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Holly, we are so sorry for how difficult your journey has been. May your daughter, Taylor, find her way back to the Lord, her eyes be opened. May you see her again and hear her voice again by God’s grace. Taylor is being prayed for and so are you. We’re so thankful to know that our quotes and scriptures are helping. Keep your eyes on Jesus and your hope in Him, that He is able to do the impossible in her and in you.
This morning I am so grateful coming across you on Facebook! I started a support for parents and would appreciate your help with material etc.
I’m not sure if you will even respond to this, but I’m just grasping at straws & this one looks as good as any other. Our son Dan just turned 20. He has been suffering from clinical depression, social anxiety disorder & ADD for at least 10 years. We knew about the ADD when he was quite young, but we only started realizing the depression when he was in about 6th grade. Since about 13, he was seeing a psychiatrist & taking medications for both the ADD & the depression. He hated it all & resented us for making him (& although others noticed difference, he was convinced the meds made no difference), but we thought it was the best thing for him.
We have raised him as an observant Jew, but he has rejected any hint of religion & says he doesn’t believe in God at all.
The minute Dan turned 18 he refused to see the doctor any longer & refused to take his meds. He finished high school & was not willing to go to college, but decided he would do a culinary arts curriculum through a federal program called Job Corps. We wholeheartedly supported him in this. We wanted him to live on campus, but he refused that, also, because of the SAD.
When he completed Job Corps, he got a job as dishwasher/kitchen prep in a nearby restaurant which lasted about 6 months. Since then he only wants to sit in his room, play video games all hours & eat. He’s told us that he’s just waiting until he turns 21, at which time he plans to buy a gun & kill himself.
We don’t know how to help him. He still refuses meds, right now he’s seeing a counselor, but only because his older brother goes with him; when our other son goes back to college, Dan will probably quit going. We’ve called a local suicide prevention organization, but they can’t really help us because he hasn’t actually tried anything.
His depression is also fueled by an incredible amount of anger — he feels that we have made his life miserable, that we hate him, that we have never showed him any love or did anything positive for him. He’s also extremely cynical, so if anyone talks to him about love, or faith, or anything feelings-related, he just gets pissed off & storms out of the room.
His anxiety has gotten more & more serious; if he sees someone coming to the front door, he immediately runs into his room, so he doesn’t have to see anyone. This happens even with people he has known since childhood.
I know you can’t fix anything, but I was hoping perhaps you might suggest something that we haven’t thought of.
I am a counselor in North Platte, NE and would like to have some materials and ideas to start a parent’s group here. I wish I had this kind of help when I went through this with my son. Any help is greatly appreciated.
I’m sorry I missed your message until today! I will send you a sample of our materials. If you like what you see, after you make a donation of any amount (the average is $100) we will send you the rest of the digital files. You are free to copy material as you like. We provide participant notes to hand out.Thank you for your interest in starting a group and I’m so sorry there was nothing like this when you were on your own painful parenting journey.
I’m a father of a twenty year old daughter we is in recovery after several years of strugeling.
IN the middle of my struggle I heard your interview on our local catholic radio station and ordered your book and movie immediately. I must say it was tough getting through them but they have helped me tremendously. That being said I am really interested in starting a support group for hurting parents here in our community (North Platte, NE). If you could please give me some tips and maybe some material. My therapist and friend has offered to help facilitate and provide a location.
Thank you and may God continue to bless you and the work you do.
I sent your therapist a sample of our material this morning. I just saw this more rec message after sending you another email. Sorry! I hope she will start a group! There aren’t any in your area. Do you want a sample of the material too?
I’m so glad you heard me on the radio! That’s an answer to our prayers! And thank you so much for ordering my book. I know it was hard to read since you’ve also been in the middle of a long struggle with your daughter, but I do pray that the book and the movie encourage you. We need much strength for the road we’ve been called to walk. God bless you today as you keep trusting Him with your precious girl.
please if you pray to God, remember me. I am estranged recently from an adult daughter who is expecting soon. I am heart broken. devestated
Lynn, we are so sorry. How heartbreaking. We DO pray! It’s what can make all the difference! May God intervene and restore you to one another, especially at this time. May He comfort and strengthen you. He understands how much you hurt. He cares. You are not alone. “He (Jesus) will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God . . . and he will be their peace” (Micah 5:4).
