.  And to live life anxious that any of these things could happen at any second.

As we’ve walked this journey we have learned so much about coping behaviors, triggers, flashbacks, medicine, therapy, inpatient help, etc.  Much of it has involved perseverance and persistence.

Maybe you are in a similar place.  Maybe you wish you had someone who understood what you are going through as a mom.  Or who could just tell you that it is going to be ok, and you would know that they understand? Maybe you are afraid to talk about it because you are worried about what others will think, or how they will hold it against your child.  Whatever your current storm, let’s break the silence and talk about it.

Those of you who have walked this journey with us know that we have been fairly open.  Many of our HOME Community members have been our Aaron and Hur through this valley, and have literally held us up and been patient as we kicked toward the surface.  A fine line still exists between sharing too much of our sons’ personal story and sharing our perspective as parents to help others begin to understand.  We’re tiptoeing along that line, but trusting the Lords leading.

But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. – Exodus 17:12

As we enter the new school year, we are so excited at the forward progress we have made.  About a month ago, I was having a conversation with this son and suddenly realized that I felt normal.  The conversation felt normal.  It felt like I was finally able to stick my head out of the water and breath.  I can only imagine how it feels for him.  Does that mean every day is a good day?  Nope.  The circumstances will mean that he will continue to fight a hard battle.  But, he is fighting and winning and growing into a man of God in the process.  And.I.Couldn’t.Be.Prouder.

God gave me this verse as a reminder often throughout the journey.  Maybe it will encourage one of you today as you push toward the surface and gasp for air.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. – Isaiah 43:2