09 May 2010

Breck's Thoughts: Mother's Day

I think some of the most inspiring mothers are found on the Discovery Health Channel.  Since I was a teenager, I've been mesmerized by the TV shows on that channel - Siamese twins, The Mermaid Girl, The Child with No Face.  The channel shares amazing stories about children and adults who are dealing with severe health issues and are striving to live their life the best they can. 

This week, I've been able to catch a bit of "PyschWeek," a handful of shows with a focus on mental illness.  One show has particularly sparked my interest: the story of Jani Schofield, a 6 year old with Schizophrenia.

Here is a child who from birth has caused her family incredible grief.  As an infant, she slept in 20-30 minute increments at a time for a total of no more than 4 hours a day.  Doctors believe Jani is in psychosis and hallucinating almost every moment of the day.  Despite great efforts by her parents to get Jani help, they have all but given up that any doctor/medicine/social service can help them.  They now live in two separate apartments for their children's safety (one for Jani and one for her litter brother) to keep Jani from killing/seriously injuring herself or her brother.  Unable to live together, the parents rotate each night to be with each child.  She's only six!

Faced only with the option of out of state residential care, they have given up their lives to care for Jani's intense needs 24:7.  They have given up their own lives and any sense of normalcy.  They cannot travel as a family.  They cannot get a babysitter (there is no one with the ability to watch her due to her violent outbursts).  They can no longer expect that Jani will go to school, hold a job or get married.  Her chances of making it to adulthood is 50/50 as her risk of suicide is very high (she was asking about it at age 4 and constantly hear voices that tell her to hurt herself or others).

How terrible to be a prisoner in your own body, your mind controlled by voices you cannot silence!  And just as terrible: to watch your child trapped inside unable to live to the potential you see within her.  Your only choice - to watch your daughter slowly disappear as her brain hijacks her personality and her ability to love you back.

I find myself watching this show and others like it thinking, "what if that was me?  I surely couldn't deal with that!  How horrible!  That would be too much!"

Deep within me swells scary and shameful thoughts:  "I would want to send her away - to let someone else care for her - to create normalcy in my own life again.  I would be tempted to regret having her.  If I was Jani's mother, how much I would want to plead with God to make it such that I wouldn't have to deal with something like that."

As I am aware of my selfish desire, to rid myself of my child so I wouldn't have to deal with such a life-altering and painful experience, I am aware of the comments made to me after Bennett's diagnosis, "I wouldn't be able to deal with what you are dealing with," and "that's probably why God chose you, because he knew you could handle it."

I think about the common proverb, "God doesn't chose the equipped.  He equips the chosen."

I am not equipped to deal with watching my child suffer.  I am not equipped to deal with g-tubes, ileostomies, constant lung infections and hospital admissions.  I am certainly not equipped to saying goodbye to my son early.  But I have felt like God, every step of the way, has provided me the insight and strength I've needed to get through it.

When Jani's father was asked, "Would you do this again?," his answer brought me to tears.  He said, emphatically, "Absolutely!  If I knew then what I knew now, I would absolutely do this all over again.  Jani was meant to be in this world."

I pray on this Mother's Day, the God would give me that kind of love, that kind of strength, that kind of Godly perspective.  Help me view my children and their needs, not as inconveniences but as blessings.  My children are not here for me.  I am here for them.  Help me be best mother I can be.

God, fill me with more of You and less of me.


  1. This morning at church our pastor preached on the passage in Matthew where the gentile mother goes before Jesus to beg him to heal her daughter who is demon possessed, after her response to Him, Jesus tells her "you have great faith" and immediatly her daughter was healed. This post made me think of that passage. You should look that one up! How Great He is to equip us!

  2. I thought of your family yesterday when I read this article in the paper; I am so proud of the amazing woman of God that you grew up to be! Hope your Mother's Day was wonderful!


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