"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3 (NIV)
Growing up, I was drawn to TV shows where the perfect family lived in the perfect home and their problems were always solved in 30 minutes. I especially loved the shows where the mom was always kind and gracious to her children. Oh, how I wanted a mom like that.
But when the TV was off, my family life was anything but perfect.
As much as we loved her, my father, sister and I lived in fear of provoking a reaction from my mom. Something was wrong, but I didn't know what. It became our family secret.
Night after night, I lay in bed crying, God, why are my parents arguing? Why does my mom talk that way to my dad? I thought she loved him.
I kept asking, God, can you help us? Can you make it stop? I would go to school each day carrying that burden, and no matter what I did or how many friends I had around me, I always felt alone. I thought I was the only one with a dark family secret.
This family crisis caused my dad to seek God in prayer and Bible study. He often told my sister and me, "Your mom is not well; she doesn't mean what she says or does." His amazing example of dependence on God during those years showed me about how someone receives true healing when life is full of pain.
As the years went by, I discovered my mother was a victim of an illness, not a villain on a mission. Though her pain was my pain, I began to separate what she did from who she was. I learned to extend her unconditional love.
I also realized that our family wasn't the only one with a secret. Depression and mental illness affect multitudes of people.
Through treatments, and by the grace of God, my mother's condition improved. She even gave her life to Christ. But sometimes I wonder if my dad would have grown as spiritually mature if my mother had not struggled. Would my sister and I have been exposed to as much prayer, patience and service at a young age if my father hadn't been such a godly servant to our family?
My father followed Jesus by remaining faithful as he picked up his cross each day. Like our Savior, he learned obedience through suffering (Hebrews 5:8). And the power of a life dependent on Christ became the greatest witness to my sister and me.
My family secret changed over time — from having a mother who was ill to discovering that God is my true source of healing. Today's key verse became truth in my life: "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Through my mom's struggles, God's works were displayed in our home in a way that they might not have been otherwise.
Maybe you have family secrets. Maybe you are struggling to keep the faith and find it hard to be obedient. Trust me: He will remain faithful (2 Timothy 2:13). God may seem silent or absent today, but His purpose will become loud and clear in the future. Letting go of having life our way is always worth living in Christ and trusting in His way.
Heavenly Father, help me remember that no matter what the crisis, no matter how much pain, and no matter how hopeless, Your goal is to always bring me closer to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Luke 9:23, "Then he said to them all: 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'" (NIV)
Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (NKJV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Identify any painful secrets you are keeping to yourself. How are they affecting you?
How do you think knowing Christ and depending on Him could help you through this difficult time?
© 2014 by Nancy McGuirk. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks AMG Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.
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