A Blizzard’s Message to Parents in Pain

Focus on These 3 Things

blizzardJanuary of 1997 in Baltimore, Maryland, my husband, three children and I found ourselves in the middle of a blizzard. We had flown into town for two weeks of cross-cultural training to prepare for a year overseas. Staying at a retreat center outside of town, we were safe. Their staff provided us with shelter, plenty of food, warmth, and generators. Hoorah for those!

To our dismay, due to the snow storm, none of our luggage arrived. Thankfully, our new friends at the conference showed us compassion. When we asked for help they loaned us everything we needed, from underwear and shoes to a hair dryer. Ten days later our luggage finally arrived. Boy, were we happy to finally get our things.

As I type this blog there’s a huge blizzard barreling down on many states – many where you are. Deaths are being reported by the hour. Millions have been affected.

What message could a blizzard have for parents in pain whose children are making dangerous, destructive choices?

A Good Question for Parents of Troubled Teens or Adults to Ask

Can You Carry My Suitcase?

Parents who suffer over the destructive behaviors and choices of their teen to adult children long to find someone who can walk the lonely path with them. Alcohol, drugs, self-injury, eating disorders, mental illness, Same-Sex Attraction (SSA), gambling and video game addictions, incarceration, pornography . . . the list of troubles we might encounter is long. Saying them out loud to someone is incredulous. We shudder in shame. And so we hide.

We know. We’ve walked that path and feeling alone only made it worse.

Your pain is deep. You long for someone to share it with. If I don’t get this out, I think I’ll explode, may be your ongoing thought. But to whom do you entrust these intimate family details? Who will listen well, suspend judgement, and keep a confidence?

Try asking yourself, “Can they carry my suitcase?” What in the world does that mean?

This question comes from a story about a father of two daughters:

Two Things Brokenhearted Parents Need to Know

There's Help for You

I didn’t know where to find help for my addicted, depressed daughter. What counselor should we take her to? How could I find one? What rehab should we send her to? Which one would be best for her unique needs?

I didn’t understand mental illness. What is bipolar – really? How does an anxiety disorder impact a person? How can I help when she has a panic attack?

I didn’t know why she cut and slashed her flesh. Was her life that bad? Did she want to die? Should I hide all sharp objects in our home or make her keep her door open?

I was scared she might take her life before her 21st birthday. Would I find her lifeless body in her room one morning? How do I sleep worrying about something like that?

I didn’t know if her problems were my fault. Was I really such a bad parent? What did I do to cause all of this? I was overwhelmed.

What would the future hold for her? What kind of life would she have? What were realistic expectations?

I certainly didn’t know if I could keep my sanity in the midst of so much heart break.

Was there anything I could know for certain? Anything helpful or encouraging?

Yes. I now believe there is. It took a long time, but I’ve come to see that there are two things I needed to know that could make a difference.

Dad, I’m Not Renee!

Parents Can Get Stuck in a Knee Jerk Reaction

Do you live with a continuously rebellious son or daughter? I did. Events occur that took my breath away, made my stomach sink, filled my heart with fear and my mind with anxiety. Add to the mix, confusion from dealing with things I’d never dealt with before and not feeling prepared to handle them, could make a grown man crazy.

This was my life. In her late teens, I’d caught my daughter Renee in several lies. So, when she asked to go out at night, I couldn’t fully trust what her plans really were. I didn’t trust where she was, what she was doing or who she was with.

I’d built a set of knee jerk, verbal reactions to various things she would do.

Parenting and Agriculture

4 Lessons Fresh Off the Vine

*Today’s post is from Tom, a wise dad with much wisdom to share.

Parenting is hard work. It’s not for the fainthearted or the cowardly. Yet, it can also be the source of some of our greatest joys in life.

Many strong believers marry and plan for a family. They have great anticipation of bundles of joy, and a marvelous journey from infants to young, thriving adults. They bathe the entire process in prayer, even before birth, asking God for wisdom to parent and a good life for their much-loved child.

But then, in their child’s pre-teen or early teen years, warning signs begin to emerge.

If Valentine’s Day Hurts

A Message to Parents in Pain

Valentine’s Day is this Tuesday. For parents in pain over the behaviors and troubles of their kids, it can be a hard day. I know. I’ve been there. I understand how it reminds you how much you love your child – and how much you’ve lost.

