Is There Hope for Hurting Parents in the Christmas Story?

manger sceneAre you a mom or dad in deep pain today due to the behaviors and choices, emotional and mental anguish of your child? Find comfort in knowing that with God anything is possible. Nothing is too hard for Him. This is the message of hope for us in the Christmas story. Maybe you’re losing hope. Losing faith. You used to believe. Your faith was strong at the beginning of this journey. But it’s taking so long, you’re not so sure any more.

You’re weary. Worn out. Defeated. It’s cost you so much. There have been countless losses. Nothing’s the same. So many painful memories. It’s possible you’ve even stopped praying. It hasn’t done any good. Where are the answers you expected, then begged and pleaded for as the days, months and years wore on? You may be wondering if your prayers are going anywhere at all. Are they really reaching God’s ears? Nothing’s happening – that you can see anyway.

When A Parent Needs a Christmas Miracle

“… Into the middle of impossible messes — comes the Messiah who makes the miracles possible.”  (Ann Voskamp)Renee butterfly1

Does your child’s life look like an impossible mess? Are they so trapped in addictive behaviors and destructive relationships that it looks like there’s no way out? Are drugs and alcohol, self-injury, an eating disorder, mental illness, jail sentences, a same-sex relationship or pornography holding them in bondage? If all you see are impossibilities –  in their life and in yours – then you need a miracle.

One Thing Hurting Parents Need to Remember

Parents whose children are breaking their hearts often feel like their pain defines them. Do you ever wonder “what kind of book would the storysad woman in santa hat of your life be? You might think of it as a tragedy, but in reality, your life is a love story, being written by the hand of God.   While some chapters will be more difficult than others, visible in every scene, on every page, is the love of God.

The hurts in your life do not define you. God’s love for you determines the course and shape of your life and defines who you are today and who you are becoming…it is also your cushion from the blows life invariably brings.”  (The One Year Book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie p.65)

Did you need to be reminded of this today? It’s also true for our children. Who or what is setting the course or shape of our lives? Who or what defines you? What cushions you from the blows of life?

7 Questions Parents Need to Ask Themselves When Things Go Wrong

whyWhen things started to go wrong in your child’s life, even though you gave your best and did all you knew to do, did you start asking “why?” Why is this happening to me? Why can’t my son stop drinking and drugging? Why does my daughter suffer from mental illness and make repeated suicide attempts? Why is my child attracted to the same-sex? Why does my child have this relentless eating disorder? Why can’t they stop cutting themselves? Why can’t I help them? Why? Why? Why? It’s a crazy-maker.

The following thoughts are excerpts from a blog by Michael Hyatt. They were so powerful that I wanted to share them with you. He suggests that instead of tormenting ourselves asking why questions, we need to start asking some different ones, like “How can this make me better?”

You want to stop reading right now, but please give this a chance. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ask why at all, but at some point it stops being helpful. Almost immediately, I think! Instead, we need to begin asking a whole new group of questions that will enable us to move forward.

Before I tell you Michael’s what questions, listen to his explanation: The answers we get are often determined by the questions we ask. Ask bad questions get bad answers and vice versa. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Now, here are his seven better questions to ask: (these can apply to any situation in your life)

1. What if this isn’t the end but a new beginning?

2. What if the answer to my prayer is just over the next hill?

3.  What if this is necessary for me in order to be prepared for the next important chapter in my life?

4. What if God knows exactly what I need at this particular time?

5. What if God is speaking to me through means I would not have chosen, for a blessing I cannot see?

6. What does this experience make possible?

7. What will I be telling my grandchildren that I learned was so valuable in this season of my life?

God, help every parent reading this to shift from asking why to asking what. As they do, I pray it will bring about a change in perspective. And may this lead to a greater capacity of giving thanks  for every trial they face in their lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Does it feel impossible? This Bible verse may encourage you:

“Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.”  (Zechariah 4:6) NIV