A Special Message to Parents Affected by the Parkland School Shooting

One Thing We Can Do for Our Own Hearts

My husband and I want to express our deepest sympathies to the families who lost a child (or were impacted in some way) by the Parkland school shooting. Our hearts are heavy for you, along with thousands or millions across the nation. We ache for your loss.

photo cred. Jim Rassol. Orlando Sentinel



Your beloved children died, murdered, at school—a place they should have been safe—on Valentine’s Day, of all days. The day we give cards and gifts to show love to those we care about, became a horrific day of suffering and carnage for you. Your lives have been changed. Forever altered. We are so very sorry.

When you said “goodbye” Wednesday morning, it was the beginning of a day like any other. You had no idea it would be the last time you would ever see your son or daughter alive.

My mind has gone in many directions since I heard the terrible news. But one thought I keep returning to is this:

No one knows what the future holds. We have no guarantee of another day with those we love.

Love is More Than a Valentine by Tom Yohe

How a Dad’s Relationship Changed with His Daughter

February is here. Many of us think of how we will express love toward those who mean a lot to us on Valentine’s Day. Grocery stores are stocked with cards, flowers, candy, and balloons.  Restaurants run specials hoping to entice us with food and beverages. All of these ways tell someone they matter, a tangible way to say I love you.

How do you express love to someone who has hurt you, filled you with feelings of anger, fear, and sadness? And what if this person is your teen child?

This was my dilemma. One Saturday afternoon while several hours from home, I received a call from the police. Shocked and puzzled my mind wondered, why would the police be calling me? The voice on the other end explained my 18-year-old daughter was in the hospital, Baker Acted for self-injury, admitted to a psych ward for her welfare, but against her will.

Interview with a Mom

Valentine's Day Message for Parents in Pain

Valentine’s Day is soon. It’s a hard day for parents who find it difficult to love their wayward children, who feel unloved by them, and would give anything to hear them say, “I love you.”

Today’s blog is a video interview of my dear friend, Judy Douglass. She’s the mom of a challenging son she and her husband adopted at age nine from a very dysfunctional background.

Listen and be encouraged as she shares how God poured His strength into her, empowering her to love by faith when her son refused to accept her love for years.

Maybe her story will resonate with yours. Maybe she will give you some comfort and hope.

Healthy Detachment for Parents of Addicts

Let Go of Your Obsession

What is healthy detachment? There was a time when I had no clue. My husband and I first learned about detachment at a conference for parents fo addicts. I wasn’t sure I had the strength or courage to let go of Renee’. I was too nice, too scared, and too weak. Besides, it felt cruel, unloving.

I’ve talked to many hurting parents who have the same opinion. Confused, they don’t believe detaching is the right thing to do. In our culture, to detach often means being indifferent, disinterested, unconcerned, not caring. Perhaps that’s why it feels confusing and wrong. But this isn’t what they promote in recovery circles.

The kind of detaching they recommend is to separate ourselves from the adverse effects of another person’s destructive behaviors.

10 Promises For Depressed Parents

Keeping Your Sanity in the Face of Tragedy

Tragedies occur every day.

Drug overdoses and addiction. Self-harm and suicide attempts. They’re both at an all-time high. Mental health diagnoses are rampant, with the majority of individuals refusing treatment. Jails and prisons are full. The list of issues is long. Teens and adults of all ages struggle with hopelessness and despair. Just hearing about these things is depressing. Everywhere you go families are hurting. Is yours one of them?

“I feel so down. I don’t think I can take it anymore.” “I can’t believe what’s happening.” “This generation is going to hell in a handbasket.” “I’m more fearful now than ever for my child.” “I want to go to sleep and never wake up. I just want the pain to end.” I frequently hear comments like these from weary moms and dads.

In America and abroad, millions of families have been impacted by the issues I mentioned. These problems do not discriminate. No race, religion, or socio-economic group is left untouched. As parents of struggling sons and daughters, fear seizes our hearts. We worry and fret about their future.

Some of our children live in dangerous ways, threatening their lives on a regular basis. We watch the evening news and think, that could have been my child. Our illusion of control has been yanked out from under our feet.

As hard as we try, we can’t stop bad things from happening to our sons and daughters.

One day we could face a tragedy. What a hard reality to live with. The anticipation can lead to depression. What could help?

As a believer in Jesus, I turn to the Bible. God’s Word helps me face any tragedy.