Another resource for prayer you might like is a website developed by CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ) called Prayer for Prodigals. Go to prayerforprodigals.com and follow the instructions. This is a prayer community, confidential and password protected. Post your requests, receive prayers from others in the community. There are many resources on the website for you to use. It helped me a lot during our worst years. I help manage it now as a volunteer. God bless you and thank you for reaching out to ask us to pray.
My sister-in-law, Janet Richards of Orlando, sent me your book.
I feel so alone, and things are getting worse with my 36 year old daughter.
She just got her 3rd DWI, and she is close to losing her three children, my grandchildren. Both court dates are this next Nov. 16 and Nov. 18, 2016.
I am screaming inside. I just do not know where to turn. My daughter is back in treatment. Please help me. Thank you.
I love Janet! Your sister is a good friend. I’m glad she sent you my book. I hope it helps a little. I’m so sorry about your daughter and what might be ahead. It’s terribly frightening to have no control and see things only getting worse. Now your grandchildren will be affected even more than they already have been. I can’t imagine how painful this is for you. First, I urge you to find a support group and go as often as you can. It will help you keep your sanity and figure out how to get through this and find yourself again – get your joy back. It takes courage, but you’ll be amazed how comforting and helpful it is to be with others who understand. Take some phone numbers with you when you leave the meeting and connect with the people you meet during the week. You need their support.
Al-Anon is great, Nar-Anon is too. Celebrate Recovery also has groups for family members. If you go to their sites you can find a group in your area.
I also want to encourage you to find ways to get out your feelings of anger and rage. One way is to write them out in the form of a letter to your daughter, then destroy it in a way that’s satisfying: tear it to shreds, burn it, etc. Another way is to find the time and place to have your own temper tantrum. Scream and yell, cuss, swing your fists, stomp your feet, pound a pillow or your bed. Just let it out. It feels really good. Yet another idea is to talk to a counselor – tell them your story. Every time you do, you drain your pain a little more. Suppressed anger eventually turns into depression only hurting you more.
I don’t know if you are a person of faith in God, but drawing close to Him was a huge source of comfort and strength for me and many others I know in your situation. On our own we realized we couldn’t handle our situation. It was too hard: You can’t save or fix your daughter. You can’t rescue your grandchildren or protect them from the fallout of their mom’s choices. But you can be there for them to love them the best you can. God will show you what you’re able to do. Turn to Him in prayer and to His Word. Psalm 23 is a wonderful place of comfort and hope, promising God’s presence and love with us always.
Please sign up for our email subscription, too. You can choose how often you want them from 1 to 6 days a week.
And here’s the website with a toll free number of a 24/7 hope line you can call and talk to a caring hope coach at Hope for the Heart. They also have podcasts you can listen to.
God bless you, Sue, and strengthen you for the journey you’re on. I do pray your daughter will seek the help she needs before things get worse.
Saw your live stream on Dr. Dobson this morning.
I would LOVE some advice about ways I could stop the progression of my daughter, into a downward spiral.
What could you recommend doing differently, as soon as you recognized the problem signs, with your own daughter.
Our teenage daughter, has been and is struggling with bi-polar/anxiety disorders. She refused medication at the age of 15 years, she is now 18, a Senior in HS, and still living in our home. She hasn’t tried self medicating, but her bouts of rage, are out of this world.
As a Christian mother, I’ve been at a complete loss with her.
I’m involved and an advocate in the Celebrate Recovery program. I’m just looking for advice, or any additional support that I can…..just don’t know what to with her!
Lori, thank you for listening and for reaching out to us. I’m sorry for the delay in responding, for some reason your message didn’t show up until today. You’re in a difficult spot since your daughter now 18. You’ve probably had a rough couple of years. Bless you for all you’ve done to try and help daughter. Sadly, you can’t force her to take her meds, but without them she won’t do very well controlling her rageful outbursts – and you are the one who has to live with the results, and anyone else in the family.
