When you’re a weary mom or dad who feels like your child is never going to have a breakthrough, never be set free from the chains that hold them, never come to faith, never be reconciled to you, never____________(you fill in the blank), you need a lot of encouragement. You need to hear stories of others who overcame; found freedom, and faith; found their way back to family and found themselves. I recently read the following story and had to share it with you:
“Years ago I received a letter from a friend . . . He wrote, ‘I recently got some great news. My sister . . . gave up drinking, joined AA, and got saved. She now has a relationship with Christ. . . All this after years of pain using alcohol. I had prayed for her for years and had almost given up hope; however, that apparently would have been foolish of me. God takes care of things according to His will and timetable, which of course are perfect anyway. At any rate, I praise Him for delivering my sister from bondage. God continues to be so good.’ ” Moments for Families With Prodigals by Robert J. Morgan (Taken from Moment Sixty-six)
What a great reminder for us to not give in to despair but to keep praying – trusting God’s will and timetable. You may be discouraged after praying for so many years, not seeing any answers. Things may seem to keep getting worse. You wonder what good are your prayers doing?
Broken. Crushed. Lifeless. Grief-stricken. Depressed. Heartsick. Sorrowful. Sleepless. Incapacitated. Stunned. Immobilized. Numb. Inconsolable. Despairing. Dejected. Distressed. Downcast. Hopeless. Miserable. Torn-up. Devastated. These adjectives describe how many moms and dads feel whose children are abusing alcohol or drugs, in jail or prison, have an eating disorder, engage in self harm, have a mental illness (Bipolar, Depression, Schizophrenia, Obsessive Compulsive, etc.), are involved in same-sex attraction, pornography or a sex addiction . . . the list could go on and on.
It’s like you have just been in a serious accident, yet your wounds are invisible to the naked eye. Comparable to experiencing a death, but no one knows. On the outside you look okay, yet in reality you are dying inside, you are hurting beyond your ability to describe. You are one of the walking wounded . . . the living dead. You aren’t getting the special care you need. Or people know, but they don’t “get it”, so they do and say they wrong things. They mean well but they just don’t understand. They don’t know what to do for you. How could they?
Does this describe you? Did you see yourself here as you read over those adjectives?
Her name was Brie. She was 14 years old. She was like a member of our family. She was furry and friendly and was just a mutt – part Cocker Spaniel and part Golden Retriever, but she was very special to us. We had to have her put to sleep last week and my heart still hurts. It was 9/11 — seems to make it hurt even more. It has been so much more painful than I was prepared for. I have been crying – sobbing – off and on ever since.
My chest aches. I am exhausted. More sensitive to everything. This comes on the heels of my 92 year old father’s death in February and another “rough spell” with my daughter who suffers from addictions, mental illness and cutting, among other things. I am realizing that my pain over the death of my dog is being intensified and compounded due to these other “losses”. Do you ever go through times like this? What is compounding your pain today?
“I sought the Lord and He heard me and he delivered me from ALL my fears.” (Psalms 34:4)
Oh, God, I thank you that you always hear us when we come to You. Deliver us when we call to you! Deliver us from ALL our fears for our children. Our fears are many. We fear for their soul (will they have faith in God?), for their health (emotional and physical – do they have a mental illness or an eating disorder?) and the damage they are doing (or could do) to their body (will they become dependent on alcohol or drugs?), for their future (what will it hold? will they end up in jail one day?), for their relationships (who are their friend, who they will marry one day?), for their safety (are they placing themselves in danger?) for their reputation (what will others think?) and some of us fear for their very lives. (will we lose them?)
We are in desperate need of Someone to deliver us from these tormenting thoughts! We are weary of dealing with them. Worn out. Completely.
To Deliver. . . . . The dictionary definition is: to set free or liberate; to release or save.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
All I know is that I am not strong enough or smart enough to handle my fears on my own. I cannot free myself from them. It’s too hard. They are so many and they are so powerful. But one thing I have discovered I can do is
You may be a mom or dad who is seeing some disturbing behavior in your child you cannot explain and do not understand. Could they be
having panic attacks? Maybe you have felt like you were having one yourself at times. When your child is involved in self-destructive behaviors or have a mental illness, it can cause a lot of anxiety in your life not to mention a web of problems in their own life. Many factors can cause your child to develop this. Do you know what a panic attacks are? Have you ever heard of something called a Panic Disorder?
Panic Disorder is classified as a major mental illness, but if you have panic attacks it does not mean you have this disorder. Does it frighten and embarrass you to think that your child might be suffering from a mental illness?
You may be completely ignorant or in denial like I was when the early signs appeared in my teenage daughter. I did not understand it at all. I thought she was exaggerating when she would describe these episodes to me. It also frightened me. Why would this be happening? What could cause her to react to something like this?
Does this make you feel fearful, too? Uncomfortable? Wondering what this might mean? First of all, relax.
The following is taken from a newsletter to the parents of youth at a local church with my additions. If your child is in full-blown rebellion, no matter how old they are, there are certain things you can do to still have an impact on them and it will help improve your relationship with them.
1) Be an aggressive observer by paying careful attention to them in their comfort zones.
Become a student of your child. Study them and notice what they like, what they are good at, what is important to them, where are there strengths, etc. If they are no longer living with you it will take more effort on your part to do this. God will give you ideas.
2) Be available to listen as they talk about their struggles.
No lectures. No preaching at them. No judgements or disapproval. Just asking good questions and listening, listening,