We both love how Matthew has taken the concept of sin and given a breath of fresh air to the topic. You must read this book because in its pages you will finally gain a biblical perspective on sin and what it takes to free yourself from the bonds that so easily entangle!

Gary and Michael Smalley
Smalley Relationship Center
When mental illness afflicts a loved one, how can we understand what is happening and respond appropriately? This biblically-literate and scientifically-informed book offers helpful insight, encouragement, and practical advice. For pastors and for those who hurt for those who hurt, Matthew Stanford offers sensitive and welcome guidance.

David G. Myers, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Hope College and author of Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Psychiatric and Developmental Disorders in Children

For me the emails and phone calls are now a regular occurrence, happening several times a week. Desperate parents seeking help for a child suffering with a psychiatric or developmental disorder. Today my post is mainly for those parents who struggle daily to support and care for a child afflicted by a brain related disorder.

You have most likely doubted your ability to effectively parent your child. You may have blamed yourself for your child’s problems. What did I do wrong? You may have even questioned your ability to love your child. I don’t have any more to give! Let me encourage you from the Word of God. Your child with all his problems was created by a loving, almighty God just as he is, disorder and all. God doesn’t make mistakes (Genesis 1:31). He knew him before his birth (Jeremiah 1:5), He formed him in the womb (Psalm 139:13; Isaiah 44:2, 24) and He brought him into the world (Psalm 22:9; 71:6). God has given him to you as a gift, a reward (Psalm 127:3). He is no less of a gift because he has a disorder, nor is he any less loved by God. God chose you to be his parent. And as a believer in Christ, He has equipped you with all the love and patience necessary to raise him (2 Thessalonians 3:5). At times that may seem impossible, but remember, you have been transformed. You are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). God has placed His very Spirit within you (Galatians 4:6). And the same power that raised Christ from the dead is working within you at this very moment (Ephesians 1:19-20). Since God chose you to be his parent and He poured His life into you, don’t you think He will support you through this trial? This is an opportunity for you to grow closer to Him! Your son may have greater cognitive and physical needs than most children, but he has the same spiritual needs that everyone has --- to know the Way, the Truth and the Life, Jesus Christ. You have been given the honor of training him up in Christ. God has a great purpose and plan for his life, just as He does for yours. Do not let the world define your child for you. See him for who he is; the beloved creation of God, made in His image and given to you as a gift.

So what are we, the church, to do? As a community of believers, we must not withdraw from the problem of psychiatric and developmental disorders in children but instead choose to face it with God’s grace and wisdom. Our children are struggling and we, the disciples of Christ Jesus, have adopted a cold, judgmental approach to dealing with these problems. This is not who we are! Christ said that they would know we were His disciples because of our love for one another (John 13:35). Where better for a child, whether they have a brain disorder or not, to look for love and acceptance than the church? Where better for parents to go for support and comfort than the Body of Christ? As a community our approach to these disorders, should be one of love and grace. We must lead by example. So let us love one another, because love is from God (1 John 4:7).

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