It happened weeks before our daughter had her first real break and we found out that she had bipolar disorder. We didn't know that something disparately wrong was happening in her brain. We didn't know there was anything sinister about her slightly unusual giddiness. I just happened to wake up in the middle of the night and couldn't go back to sleep.
I went downstairs and sat in my living room. I knew the only way to get tired again was to pray. I didn't even know what to pray, but my spirit seemed to be heavy and groaned for my children. I didn't know that one of them was about to face a major crisis, but I prayed.
After a short while I felt peaceful and tired, so I headed back upstairs. I was just climbing into bed when the phone rang. It was our daughter. “Mom, can you come and get me? I've just been in an accident and totalled my car.”
We got the directions to the country road, and hurried out into the dark night to find her. She was hyper but unconcerned. She told us she had just started a new job on nights and she was headed to work. She needed to get there. She had made a wrong turn and was trying to find her way back.
She had obviously been going far too fast on a turn, it was too dark for her to see, and she had rolled down into a ditch. The car was smashed flat, but there seemed to be a bubble where she had been sitting. She was unharmed.
The police officer talked to us. “Someone up above must have been watching over her,” he said. “We don't usually see an accident like this where the driver walks away alive.”
It was only the beginning of several similar incidents. One day I felt led to fast and pray for a day. I hadn't seen our daughter for a while and didn't know she was leading up to another break, but I was fasting. This time the call came from a hospital in a city three hours drive away, where my husband had once pastored.
Our daughter had decided to drive down to California, packing nothing appropriate. She was only an hour away from entering the USA when she heard a voice telling her that if she just believed she could do it, and if she put her belief into action, she would be able to fly. She stepped on the accelerator and 'flew' past a stop sign, across a ditch and into a farmers field. Again the car was demolished, but she had only minor bruises.
Only God could have protected her. It was God that saw to it that she didn't get across the border before it happened. It was God that instructed a mother to fast and pray; and it was God that kept her alive that day.
This fasting was in direct contrast to my daughter's notions that she didn't need to eat. Her change in eating habits was usually based on her changing thought patterns, and was generally a prelude to a break. It was never a good thing.
It never worked for her to fast for herself at this time. But all during the period of her frequent breaks, I was called on to be my daughter's prayer guard. It is a pattern God frequently uses: a mother's love combined with the Father's quiet nudges. Our obligation as a parent is to be spiritually prepared for battle and have our ears tuned to hear His still small voice.
God created moms with those especially fine tuned ears; we just have to keep the communication lines open.
Mothers aren't God's only mental health prayer warriors. But that will be the subject of another post.