Valentine’s Day also reminds me of the greatest love of all. The love of  God and the love he has for all people.

Listen to what the Bible says about this love: “By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. BUT God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life . . .” (Eph. 2: 3b – 5b, NIV).

It’s spectacular. Indescribable. Marvelous.

I could go on and on listing superlative adjectives to describe how the above verses make me feel. I find great comfort here.

Without Christ, your child is an object of God’s anger; the focus of his wrath. Your son. Your daughter. They’re on their way to eternal doom. They’re in grave danger, headed for destruction,

BUT . . . God stepped in and did something most unexpected.

Suicide: Parents Need to Know the Warning Signs

Could Your Child be at Risk?

photo cred. manos bourdakis

Yesterday my husband and I participated in an Out of the Darkness Walk, a fundraiser sponsored by the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (afsp). It got me to thinking . . . are you the mom or dad of a son or daughter who struggles with depression and hopelessness? Have you ever said, “I’m tormented by not knowing if they’re safe”? Do you have an uneasy feeling something’s wrong, but can’t put your finger on it? Have you ever heard your child say, “I feel so worthless. What’s the use. My life doesn’t matter. I just want to go to sleep and never wake up”? If so, this is for you.

The information here could be crucial for you and your child’s well-being. It’s from The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s website. These are the warning signs that may mean a person is a suicide risk. The danger is greater when one of these behaviors is new, has increased or could be related to a painful event, loss, or change.

Should your child exhibit any of these, please seek help as soon as possible by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Trained, volunteer counselors are ready and available to talk with you or the despondent individual 24/7 including holidays.

Loving a Prodigal

Is Everything Out of Control?

Welcome today’s guest blogger, my dear friend and mom of a former prodigal, Judy Douglass. She writes from years of experience, a heart of compassion and much wisdom.

“Does everything seem out of control?

Sometimes life, or family situations, or financial needs seem overwhelming. We feel out of control. We can’t help or stop or change things. We can’t control them.

It is good when we recognize this, for then we will hopefully turn to El Elyon, the Most High God.

The literal meaning is “God is the high one.” Synonyms would be sovereign and ruler. In other words, He is in control.

This name of God appears throughout the Old Testament, but most often in the book of Daniel. Here we read the story of Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty ruler of the Babylonian empire.

Though he acknowledged the power of Daniel’s God, he still believed he was in control. Thus God’s word to him: “You will be driven away from people and will live with wild animals…Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men…”

And that is what happened. After seven years of living as an animal, the King looked to heaven and was restored. He said, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just…”

Where is your life out of control?

A child on drugs? Lost a job? A pregnant daughter? In foreclosure? A son in jail? A cancer diagnosis? Or just myriad small details adding up to one big mess?

How to Keep Your Sanity When You’re Child’s Making You Feel Like You’re Losing It

4 Things You Can Do

Today was a beautiful day for a bike ride. My husband attached our new bike rack to the car and we were off with some friends for a relaxing morning. The flat, shady trail was perfect. As our tires rolled over the paved path, birds sang and the sun shone warm on our backs. Gentle breezes and mild temperatures mixed together for the perfect outing.

I’m not the racing type. I prefer a leisurely, relaxed pace. It’s more refreshing for me that way. While I rode along today, I recalled how it felt (not too long ago) when I thought I would lose my mind over my troubled daughter’s behaviors and choices; when it felt like she was making me lose my sanity.

“Okay, our children don’t make us lose our sanity, but they make us feel like we could.

4 Reasons Not to Give Up On Your Troubled Kids

When You Want to Quit

“I give up. I can’t do this. It’s too hard. I’m not strong enough for the job. It’s beyond my capacity. I need help.” This was how I felt about the lady finger palms growing behind our screened in patio. They had to go. They were causing big problems. But they’re roots were too strong and too deep for me to manage on my own. I did my best. I tried hard, so did my husband, but we couldn’t do it.

The harder we tried, the more aggravated and frustrated we became. Ugh.

To be honest, there have been times I’ve felt this way about my daughter. You may have, too. Maybe today you’ve almost reached your give-up point.

It feels terrible to come to that place about your own son or daughter. But sometimes it’s hard not to despair. You fill in the blank with your child’s issue(s)____________. The list might be long. No one wants to quit on their own flesh and blood.

Why shouldn’t we give up? These are the 4 reasons my husband and I chose not to: