Parents in Pain and The Biggest Loser

I enjoy the TV show, The Biggest Loser.  I find it inspirational to see people make so many changes in their lives.  You walk with them each week as theyexercise face their weaknesses. You see them work really, really hard to overcome many hurdles.  I feel like we as parents in pain are in a type of Biggest Loser program.  Our struggle is with our children. They bring out all our weaknesses and faults. When we face our inner pain it can bring many changes in our lives, too.  It takes a lot of very hard work, patience, perseverance and endurance to overcome –  just like the contestants on the Biggest Loser. They fight every day to not give up. So do we.

Hard Work.  Perseverance.  Endurance.  Courage. Inner strength.  Caring for myself.  Never giving up. We need these – more than we can imagine.

We must accept the hard experiences being our child’s parent brings into our lives as therapeutic workouts planned by our heavenly trainer who is committed  to getting us in shape.  We need to listen to Him and do whatever he tells to do, so we can achieve the emotional and spiritual fitness we’re in such desperate need of.

And there’s something else. We need faith. Faith to believe that with God’s help we can make it.  Faith to believe we will be okay – and maybe one day our child will be, too. But we can’t wait for that. We need to begin our training today. There’s a saying that goes something like this, “Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today.”  That way when our child is ready, we’ll be ready for a time of reconciliation and restoration.

Stop a minute and think. Sit quietly and listen. What is your Heavenly Trainer telling you to do today?

Is he saying:  Keep showing unconditional love? Stop enabling? Let go and let Him work? Write them a letter saying things you never get to say or think to say when you see them? Take one day at a time?  Stop worrying and trust Him more?  Go see a counselor or take your child to one (if they’re still in your home)?  Find a support group? Take care of yourself? Stop feeling guilty?  Remember that He is in control and you are not? Hmmmm – I wonder what you will hear?

This Bible verse encourages me, “. . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us . . . let us fix our eyes on Jesus  . . . so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  (Hebrews 12: 1b, 2a & 3)

Healing Words for Those Who Hurt

fall leavesOver the last eight years of my parenting journey I have suffered many wounds to my heart and soul. More times than I can count I’ve been in great need of deep, inner healing due to the stress and strain. My daughter struggles with addiction, self-injury, and mental illness. She’s been suicidal, in psych wards, and rehabs numerous times. Where can you turn for help when your soul is wounded?

If you’re anxious, depressed, sad, or can’t sleep you can go to a medical doctor, a psychiatrist, clergy, or a counselor. Each are beneficial and have good things to offer. After turning to some of these professionals I found I needed still more help for my heavy, broken heart.

I also turned to the One who made my heart and understood it like no other. I turned to the Lord God Almighty and to His life-giving Word, the Bible. I wanted to read everything Jesus said to those he healed – physically, as well as spiritually. He knows all types of pain. He understands when no one else can. He alone has the words of life.

What did Jesus, the Healer, say when he healed someone’s body or soul? I wanted to know, so I made a list of  everything I could find. It took weeks. Many of them are from the gospel of John and most are repeated in the other gospel accounts, so this list is only a partial list. It’s my hope that as you read these words, a deeper healing will begin to stir inside your hurting heart. They’ve been healing oil for mine.

I also threw in a few other healing words from the Old Testament. There are so many.

 

 

 

“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!”    ( John 5:8)

“It is I; don’t be afraid.”  ( John 6:20)

“. . .  the truth will set you free.”  ( John 8:32)

“So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”  ( John 8:36)

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  ( John 10:10)

“Lazarus, come out!”  (John 11:43)

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you . . .”  (John 14:27)

“Did I not tell you if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”  (John 11:40)

“You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it.”  (John 14:14)

“Because I live, you also will live.”  (John 14:19)

“Take heart! I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)

“I am willing. Be clean!”  (Luke 5:13)

“I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”  (John 14:6)

“I Am the Resurrection and the Life.”  (John 11:25)