I have several friends who drew up a contract with their adult children in similar situations and one of the things their child had to agree to do in order to continue living in their home [receiving their help in any way – a cell phone, car & insurance to drive, etc – whatever they were providing that they felt they could stop providing] was to agree to take and stay on their medications. It also included regular visits with a counselor and family sessions, too. The possibility of telling them they have to live somewhere else is most difficult and frightening. It requires being willing to tell her that by not abiding by your boundaries, she’s choosing to live somewhere else – if she’s still in high school that’s tough. You may not be ready or willing to do that. It’s something you’ll need to pray and ask God to show you what He wants you to do. I don’t know. Do you have any other options for her? Can she live with another family member, even for a week or so at a time, etc.? I realize this seems harsh, but you may have to set some very strong boundaries with her; you deserve to be treated with respect. Describe clearly, in writing, your expectations and have her sign it. But there have to be consequences you’re willing to enforce. Somehow she needs to see what this is doing to you and how her inability to control her emotions is probably going to affect her other relationships too. Does she have many good friends?
I would also suggest a few books I wish I’d read sooner. They may be helpful:
I Am Not Sick! I Don’t Need Help! by Xavier Amador For families whose loved one refuses treatment for a mental illness. It’s to help them see you as an ally not an adversary.
If she’s not very aware of or has limited understanding about how her diagnosis can impact her life, then she and you could read, Facing Bipolar by Russ Federman and J. Anderson Thomson. These books can both be purchased through our website from our book list.
Another thing that helped me gain more understanding and empathy was taking the Family to Family course from NAMI (nami.org). It’s a big time commitment – 12 weeks, but it’s free and excellent. Information about it is on their website, which is also listed on our website.
That’s very wise you are involved with Celebrate Recovery groups. So good. You need that supportive community around you who understands and will be there for you. Lastly, I would encourage you to go to a counselor. You need help processing your feelings, figuring out how to manage as her mom while she’s living in your home. It’s not easy. We need all the help we can get.
Oh, and please use the Prayer for Prodigals website to ask for prayer for her and yourself. It’s a great resource for this and is full of a lot of helpful content. Simply go to prayerforprodigals.com It will explain more and tell you what to do to join this confidential, password protected community. May the Lord sustain you and guide you on this difficult path.
I realize this is a lot. I hope I didn’t overwhelm you! If you’d like to talk sometime, let me know and we can arrange it. I’d be happy to pray with you.
“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace’ (Ps. 29:11).
Hello Dena and Tom, I came across your book and website on Facebook a couple of months ago when our family was deep in the pit of our 19 year old daughter’s journey with bulimia, severe depression, anxiety, prescription drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sexual trauma, cutting, and legal issues. Along with reading about your familiar walk with your daughter, I was also drawn to your story as we lived in the Orlando area (Windermere) for 17 years before relocating 5 years ago to Mankato, MN (90 miles SW of Minneapolis) Our daughter finished a 30 day intensive inpatient treatment program at the Christian based Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge and has just started an outpatient program (also Christian) of which today is day 2, so we are still holding our breath to see how her story plays out.
Today I also saw the live interview you had with Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, and even shared it on my FB page. You mentioned a couple of things that peaked my interest. One was the manual for starting a parent support group, and the second thing had to do with your local small group meetings. Our family will be in Orlando for a wedding in mid-Feb, and I will be back with my husband a couple of weeks later (God willing based on things at home) for a convention. It might be a crazy request, but I wondered if I might have the opportunity to meet up with you? I do not know where God is taking our family in this walk, but I do know that He is molding (more like hammering and chiseling) each one of us in this journey. I also feel like some day, when things are more settled that He might somehow use us to share our faith walk through this season. Time will tell.
Anyways, it might be a crazy request, but if anything I just want to thank you for your book and emails. They have been one of the many things I have used to put one foot in front of the other in this journey.
God bless you both for your ministry to hurting parents!!
