Former Agnostic Shares Story to Encourage Parents – Part 2

Fresh Hope for You

This is Part 2 of the journey of a former agnostic who was raised in a strong Christian home. T.J., now twenty-eight, shares how he shut God out and fell into the party scene. He told me his story for one reason: to offer encouragement and fresh hope to brokenhearted parents. If God can transform him, then He can transform your child, too.

After a period of  hard-partying, downtown clubbing, bar-hopping, shameless liquor, girl-chasing, and unrestrained recreational party drugs, losing his girlfriend and who he thought were close friends, T.J.’s story continues:

I realized how I’d destroyed everything wonderful in my life. And so, I cried out to God in my brokenness and agonyand, for the very first time Surrenderin my life, I heard Him answer. He picked me up out of the rubble of my self-destruction and from that moment on I promised to never lash out against Him again.

How could I keep pushing Him away after everything He revealed to me and the peace He gave me in the aftermath of what I’d done? And what was it specifically that I had done?

Former Agnostic Shares Story to Encourage Parents – Part 1

Hope from a Son Whose Been There

Today is Part 1 of the journey of a former agnostic, raised in a strong Christian home. God transformed him into a passionate follower of Christ. T.J. has eagerly agreed to share his story in an attempt to give hurting parents hope for their son or daughter.

party sceneOnce upon a time, not that long ago, the deepest, most venomous anger, hatred, and bitterness were eating me alive from the inside out. Nearly a decade of rejecting God had finally caught up with me. The burdens of greed and selfishness were at long last caving in.

I was dying in my heart, and there was no one to blame but me. In that moment I faced one terrifying question: What on earth had I done?

On the outside, my image didn’t add up. Raised in a devout home, I went to a private Christian school, had two amazing parental examples, and was taught to memorize the Bible from a young age. But, by the time I got to high school I’d grown bored with everything that had to do with God and church.

Blah, blah – I knew the stories. Blah, blah – Christ died. Blah, blah – life with God is wonderful. Blah, blah, blah. I was tired of the same old, same old.

So one day, when I was about fifteen-years-old,

So You Got Yourself a Prodigal

If Tomorrow Never Comes

Today I’m sharing a podcast with you. It’s from Hope for the Journey by Kevin Small. This is for the parent045 who has lost their child or has been on this journey so long they’ve nearly given up hope. Have you become numb? Do you need encouragement for the long haul because you see no end in sight? If your answer is yes, then this is for you.

Is your child incarcerated? Have they struggled for years with an addiction they can’t overcome? As loving, caring parents we’re eager to make sense of it all. We’d love it if someone could worry for us – if only that was possible. Sign me up, right? We know the Bible tells us to cast all our anxieties on God because He cares for us, but when things are tough, it gets really, really hard.

I understand. My daughter has struggled with

Encouragement for Parents in Pain

7 Quotes to Uplift Your Soul

“I can’t do this. I don’t know how much more I can take.” “I think I’m going to have a nervous breakdown.” ” I never 057knew someone could cause me so much intense heartache. This feels unbearable.” “To tell you the truth, I’m so wrecked over my child I’ve been thinking about ending my life.”  My husband and I talk to hurting moms and dads all the time. Comments like these are common. I’ve thought them myself. What about you, dear parent?

How is your heart today? If your child has an issue that’s impacting you: alcohol, weed, heroin or some other drug, repeated self-harm, addicted to pornography or video games, incarcerated, starves or binges with food, has a mental illness or struggles with suicidal thoughts, then you’re in pain – agonizing pain.

I’m a mom who can empathize. One of the things that has helped me the most is

3 Things Hurting Parents Need to Hear

Medicine for Your Sickened Heart

Jogging_couple_-_legsI’m the mom of a daughter who’s struggled for over ten years with addictions, self-injury and mental health issues. At times I felt like I was living in the middle of a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. The road has been rough. The path – steep. The nights – long. The days full of agony. My shame has been great. My guilt has been heavy. My sadness infected every are of my life.

There are three things I wish I had known sooner in my parenting marathon. They were like medicine for my sickened heart. If you’re the parent of a troubled son or daughter (or grandchild) you need to hear them sooner rather than later.

Parents in Pain: Your Feelings Matter

Guest blog on Emotions from counselor, Ed Welch

 

Are you the parent of a prodigal – a troubled teen or adult child? Are they struggling with addiction,

Bored teenager looking depressed, with a grey background

mental health issues or thoughts of suicide? Maybe they’re self-injuring, have an eating disorder or are confused about their sexuality. Perhaps they’re incarcerated. Have you been confused about what you’re feeling, much less able to understand your off-spring? Today’s content is the re-post of a blog written by counselor, author Ed Welch. He wrote it on August 6th of this year. The topic is emotions.

As a hurting parent, I know first hand this we need a lot of help with ours. They’re are all over the place – fear, anger, grief, worry, guilt, despair. Ed has a lot to say about this.

“Think of emotions as a language. They say something—something very important—and part of our job is to figure out what they are saying.