“I Am the Light of the world. ”  (John 8:12)

“I Am the Good Shepherd.”  (John 10:11,14)

“I Am the Door.”  (John 10:7)

“I Am the Bread of Life.”  (John 6:35)

“I Am the True Vine.” (John 15:1)

“He sent forth his word and healed them.”  (Psalm 107:20)

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. I will be with you wherever you go.”  (Joshua 1:9)

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?”   (Genesis 18:14)

“I have loved you with an everlasting love.”  ( Jeremiah 31:3)

 

Heavenly Father, as we read these words, may they bring healing to our hearts and souls. You understand our pain. You know what we need. Speak, Lord. We’re listening.

In Jesus’ Powerful Name. Amen.

Parents Need to Move Beyond Denial

As a parent of a child who suffers from addictions, any self-destructive behavior (like an eating disorder or cutting), a mental illness or a sexual identity issue, we tend to deny there’s a problem. We’re like an ostrich with it’s head in the sand. Denial is an obstacle we need to overcome to make progress in our difficult situations.

It’s so easy to get stuck. It’s too scary and too painful to admit that our child has a problem. There can’t really be a problem! Not my child! We don’t want to believe it.  As time goes by it gets harder and harder to make excuses, to keep believing nothing is wrong, to ignore all the signs.

Why does this happen? I think there are many reasons. One reason is that we love our children so much that we don’t want to believe they aren’t the person they used to be when they were little. But they have changed. They are not the same. We must accept this and stop fooling ourselves.

Another reason is that if we admit there’s a problem then we have to do something about it. Admitting this means we have to make some hard changes. We’ll have to stop enabling; or we may need to see a counselor, or begin attending a support group like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. We may need to take some strong steps like having them hospitalized or arrange for an intervention. We may even need to find a rehab program for them. We’ll also need to make the time to learn all we can about the issues they struggle with. These all demand a lot from us – time, emotions and finances.

We have a decision to make. Will we continue to live in denial or begin facing reality? Will we keep our heads in the sand or pick up our heads and be strong?  It’s scary, but if we arm ourselves with good information and support from others we’ll be okay.

Denial is a natural part of our journey, but we can’t stay there. We need to face our fears and move toward acceptance. This is where we want to go – to the land of acceptance. That’s where we can begin to find peace. I can always use more peace. How about you? Are you ready to move beyond denial?

A book that has been helpful to my husband and I is from Al-Anon, Courage to Change. The readings offer a lot of wisdom and insights. You can order Al-Anon literature from their website: al-anon.alateen.org.

The Gift of Music for Parents With Broken Hearts

Do you feel weary in your parenting journey? Are you exhausted and depleted? Tired of the rollercoaster ride, the chaos, thankfulthe crises, the pain and loss. Are you feeling worn out with nothing left to keep you going? Do you wonder when this will be over?
I heard a powerful song a few days ago called “Worn” that speaks to these feelings. I’d never heard it before and it was just what I needed. The music and the words both spoke to my heart in ways I cannot describe. Profoundly. Deeply. Beautifully. It’s raw and honest and expresses what I believe many brokenhearted parents feel. I had to share it with you.
It’s written and performed by Tenth Avenue North, a group whose music I like a lot. I’ve included the link to a YouTube video so you can listen to it. I hope it will be meaningful for you, too. I see it like a hopeful lament, and God is okay with that. If it’s difficult for you to express your sadness, maybe listening to it can help.
 
  Worn

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m wornI know I need to lift my eyes up
But I’m too weak
Life just won’t let up
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have leftLet me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn

My prayers are wearing thin
Yeah, I’m worn
Even before the day begins
Yeah, I’m worn
I’ve lost my will to fight
I’m worn
So, heaven come and flood my eyes

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause all that’s dead inside will be reborn

Though I’m worn
Yeah, I’m worn

Click on this link to watch a music video of the song.