(407) 399-5872, cell
Beth, I saw your message when we were out of town and am so sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. I know this is such a difficult time. I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through. So much pain and heartache. I pray your daughter is doing well in her recovery. It may be a long road. Can we arrange a call one day this week? I’ll send you a sample of our support group information by email. And yes, I’d love to try and meet with you when you’re in town in February! It would be my honor. And I do hope God will use my book to be part of your healing.
Please pray for my daughter Brittnie
She was off drugs and doing well
She went back out and is not doing well
She put the drugs before her baby and is about to loose her I’m heartbroken
She needs covered in the blood of the lamb and a real big wake up call
She claimed to have a spiritual awakening
But she left yet again another treatment program and she needs a miracle more than ever before
We are so sorry. This is never easy yet it seems compounded with the holidays, especially Christmas. We will pray for Brittnie. If you would like to also post it on the Prayer for Prodigal site as well more people will see it and be praying. Let us know if we can assist you with that if you are interested.
Thank you for your wonderful ministry to so many. Years ago, a long time friend told us of the powerful support he and his wife gained from your group in Orlando. At that time, we had no idea the road we were going to walk. He shared your website with me and I have benefitted from your blog. I ordered your book this week. We have not been able to connect to a group in our area. Perhaps we need to start one. Can I get more information on your materials for a support group?
Thank you again.
Maridee, I’m so sorry you’re in need of our support, but how wonderful your friends told you about us so that you would now be able to receive the help you need! Isn’t God amazing? We’d be happy to email you the sample of our material. It has all you need to know to get started, even a sample timeline for a meeting, plus one of our sessions on Grief and Loss. After you look over it, if you still think you might want to start a group let me know and we will tell you what to do next. God bless you with the comfort and resources you need today. Dena.
Thanks so much. Listened to your interview with Dr. Dobson this morning. Such an encouragement with Part 2 tomorrow. I know it is a vulnerable place for you to share as you have, but what a drink of water for a parched soul whose journey mirrors the road you have walked. I look forward to receiving your sample materials.
Hello I heard you guys on One place on family talk, I listened to your story yesterday and the rest of it today, I am so sorry about the things that happened to you, I am asking for your assistance if you can, my son was diagnosed with bi polar when he was around 17 years old, to this day which he is 20 will not take his medication, he states he is not bi polar, and that the medication made him feel the way he is now. He has terrible outbursts, and he also lives above me. I take one day at a time, and ask god for peace not only for me but for my son. He cuts as well, and he has scars all up and down his arms, I use to be a cutter and I have not cut in over 7 years. I found other coping mechanisms to deal with it, but I was cutting since 13 years of age. I love my son dearly and I have had to step back at times, He has a lot of negative thoughts and those scare me at times, but I pray for him to have positive thoughts and for god to take away his negative thoughts. I am asking if you would please pray for my son, and also If you can pray for him to bring himself back to god, I want him to see the light and understand god is there to help him not harm him. I am also a single mother, his father has not really been in the picture, and my son was sexually molested when he was seven under his fathers care of a visit with his father, His father then beat my son in the middle of the street with no clothes on , there were 15 calls to 911 due to what his father did, but I advised my son he needs to forgive his father, me, and himself for the pain and suffering he keeps holding onto. I tried as a single mother but I definitely made mistakes and I have apologized for them, but my son will not let go. So If you could please send your prayers and words of encouragement I would appreciate it so much. thank you for letting me tell my story.
Thank you for reaching out to us, Nicole. We’re so glad you heard the broadcast today. We pray it helped in some way. We’re so sorry for how your son is suffering and how it affects you. We know it’s excruciatingly painful. It’s very common for an individual to not like how the meds make them feel. Sadly, they all have side effects. My daughter struggled with that, too.
That’s so awful what happened to your son with his dad when he was young. Often, this kind of experience is behind why a person harms themselves. A good counselor can help him. A book that is helping many families whose adult children refuse treatment (medication or counseling) for their mental disorders is I Am Not Sick I Don’t Need Help by Xavier Amador. It’s listed under the “books” tab on our website. Dr. Amador is known around the world for developing an effective approach – it came out of his personal experiences with his brother. Find out more on his website, Leap Institute. You can find a link to it under our tab called: “Other Resources”.
