Three voices screamed at Stacy’s Mom all the time. Sometimes, she screamed back.
“She heard these voices for over 40 years,” Stacy says on a Christian Reads and Classics YouTube video. “These voices were horrible they said the worst things to her; they would cuss at her; they would call her names.”
That made for two sufferers: Stacy’s mom and Stacy. Mom was in and out of psychiatric hospitals, so Stacy was left alone, fearful and resentful.
Stacy was born in Baltimore in 1977. Mom wasn’t diagnosed with schizophrenia until six months after Stacy’s birth, and Dad was a functional alcoholic who spent all evenings at the bar. “A lot of my childhood I spent completely alone,” she says.
“They were in no position to have a kid,” she says. “But they did, and here I am.”
Try as she might, Mom never got the upper hand over the voices and the breakdowns.
“She would make me breakfast, get me off to school, and then I would come home from school and she would be gone,” Stacy says. “I knew she was in the hospital. I blamed the loneliness and a lot of bad things on my mom because as I kid, I thought it was her choice to leave.”
They never went to church, but Mom played Christian music, wrote down scriptures and called herself born-again — things that Stacy
“We had a very strained relationship,” Stacy admits.
“The voices would scream at her. They would cuss at her. They would call her names,” Stacy says. “My mom would hear this all the time. She was literally being tortured.”
Part of the reason Dad stayed at the bar was to not have to be around Mom, due to her unstable condition.
In high school, Stacy got drunk and high to escape her life. At age 18, she moved in with her boyfriend, not so much because she loved him as because he was the easiest excuse to move away from Mom. That didn’t last.
Eventually, she started dating the man who became her husband, a Marine with whom she moved for a time to England. It was he who suggested they start attending church. But the type of church they attended left much to be desired. When she shared about her fruitless search to help her mom, they glibly responded that she “didn’t have enough faith” in prayer.
Frustrated with longstanding unanswered prayer, Stacy “walked away” from God; they stopped attending church.
Because of her psychosis, Mom complained of “phantom” pains, ones that were only in her imagination, and she swallowed bottles and bottles of Tylenol and Advil. The over-the-counter pain meds wreaked havoc to her insides, creating ulcers.
By now, Stacy lived in Virginia and would visit her mom in Maryland. To help, Stacy hired a caregiver, but Mom fired her before two weeks were up.
This made Stacy livid. She wanted to unburden herself a little of her mom’s tirades, her unreasonable cantankerousness, and her incomprehensible life. Stacy would not get a break from the need to oversee her mother.
“I was so mad that she had fired the helper and put all of that stress back on me,” Stacy relates.
She drove up fuming and let her mom know her thoughts. That day wasn’t a pretty argument.
As Stacy was leaving, Mom gave her one last barb: “You would be happier if I was just dead.”
“I just looked at her,” she says. “I don’t remember if I said the word or not. But I looked at her so she would know, like, ‘Yeah, I actually would. Things would be better. It would be easier.'”
But Stacy wasn’t completely hateful. When she got home, she asked her son to pray for Grandma. She felt unworthy to be heard by God.
A week later, her aunt called. Mom was dead. It stemmed from the constant bombardment of her stomach with excesses of Tylenol and Excedrin.
Stacy was devastated. Guilt flooded her heart because of her last exchange with her mom. Mom had died with the conflict unresolved. For days, Stacy felt “comatose.”
As she tried to come out of her shock, she appealed to her son. Had he prayed?
She asked him. “I did,” he responded.
The guilt subsided and was supplanted by hope and relief.
“I feel like God was waiting for my son to come to him,” Stacy says.
Finally, the schizophrenia ceased for Mom. Her glorified body in Heaven would not be subject to chemical imbalances, demonic oppression, and mental illness.
“Mom’s not sick anymore. My mom has a perfect body. She’s not crying and she’s not.
suffering,” Stacy says. “I felt so much peace in that moment. I had no anger, no anger against God. I wasn’t mad anymore.”
Stacy also realized that Grandma’s suffering brought her son to Jesus.
“All the pain and suffering that my mom went through for decades, I knew that she would go through it all again if that meant it would bring her grandson to God.”
As Stacy cleaned out Mom’s house, she found index cards upon which Mom had written scriptures and nuggets of wisdom. One said: “God’s goal is to make us holy, not just happy, and when we are holy we are more likely to be truly happy and content.”
Stacy was floored.
“If a person who was as sick as my mom could believe this, how can I not?” Stacy says. “How can I not have all the faith in the world?”
Stacy started reading her Bible for herself. She learned things that her previous church had never taught, like the need for repentance. She and her family are back at church, living now in Tennessee.
“God will wait for you. He waited for me for decades,” Stacy says. “He waited for my son. Sometimes he will put you through the toughest situations in order to bring you to him. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it because there’s nothing better than being with God.”
If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here
About the writer of this article: Pastor Michael Ashcraft is also a financial professional in California.
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