Parents in Pain Need Hope

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAre you a parent who needs hope for your son or daughter? Do they struggle with destructive, dangerous behaviors and choices? Have they been diagnosed with a brain disorder or mental illness? Do they have an addiction? Are they serving a jail term or prison sentence? Have they told you they’re gay? Maybe they let you know they plan to marry their partner or become parents together?

Some of you have no idea where your child is. They rejected  you and your values and went out on their own. Some left town a long time ago, never looking back. You don’t even know if they’re dead or alive. If only they would call or send an email. If only.

If this is you, there’s something you need.


Your child may come back to you – and maybe not. Your son may call tomorrow. Your daughter could show up at the front door next week – and maybe not. There’s no way to know. I don’t mean to depress you, but we have to face reality. Our prayers might be answered, but what if they aren’t? What then? Can you still have hope?

You used to have plenty of it – boat loads -but that was then, and this is now. Your hope’s all gone. You’re older and wiser. You know more than you wish you did.

What can you do? You can put your hope in God. Yes. Hope. In. God. In who He is and what He’s already done.

beauty2He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and everything in them. “Our help is in the name of the lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”




hope in the stormHe is all powerful. He can do anything. Nothing is too hard for him.




He is love. His love is unfailing – for everyone.







Sovereign Jesus

He is forgiving and good to all who call on Him in truth.






He is our Counselor and Comforter.











He is our hope.

Remembering these things helps me. With a god like this I can get through anything. I can hold on to hope – so can you. HE is our hope and He is holding on to you!

In Him you will be okay, even if your child is never okay, even if things never work out and you’re never reconciled to them.



Dear God, please encourage each mom or dad reading helpthis blog today. Remind them who You are.You are their strength and help. If they’re not so sure, convince them these things are true. Reveal Yourself to them. Renew their hope and help them keep it in You. Reassure them that You will carry them all the way through this painful trial with their child. May they never give up praying for their sons and daughters, but may they learn to keep their hope in You – whatever happens.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen.




When a Parent is Addicted, Too

When your child is addicted to a substance or behavior, whether it’s pornography, gambling, cutting, binging and purging or to depression20 another person, it has a huge impact on us as their parent. If they suffer with a mental illness – Depression, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or an Anxiety Disorder it hurts us, too. If they’re gay or confused about their sexuality we’re affected as well.

Their pain is ours. We’re connected on a deep level, especially us moms. And sometimes we develop unhealthy, addictive behaviors ourselves.

What are you addicted to?

Getting your Way? “My child better please me and do what I told them; they need to live up to my expectations, or else.”

If Your Child is a Cutter

My daughter is a cutter. She hurt herself the first time when she was only twelve-years-old. I wrote this poem for parents who, like me, bear hidden scars in their hearts because of their children who suffer with self-injury, also called self-harm, self-mutilation. My daughter has struggled with self-injury for over ten years. It’s hard for someone who hasn’t experienced this to understand what it’s like for a parent. Maybe my words will describe your feelings, too.

tears - artwork by Jonty HurwitzCuts on your arms
With more hidden from sight,
Countless marks of madness
How can it be?
That your raging self-hatred
Becomes my insanity?

When It’s Hard for a Parent to Love

Valentine’s Day is Saturday. It’s a hard day for parents who find it hard to love their wayward child, who feel unloved by themmagnified ocean sand 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 to love her son by faith when he refused to accept her love for years.

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

Do You Love Someone Who’s Bipolar?

MaldivesTen years ago my daughter was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She was eighteen. I was clueless. A few years ago I attended a lecture on the subject at a local college campus. The speaker was Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, one of the leading experts in the field. Author of An Unquiet Mind, she knows her stuff. Jamison was diagnosed with bipolar in high school. She fought against it for years.

Her comments will give you a better understanding and more compassion toward your loved one. These are my notes from her lecture. (Part 1 of her talk was the subject of my last blog on 2/4/15. It focused on the reasons bipolar sufferers resist or stop taking medication.)

Q & A:
1. Words of hope given to a twelve-year-old diagnosed at age eight. “There’s no end of hope to offer you.

Is Your Child Bipolar?

Has your child been diagnosed with bipolar disorder? My daughter was. Have you struggled to understand? I did. A few years ago I had the privilege of attending a lecture of one of the leading experts in the field,  Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison. She suffers with this brain disorder herself, so she really knows what she’s talking about. She wrote the book An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness, about her experiences. Here are a few highlights.isolated

One of the biggest challenges is that people who struggle with bipolar resist or stop taking medication.
It’s hard for doctors and loved ones to understand why patients do this. Some of the common reasons are:

– Mania is an intoxicating state. Exhilarating. Being on medication cuts into that.

– Side effects of medication can seem intolerable.

– Mania destroys the basis of rational thought. While it brings some pleasure, it also brings untold suffering (the things you do/choices you make when in this state. Often, you don’t even know or remember what happened. You wonder if you will ever be free of the cycles – mania and severe, often debilitating depression. When will it happen again? You never know.

– They affect memory and coordination.

– It’s hard to accept you have a disease and must be a patient for the rest of your life. Pride is involved. Even mild mania is quite alluring. Can be compared to how cocaine makes you feel, only the mania does a hundred times more; wild highs. And you don’t forget how you felt. So this becomes an illness you don’t want to give up. You deny you have an incurable disease.

There’s a great sense of loss and the very real chance of losing your life if untreated. You must accept this. It’s a difficult process. It took Jamison all through high school, college, 2 yrs of grad school and into her second year as a professor of psychiatry at John’s Hopkins Medical Center to finally accept it.

brokenIn the lows of suicidal depression everything feels dull, lifeless, no joy, can’t feel anything, or think clearly or feel loving.

One of the most powerful things anyone ever said to her was from one of her fellow professors,
“Keep taking your meds; learn from your experience; teach from it and write from it.”

People who are treated and do well tend to keep quiet about their experiences. They don’t want anyone to know. Pride stops them. So people have an unrealistic view about bipolar. Being treated by a great psychiatrist and psychotherapist are crucial. Find ones you know will be honest with you, but offer hope. Tough but kind. Get second opinions if you can afford it. If you don’t have a good connection with the one you’re seeing, find someone else. Not all psychiatrists are good in this area.

After she was in recovery a long time she always missed her highs in mania. But she came to realize that she must choose between life and death. Bipolar is that serious.

In my next blog on Sunday, February 8th, I’ll share more insights and words of hope from Dr. Jamison . If you need a little more hope, it may help.

God, we need fresh hope. We need more understanding. More compassion. Please help us. Only You can. We’re relying onhope27 You.

Does Your Child Self Harm? It isn’t Just Cutting! Part 2

DisappointmentToday’s blog is part 2 from Wednesday, January 28th. It was written by Stacy Flury for parents of teens who struggle with self-injury. Her blog is Anchor of Promise. In part 2 she talks about the warning signs, reasons behind why self-harmers hurt themselves and what they can do.

So parents ask, “What are the signs of self-harm?”

It is very difficult to catch a self-harmer. They can hide it easily or explain it away to some other excuse such as an accidental injury. My daughter had often used the excuse of scratches from our cat. However, the differences in a cat scratch and a human self-inflicted scratch are different. Here are a few other warning signs.

1. Covering of the body.
2. Unexplained reasons for bruising and cuts
3. Numerous amounts of scarring, burning, cuts within a period of time
4. Broken bones too often