The traumatic experience your son had with his dad is one that takes professional help to work through. Please don’t be discouraged, but it can still take a long time to heal those wounds and then be able to forgive – which yes, he eventually needs to do.
On forgiveness: read 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins (what we know we did wrong), God is faithful and just and will forgive us and cleanse us. Then please forgive yourself – none of us is perfect. We did the best we could. There’s a lot more I could say, which is why I wrote a chapter on this topic in my book. Also, sign up for our free email subscription. It’s another way we can help you. They are filled with words of hope, scripture and prayer to comfort and sustain our weary souls.
Dear God, please help Nicole’s son accept help and find wholeness. May he come to know how loved and valued he is by You (who he’s probably quite angry with). Deliver him from the rage and show him how to love himself. Lead Nicole to the encouragement, support and resources she needs. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“. . . the Lord says . . . ‘when you go through deep waters, I will be with you’ ” (Isaiah 43:1-2).
I just heard your story on ThyWord radio, and it s like our story. My husband and I have a troubled girl teen, who just turned 17, and did almost all those things your daughter did. She still struggles. My biggest pain is worry for her soul. She doesn t want to do or even hear any thing about God. Please PRAY for us. We have 3 younger children, one older daughter (18) who moved out, living with a boyfriend.
Thank you for your message. We’re so glad you heard our broadcast and we do hope it helps. I’m so sorry, Irina. It’s very frightening to not know the state of their soul. Keep praying and never give up. God will keep reaching out to her in ways you could never have orchestrated. You might want to do what we did: form a prayer team: 5 or 6 or your closest friends who you know believe in the power of prayer, who love you and your daughter. Ask them to commit to pray one day a week. Send them a list of specific prayer requests once a week and send updates in between as needed. Prayer really does make a difference. Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, says our prayers outlive us. There’s no magic formula, but we found that using the Scriptures for our prayers was empowering. I wrote a section in my book about the ways I learned to pray for my daughter. You might like to check out the Prayer for Prodigals website that Cru developed (prayerforprodigals.com) or purchase a few books to help you pray. We’ve listed several under the “books” tab on our website. They were a huge blessing to us when we couldn’t think of how to pray anymore.
Heavenly Father, comfort Irina and her husband as they put both of their daughters in your hands and trust you to work where they cannot. Please do a miracle of transformation in their lives. Cause them to hunger and thirst for righteousness and truth. May they find it only in You and Your Son, Jesus. In His Mighty Name. Amen.
“I will strengthen . . . and save _________. I will restore____________ because I have compassion on them . . . for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them” (Zechariah 10:16). Amen!
P.S. Please sign up for our free email subscription. The messages are for your hearts to be uplifted and encouraged by the Word of God.
I”m listening to the radio now, Dr James Dobson Family talk , today is my son’s birthday he would have been 30 this year and this will be the 6th year since my Dustin has left this earth due to addiction. Thank you so much for sharing this with me,, the tears flow as deeply as they did 6 years ago. I feel very alone , my husband divorced me before Dustin passed , 6 months to be exact. Dustin did except Christ as his savior and I know where he is .it’s just that i miss him so very much !! I don”t see any hope in this every changing . . I have a relationship with Christ I walk closely and daily with him it just does not remove the pain. I do thank you for showing me I am not the only one who has and is experiencing this heartbreaking struggle . In Christ Lauretta
We are deeply sorry for the loss of your dear son and how alone you feel. You have experienced the greatest heartbreak a parent could ever face. We know the pain will never go away completely. By the grace of God, you make peace with the pain the best you can. I hear in your words that Christ is the one who has kept you going, sustaining you each day as you have stayed close to him. Keep doing what you’re doing as you put one foot in front of the other. A few sessions with a good Christian counselor could help you move forward a little more in your grief. And have you heard of a ministry called Grief Share? The provide a 12 week class to help you process your loss and find deeper healing. It doesn’t matter how long ago your loved one died – 10 years or 10 weeks. It’s very, very good. Please go to their website to learn more about it and see if there’s a class being offered by a church in your area. Here’s their website: griefshare.org You can also sign up for their daily email devotionals. They’re wonderful and will come to you every day for a year.
