September 22nd was the first day of fall. Cooler weather, colorful leaves and shorter days are coming. Autumn makes me think of change and change can bring good things or bad, blessings or heartache. We all hope for more of the good, especially parents.
As our children grow up, we experience countless changes. I know. I raised three. Positive ones we keep a record of: rolling over, first tooth, first word, first holiday, first trip, first steps, first day of school, funny things they say, first dance, etc.
We don’t want to forget milestones, so we keep journals and take thousands of photos and videos. They’re special to our hearts. I did okay with my first two children, but with the last one . . . well, I tried.
However, there are other types of changes; the heartbreaking kind we wish we could forget. They haunt us in our dreams.
Some moms and dads have had more than their fair share.
That’s been my experience.
If your son or daughter abuses drugs or alcohol, harms themselves, suffers with a mental illness, is suicidal, has a same-sex attraction or is in trouble with the law, you’ve tried hard to change them. But you can’t make that happen if they’re uncooperative.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t try, especially if they’re under eighteen. Do everything in your power to help: counseling, an evaluation by a doctor or psychiatrist, rehab or treatment, maybe a therapeutic boarding school or wilderness camp.
After trying everything I knew to do, I realized I couldn’t change my daughter. The feeling of helplessness was horrible.
If you’re in this situation you know the gut-wrenching pain. Your child must decide they’re ready. It may still be summertime to them. They’re unwilling to move into a new season.
What can you do?
- Accept what is. You. Are. Powerless.
- Learn to let go.
- Wait on God.
I’m sure our efforts did some good, but at the time they were merely a deposit our daughter could go back and draw on in the future when she was ready. Until she was sick and tired of being sick and tired; until she wanted to be well no matter what it would take – wanted it for herself and not to please me or her dad or anyone else, she wasn’t ready. Only God could make that happen.
And He did.
“I can’t. God can. I think I’ll let him.”
When that statement describes your attitude, you can find peace in any situation, especially with your child.
How can you do it?
Remember your problem may be big, but God is bigger.
Realize you have no power to change your child, but God is all-powerful.
Admit you don’t know what to do, but God does. Trust Him.
Believe He can even move mountains, if that’s what it takes.
Pray. Stay close to God and pray some more.
He can do the impossible. And He can help you stop worrying while you wait.
If you apply this Bible verse in your life, you’ll experience the kind of change you need the most – in any season.
“Have no anxiety about anything . . . bring your requests to God and the peace of God will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
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