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By Andrea Johnson

We were helping with an event for children with special needs when one mom caught my attention. One might be tempted to pity her. She appeared to be single and much too young to have a daughter the age of hers. Yet Mom was vibrant and upbeat, visibly excited for her daughter to have this opportunity. I was blown away when I learned their story.

The daughter, around 16 or 17 years old, had been in the foster care system. Severely abused as an infant, she has multiple personalities. One personality is that of an infant who needs to be bottle fed. One is a vegetarian. One is hearing impaired, communicating only through sign language. One is really sweet. Another one, not so much. The woman knew all of this when she chose to become the girl’s mother.

Most people would have considered the young girl to be unadoptable, but not her “forever” mom. Although Mom never knows which daughter will greet her in the morning, she knows she will love her and be there for her. In a few months’ time the teenager has already made substantial progress. She rarely needs a bottle anymore.

Can you imagine a younger woman choosing to take on that kind of commitment – especially when it so affects other relationships, including marriage prospects? Most people chase careers and life choices that will enhance their own success and happiness. This woman is willingly sacrificing all of that to help someone the rest of society would likely marginalize.

In this issue we feature Marilee, a woman who suffers from bipolar disorder. Her psychological injuries may not seem as severe as those of the daughter mentioned above, but her injuries are still painful. Amazingly Marilee has been able not only to navigate her own health, but also to help others as well. She is highly valued in her church. Marilee credits her success in part to a remarkable husband, an incredible pastor, and a faithful Lord. Yet she deserves high accolades as well. Marilee’s brain doesn’t always tell her the truth about life, causing her to make the constant choice: does she believe the truths found in God’s Word (which she studies diligently) or does she believe her brain?

For those suffering with mental illness it’s a lonely, constant struggle, harder than most of us can imagine. The least the rest of us can do is come alongside and fight with them.

About The Author

Andrea Johnson
Managing Editor

In her spare time you will most likely find Andrea Johnson with family or friends, or outdoors hiking. She and her husband, Dennis, are blessed with four children and five grandchildren.