“For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength . . .” (Ps. 18:21-32a). May he continue to give you the strength you need. Amen.
I’m interested in your Support Group Curriculum to become a facilitator; hopefully, at my church in Spokane, Washington
Thank you for your request, Kristine! We’d be happy to do that. We will send it to you today. God bless you with his peace and joy.
My husband and I really want to start a group. Can you send us a link to your facilitators manual. It would be very helpful.
Thank you for your request, Melanie! We are thrilled to hear you and your husband want to start a group and will send you the sample in an email tomorrow!
God bless you!
Hi I was on my way to work one day and I over heard this name hope for hurting parents I was like I am one of those but I didn’t make up what y’all spoke of. I am a mother of 8 children and about 4 years ago I came to the Lord getting saved cause of a cps case I needed hope in getting my children back. I was fighting the system for 2 years and my lawyer ended up telling me to give up my rights cause I was going to lose and that if I more children they won’t mess with me no longer which was a lie. I did end up giving up my rights to 6 beautiful children thinking they were okay were they were and till today I’m hearing their not. One of my daughters got malested by her own dad so she was taken awaysupposedly got adopted by foster parents. Then my other daughter ran away cause of abuse going on in foster care. She was turned back over to foster lady whom supposedly abopted her. I hear she ran away again so all I could do is pray to the Lord for her safety and that I could see her again. As faithful as He is it happened. So I was left in a point of doing what was right by what the Lord had shared with me about obeying the laws of the land so I was lead to reporting her where’s about to police she had been missing for 7 months. I hear they just send her back to foster care. Sigh I feel so helpless as one having their hands tied unable to do nothing. I hurt to know their hurting and because of my old ways in life. I feel as though I’m changed living a blessed life married with 2 new children yet still waiting for the promise of getting them back by the Lord Isaiah 43:5-7 I’ve even dream of having them back.
I was in need of hope and seems like no one can relate nor give me encouragement nor want to as I sat on my couch I remembered something for hurting parents and it came out so I hope I can hear from y’all
Isabel, we are so sorry for the pain and heartache you have endured over your children. Yes, being powerless feels really awful. We understand. So does God, your heavenly Father. Please be encouraged by knowing he cares about your pain. You are not alone. The Creator of the universe is with you and he weeps with you. His Son, Jesus, is praying for you even now. We prayed for you when we received your email too. We pray you will keep your hope in God. May your soul find rest in him… “our hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken”(Ps. 62:5-6). Keep your eyes on him and keep trusting. Even though your prayers may not be answered the way you want, when you want, God is a big God. He can use all the pain for good. He will never leave you or your children. It’s a mystery to us how this could ever be possible, but He Is Able. Read Ephesians 3:20. He can do above and beyond all we can imagine. Stay close to him. Read the Bible daily and never give up praying. And please find a support group. Al-Anon would be good even if no one involved has an alcohol problem. It would be a good place to find support and encouragement from others who understand situations we’re powerless to change. May God bless you and remind you how much he loves you.
If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for our FREE email subscription. Our messages can bring you more comfort and encouragement on a daily basis. And my book can do that too. You can order a copy through our website.
Hi this is Brenda Baransky I need help and prayer I been a mentally ill patient for just about all my lifetime I 62yr. now recently a child suicide he was only 27 and another sign
he’s been paranoid schizophrenia and she’s been 18 and now he’s 40yr I made some horrible mistakes and my life Christian Life raising them because being overwhelmed about my own mental illness
to my mental illness
I’m still struggling with such I have a hard time with trusting God because I have a picture in my mind a being so weak and foolishness. I had two daughters one 42yr and one 30yr I need help and support I live in Winter Garden Florida and I would like to come to your support group Thanks you for any help
God Bless you
Brenda, we are so sorry for how much you have suffered. Losing a child to suicide and your own mental health challenges are so difficult. We are so sorry for how much you have been through. Rather than our group we feel there are several other options that are much better for your needs. I’m going to list them:
– Free counseling Center at UCF
– NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Illness – nami.org) free classes for the family and the individual who struggles with a mental illness; they also offer support groups for both as well.