Ten Promises for Depressed Parents

  1. God is with me. I am not alone. Others who have walked this path can help me, too.

Five Faulty Expectations of Parenting

This Isn't What I Thought Would Happen

Today’s content is based on a message by Ben Markham, our church’s youth minister. His wisdom and insights can help hurting parents whose children (teens or adults) make dangerous choices; who face troubling situations of all kinds. My journey as a mom hasn’t turned out as I expected. Has yours?

In John 1:29 – 34, John the Baptist sent his disciples to ask Jesus a hard question, “Are you the one who was to come?” Didn’t he know?  John had endured a year or so in prison and now he was beginning to doubt. He was suffering. There was no end in sight. He’d heard about what his cousin Jesus was doing and his expectations weren’t being met—the kingdom hadn’t been restored to the Jews. They were still under Roman rule. Is this how things are supposed to be, Jesus . . . really? It wasn’t what John thought would happen.

My journey as a parent hasn’t been what I expected, either. Lord, you’ve allowed so much pain and suffering. I never thought this would happen to me . . . I don’t understand.

Sometimes we have faulty expectations of God – they apply to our parenting. Here are five of the most common ones.

Five Faulty Expectations of God:

  1. He’ll keep his promises in our time frame.

Change in the New Year

What Does God Have to Say to Parents of Prodigals?

My guest blogger today is Val Bush, our teammate at Hope for Hurting Parents. Be sure to read more about her and see her pretty smile at the end of the blog. 

Change? Are you kidding me? You want me to change? After all I’ve been going through? Have you seen my child, Lord? He’s the one who needs to change! Not me. I’m a law-abiding citizen. People describe me as trustworthy and dependable. And I’m a strong Christian! (Mic drop)

A tree in our neighborhood has seen better days. One of its branches (still full of leaves) broke under the weight of a heavy October snow. Now, months later, the rest of the tree’s leaves are gone, with the exception of those on the broken branch. That branch retained all its leaves, although they, too, are brown and dead. They remain attached, as if exempted from nature’s seasonal cycle.

This spring, the tree will produce signs of new, healthy life. Dead leaves, however, will remain on the broken limb in stark contrast to the green buds surrounding it. Certainly an eyesore, the decaying limb will also threaten the rest of the tree by potentially harboring pests and disease.

Throughout the fall and now winter, this unappealing tree branch reflects the equally unappealing topic of change. This has been the focus of both my daily devotions and recent messages at church. (Isn’t this often God’s way of teaching us something? He brings it up everywhere we turn!)

A Hope-filled Story of Transformation

Happy New Year to Weary Parents

Today is New Year’s Day 2018. If you’re a parent in pain due to the behaviors and choices of your son or daughter, this might not be a good day, so I have something special for you. It’s the true story of God’s faithfulness in his pursuit of a wayward son. A former prodigal and his mom got together wrote it (I’ve made only a few grammar edits). They gave me permission to share with others to encourage them. This is for parents far and wide; a vision of what God could do in your child’s life – a gift of hope.

Let me tell you about John. You may see similarities here to your own child. John is the son of Christian missionaries. He made a decision for Christ when he was five-years-old. He rededicated his life at age twelve and was baptized at seventeen. However, when he was eighteen, he decided to live life his way. He chose to deny God to justify his choices.

My God Box – Help for Parents Dealing with Difficult Emotions

A Gift for Yourself

Tomorrow is Christmas, a hard day for many people, especially parents who are hurting over the destructive choices and behaviors of their teen to adult children. In my last post on December 11th, I told you about the idea of a “God Box”.  This is not my original concept. I heard about it in an Al-Anon meeting.

Using a God box has been a great strategy to help me deal with my raw emotions of fear, worry, and anxiety. It is my prayer that this could help you, too.

Here’s how to use a God Box:

A Hurting Parent’s Christmas Wish List

What's on Your List?

Santa'slapAs the mother of a daughter who has wrestled with addictions, self-injury, mental illness, and suicidal tendencies my wants during the holidays are few.

If I could be a child again I’d climb up on Santa’s lap and have a very different kind of wish list to share with him.

Material things mean nothing when one of our children is suffering.

We’ll never be the same. 

What do we really want for Christmas? Nothing money can buy. Your list is probably a lot like mine. It’s more like a prayer.


All I want for Christmas is:

1) A “do-over” for my daughter.