Mom of Prodigal Shares Her Story

Radio Interview with Dena Yohe

Are you a parent who feels completely alone? Have your child’s problems and issues drained you ofdepression (1) energy, finances, emotional health, and hope? Addiction, mental illness, self-injury – they create a lot of confusion and chaos. Who can you talk to? Where do you go for help?

Today I’m sharing my most recent radio interview with you. It was with Kim Weir, host of Houston’s God Listens, a Sunday night live talk show.

I hope listening to this will bring you increased encouragement, perseverance and hope. Maybe you can relate to much of our story. Denial, shock, grief, anger, resentment, weariness.

Yes, my journey has been very long and very painful, but God has met me every step of the way. How grateful I am. He’ll do the same for you.

This is the full program. My interview starts a few minutes into the program and is interspersed throughout the next 45 minutes.

Remember, “Those who hope in me (the Lord) will not be disappointed (Isaiah 49:23).”

Please leave your comments. Was anything help? Any ah ha moments? New insights?

 

 

Can a Parent in Pain Reduce their Stress?

10 Ideas from a Mom Whose Been in the Trenches

Stress. We all experience it in some form. It’s a fact of life.  Some of you are parents who havestress greater amounts of stress than the average person: Your child came in past their curfew – again. They keep getting caught skipping class at school or they’re struggling in college. They got another speeding ticket or had another car accident – maybe a DUI. Arrests. Signs of marijuana use in your home or at their residence.

Arguments over . . . anything. You have a gnawing sense they’re probably having sex with their boyfriend or girlfriend. You’re worried about a pregnancy or an STD; or fearful they may be drawn to the gay lifestyle. Hints of too much drinking are being noticed more frequently. You discovered they’re self-injuring and struggle with a mental illness. To be honest, you’re beginning to wonder if they’re life is in danger by their own hand? All this pressure makes you sick to your stomach.

When negative experiences with your child come at you fast and furious, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed and stressed out.

Can God help when worry threatens to overpower you?

“With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible (Mark 10:27).”

When we can’t change a difficult situation we feel powerless. Powerlessness creates a huge amount of mental and emotional strain, especially when it’s related to your beloved son or daughter. I’ve found it difficult to manage all the effects of that kind of stress on my own, but God can. Over the years, He taught me these 10 practical tips that helped.

10 Practical Ways to Reduce Stress

stress free1. Learn to say no: simplify my life; shorten my to-do list by removing the “shoulds” and keeping the “musts”. Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them altogether.

2. Delegate tasks to others when possible. In Exodus 18: 31-32 God gave Moses some extra help when he asked for it!

3. Set aside time for rest and relaxation. Make time for leisure activities everyday: smell the roses, enjoy a hobby.

4. Focus on what’s really important and make those things my priority. Read Luke 10:38-42 about Jesus’ visit to Mary and Martha; Mary chose what was better.

5. Eat healthy, get adequate sleep and some kind of exercise.

6. Listen to relaxing music. I like classical, jazz, and a variety of praise and worship.

7. Have fun (remember what that is?) and try to laugh. Laughing helps the body fight stress. Proverbs 17:22 says a cheerful heart is good medicine.

8. Express my feelings honestly; not bottle them up. If something or someone is bothering me, communicate my concerns in an open and respectful way.

9. Look at the big picture. Get God’s perspective. Take one day at a time, even one moment. Print out a copy of The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr and use it daily. (Go to Google Images and do a search; you’ll find many different designs you can print. I like the full version.)

10. Connect with other positive people; develop a support system. Resist the urge to stay alone and isolate.

This Bible is full of stress reducing thoughts. Here’s a great one:

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true…noble…just…pure…lovely…of good report, if there is any virtue…anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things (Philippians 4:8).”

Let’s be honest – the reasons for your stress may not be alleviated quickly, but if you select even a few of these ideas and slowly incorporate them into your life, you will cope better. Stress won’t overwhelm you anymore.

Father,

You’re the Master stress-reducer. Show us how to live more like Jesus. He had a lot to be stressed about, yet, He remained calm. Help us begin to incorporate some of these ideas into our lives so that our stress level will be reduced. Our situation might not change, but we can change how we respond with Your help and strength. Amen.

 

A Different Kind of Hope for Brokenhearted Parents

crying_eyeHope. What is that to you as the parent of an addict, self-injurer, gay, mentally ill or incarcerated child (or any other issue)? In the past, my main hope was for things to “work out”; to have my prayers answered (all of them); to see my dreams fulfilled; to have my daughter healed, whole and well in every way.

Are you like me? We hope our child will:

Stop abusing alcohol or drugs.

No longer be attracted to the same-sex, or want to be transgendered.

Learn to cope without harming themselves.

Will My Child Ever be Okay?

Help for Depressed Parents

pure joyIs the heat chipping away at your confidence and trust, causing you to give in to worry and fear for your son or daughter? Do you wonder if they’ll ever be okay?  Will you ever have a normal life or a loving relationship with them? Have you lost count how many times they’ve been arrested, gone to rehab or relapsed? Have you forgotten how many times they’ve been hospitalized or were in the psych ward?

There have been huge arguments. So much chaos. So much despair. Their lives appear to be drying up and fading away.

It may feel like yours is, too.