– HALOS suicide survivors support groups (one is in closer to you in Winter Park) halosflorida.org
– Grief Share – a free 12 week grief recovery class/support group griefshare.org
You can find groups near you on these websites.
– Prayer for Prodigals website – prayerforprodigals.com Join this site to post a prayer requests and receive prayers posted back to you. The site is also full of wonderful resources. This is a great prayer community.
– If you still want to try one of our groups, there is one for moms during the daytime that meets at a restaurant in Winter Garden if thats not too far for you. Let me know if you want more info on it.
God bless you and encourage you today, Brenda.
“He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might he increases strength” (Is. 40:29).
Hi. My name is Cam Johnston and I’m co-founder of a group called “Strength to Love”. We’re a group for parents of prodigals. We define “prodigals” as a teenage or adult child (or any family member) who is living a self-destructive lifestyle and has turned away from their Christian values. We’re associated with Bacon Heights Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas. I just signed on to receive your emails. Thank you for everything that you’re doing to help parents like us and please feel free to have anyone in our area, looking for help, to contact us through baconheights.com.
Thanks for letting us know, Cam. We love what you’re doing! May God send you many more hurting parents to love on and encourage. There’s so little help out there. How wonderful you’re offering something for parents in Lubbock!! Let us know if we can ever be of any help to you.
Would you mind if we advertise your group on our Facebook page?
How can I find a faith based support group for troubled teens in my area? I am in NYC.
Sylvia, we would recommend you look online (check out our website tab for resources and website) for Al-Anon, Nar-Anon or Celebrate Recovery. We go to Al-Anon in addition to our own group. Try different ones to find one that you like best. Another idea is to call the larger churches in your area and ask if they have a support group for hurting parents – or any kind of group. We pray a church up there will want to start one, We’d be happy to help! God bless you!
Dear Tom and Dena
Could you please pray for my daughter and grandson Alexander(turning 11 in June).Daughter (Nadja)Bi-polar and involved with Satanist. She quit her job end of April and took grandson out of school. Nobody knows where they are, but presumably she went abroad to the boyfriend who mocks God on social media. I am now estranged from Nadja and Alexander, but I have raised both of them as a single parent. She became deeply involved with the occult. Please pray for their protection, SALVATION, and reconciliation. God bless you.
Adri, We will surely pray for your daughter, Nadja and grandson, Alexander’s salvation. I apologize for my delay, I’ve been out of town. What a difficult and frightening situation, BUT God is bigger and more powerful and nothing is too hard for him! By the power of the shed blood of Jesus and the resurrection, may Almighty God break these chains and set them free from any unholy alliance. May he deliver them from the Evil One and destroy every plan that has been set up against them, for there is no power greater than his. May the great I AM, who this deceived man mocks, humble him in whatever way he sees best. And I pray you’ll be released from over-powering fear, anxiety, and any nightmares, and walk in peace until the day you are fully restored to them for the praise of God’s glory. Amen. A book on prayer you might like is Reclaiming Surrendered Ground by Jim Logan. God bless and encourage you. Please keep us posted on how we can pray! I will request prayer for them on the Prayer for Prodigals day, June 2nd.
My 41 year old son has had a difficult life since high school. He attended Raves at that time. Used drugs and drank. He stole money and things from me. He lived in and out of the house never paying for anything. He would disappear for a month or more and then when something went wrong he begged to come home. He has never had a steady job. What money he earns is as a painter. He married, had a precious baby girl who is now 7. He divorced about 4 years later after many moves and tough times with his wife. He loves his daughter but cannot support her the half time he has her.In the past few months he has emotionally removed himself from our family. He can not be depended on for anything. I am financially and emotionally drained and feel like just walking away from him. He will soon be homeless and will not be able to have his child. I have done everything possible to get him help in the past but he won’t follow through. I need help to get through this.
