Hope is like a golden cord connecting you to heaven. The more
you cling to this cord, the more I bear the weight of your burdens;
thus, you are lightened. Heaviness is not of My kingdom. Cling to
hope, and My rays of Light will reach you through the darkness.
Jesus Calling, January 8
On Sunday, June 23rd, 2019, I received the call that no mother ever wants to get. The phone rang and it was my youngest son, Garrett.
“Mom, it’s Zach! Mom, he’s gone! Zach’s dead!”
I immediately fell to the floor and cried out to God. “Why my Zach?”
In the very next breath, I screamed at Satan. “You think this will break me? You will not break me!”
I knew that only God could bring us through this.
My Zach was the most loving young man. He had countless friends, an amazing love for others, and an on-fire devotion to the Lord. He was funny, always bouncing around, laughing, and making other people laugh. He had a way of making everyone feel like they were the most important person in his world.
Zach was always hands-on at our church. He volunteered for everything! He was love-in-action. His hugs were the best. Zach was my buddy, my partner, my best friend and my sounding board at times. He was the best listener, and he taught all of us about grace.
My son was so full of light, but there was a dark secret that he carried. Zach was just a child when he was diagnosed with depression and ADHD. At that time, the world didn’t speak about mental illness or admit those struggles. We were not sold on trying medication because we were led to believe taking medication was a sign of weakness. We were taught to pray. We thought if healing didn’t come, it was because we weren’t praying hard enough or fasting right, or we must have hidden sin that hadn’t been resolved.
I want people who are struggling now and feeling condemnation about their struggle to know that all those things are so far from the truth.
We finally decided to try medication with Zach, and it helped tremendously. He went through school and played sports, but Zach carried shame from taking the pills and carrying his secret.
In 2009, when Zach was 18, his dad was killed. At that time, he stopped taking his meds, and in his grief, he went on a downward spiral and became addicted to drugs. His depression was worse than ever. Over the next ten years, he spent two stints in faith-based rehabilitation and grew so much in his relationship with the Lord. He even went on a mission trip to Ecuador in 2018!
In the months before he passed, I could sense he was struggling. We had many conversations where I would ask, “Son, have you talked to God about this? Son, have you been listening to your worship music? Son, have you been reading your devotional? Son, have you called Pastor? Son, have you made the appointment with the therapist?”
He acted like I was crazy for asking such questions. He would say, “Mom, who do you think I talk to about this? I talk to God all the time!”
What I learned after the loss of my son is that a person’s love for the Lord has nothing to do with their struggles. Zach’s love for God never stopped or took a back seat. He took God with him. Christ was his anchor. He even got an anchor tattoo, so he had a constant visual reminder of the hope he had in the Lord.
After he passed, I spoke up about his struggle with depression, and his closest friends couldn’t believe it. How could a bouncing ball of love struggle with depression?
We Christians have to change the way we look at people who have struggles of any kind. Our relationship with God doesn’t depend on whether or not we completely conquer the illness, addiction, or any other battle we face. We have to stop assuming that people don’t have a relationship with God just because they are wrestling with great difficulties. We have to stop pointing fingers at what we think they are doing wrong, and trust that God will take everything the enemy meant to harm us and turn it around for our good.
Psalm 139 tells us that God knows everything about us and still loves us. What a powerful reminder of how intimately God relates to those we love, even during struggle. What an anchor of hope!
If you find yourself or a loved one struggling with mental health issues and/or addiction, pray for God to open doors to the right doctor or therapist. Take the pill, if that’s what you need. Seek out spiritual guidance, and surround yourself with people who will pray.
God will show himself in your situation. Look for Him. It may not look like what you think it should. Full healing will come on the other side of heaven. But until then, get the help you need. Don’t stay silent and live in shame.
Come to Me continually. I am meant to be the Center of your
consciousness, the Anchor of your soul.