Thanksgiving from the fire

IMG_4572Number one son was going about life, enormously successful in business. He has a wonderful wife and two young sons. At age 40, he has a home that is paid for, several cars, a minivan and recreational vehicles and club memberships all paid up that would keep several families busy all year. He is active in his church, is asked to lead groups on spiritual principles of good stewardship and more than tithes of his lucrative income. About two years ago he began to lose confidence. A dark, terrifying, unthinkable force would come upon him and he could not cope. My son began to have panic attacks and was so troubled that he no longer wanted to live. He’s been struggling through the maze of treatment options. This past week I sent him Ann Voskamp’s blog because I thought it might speak to him. It did. He said, “Mom, no one understands what this is like unless they go through it themselves. Ann knows what it is like. I know she does or she couldn’t have written this.

Today I was out biking. Harry called me on my cell phone very very excited. I was in the middle of my bike trail. but I stopped to listen to Harry’s story. Harry has a first-grade son, LH (short for Little Harry). LH was at the library with a 4th grader who was reading with him. At the end of the session Harry was there to pick up his son and the 4th grader’s mother was there to pick up her 4th grader. It was then that Harry realized that the mother of the 4th grader was in his small group at church. He started to chit-chat with her and then she said. “Would you please help me? My husband just got out of the hospital. He is out in the car and he is freaking out. He is scaring the kids and I don’t know what to do.” Harry went out to the parking lot of the library and found this man. He couldn’t remember his name, but when he opened the car door to talk to the man, the name came to him. He asked the man what was wrong. He said he had just gotten out of the hospital and needed his medication. Harry asked if his heart was bad or what. The man said, “No, no I just got our to THE hospital, not the hospital. All of a sudden Harry knew the man had just been released from a psychiatric hospital. The man said, “You wouldn’t understand. No one does.” Harry said, “Oh, I understand a lot. Let ME tell YOU how you are feeling. After Harry talked to the man awhile, the man completely calmed down and he said, “You are the first person I’ve talked to about this that understands me.” Harry said, “It’s because I have been there.” The man was incredulous, “But you seem so together. You seem to have the world by the tail.” “And so,” replied Harry, “I’m living proof you can feel better.”

Harry was so very thankful that he could help this man. He knew he was the only one that could at that moment. He said to me, “You know, Mom, only someone who has been through this fire can understand how it feels. Even the professionals only have head knowledge. The only person who can understand this kind of panic is someone who has been there and suffers the same way you do.”

I write this blog today because dear friends have asked me how my son is doing. He’s finding his way to the glory of God. I am a thankful mom.

He is with us,



5 comments on “Thanksgiving from the fire

  1. Dawn, sometimes a post just grabs me, and this one did. I’m so thankful this morning for that confirmation once again that EVERYTHING that happens in our lives, though hard, painful, full of losses, etc., it can still bring glory to God, help to others, and growth within ourselves. No words speak louder or deeper to another than, “I know, I’ve been there!” And it is at that moment, all the time that the locusts have taken is restored to us. To come through something as your son has is strengthening, isn’t it?? To him, to those he meets who need his help, and to all of us! Somehow, we just know we can get through it if it ever comes again, and strengthens our faith because we know He never fails us or forsakes us! Thanks for sharing this today! Every word was a blessing!

    • Dear Dawn: this story reminds me of Joseph and Daniel, both of whom went through some very difficult things physically, emotionally, mentally, but came through it all to find there was great purpose in what they had suffered. Their testimony would be of great comfort and encouragement to multitudes throughout the ages. Rejoicing with you that Harry is doing so much better and sharing his testimony with hurting others . . . comforting others with the comfort which he was comforted with.

  2. Adam said something similar when he was home this weekend. He now knows what it is like to have a spouse leave and, maybe some day, he will be in a position to help someone. He is in a Bible study and is praying like never before. As Carrie said, “All things….”

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