Thank you for reading this. I am surprised at myself for reaching out to you.
Dear Pamela, the journey with your son has such a painful and long one. I pray he will find the answers he needs and a relationship with Christ who can help him. I hurts so much more to have a granddaughter in the picture, experiencing the hurt and heartache this brings compounds your pain. But God gets it, He will uphold you and sustain you. Please look to Him for the strength and courage you need to get through this. I’m so glad you reached out to us. Alone on this path is not good – for any of us. When we isolate it only makes it worse. I do hope you’ll read my book, You Are Not Alone and sign up for my daily email subscription to receive ongoing support. If you aren’t already involved in one, I strongly recommend that you find a support group and go every week – maybe more if you feel the need! Al Anon would be great, even if he doesn’t have an alcohol problem. The way you feel and the challenges are the same: Being powerless over a problem that’s become unmanageable; having no control; feeling angry, resentful, sad, afraid; needing to detach in love and not enable or rescue, etc. Go to the resources tab on our website and you’ll see links to their website. Then you can find a group in your area. Or there may be another type of support group for hurting parents. Sadly, they’re hard to find but some larger churches offer them.
May this Scripture encourage you today:
“He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might he increases strength” (Is. 40:29). Amen.
I also encourage you to join the Prayer for Prodigals website and put his name on our list. Many will pray for him on our Worldwide Day of Prayer for Prodigals on June 2nd! Go to: prayerforprodigals.com and follow the directions. Join GCX the request an invitation or simply tell me and I will email you one.
I just listened to your broadcast & I BET u, you will be innudated with comments/calls , etc. Wow. I am in Ava Mo…working with Life Church in Celebrate Recovery (Rick Warrens)… I thot I was in this group because I had a ” run-in” with the law…when I was 50yrs old! (Dui)… I was forced into rehab..by my family (I am single)…
BUT…. when I was in my 30s , a very prodding dr in my small town… (where I happened to be…visiting,long story)….” caught me…. in this very rare mental health issue called ” munchhausens” syndrome ” My parents were devastaed… I didnt want to “kill ” myself…but i had similar stories to your daughter’s: as a teen, I became anorexic,…that ” passed”…but yes, I NEVER GOT THE MENTAL HEALTHCARE I prob needed then……because, my parents thot it was all about them…nobody wants a mentally ill child (adult or not)…so as far as I know , they carried that secret to their grave. My siblings (all grown…with families)…have always known ” aunt julie is different”. But I’m different in MANY good ways now, thanks to what God has been able to do in my life, IN ONLY THE PAST 5 yrs , really!..its amazing how God works like that….to bring ppl together ‘ for such a time as this”.. I see the same ” trends” ….in a few of my nieces &nephews….but again, God forbid, there would be something wrong with our MINDS??! what is UP with that anyway? You go to a dr because u broke ur leg! U dont WAIT til ur mind becomes all messed up and BROKEN before you FIX it! We,as a SHAMEFUL society, has PINNED mental illness/health as a ” deviant of character”. But Jesus has promised us a SOUND MIND as well as a SOUND BODY! SO! come on you ” Christians” , step up! And I will be the second one, right behind Rick Warren to SAY ” lets take care of our MINDS , as well as take care of our bodies!!!” I am DONE belittling mental illness! God gave us these wonderful brains to USE! GO USE THEM! KEEP THEM HEALTHY! Its OK to have a mental illness….God wants to restore our MINDS as well as our bodies!
Thanks for reading. I know I still struggle with….accepting who God made me to be.And I still try sometimes to…mess up what He has made perfect….
Thank you for your message, Julie. I’m so sorry you never got the mental health care you needed when you were younger. You’re parents did their best, but they were of a generation that didn’t know how to respond. It’s so encouraging to hear what God has done in your life. Praise Him! You’re right on with your comments and reference to Rick Warren’s comment. Amen! Keep sharing your message. The more we talk about it, we can make a difference. Yes, yes, yes. It’s okay to have mental illness, to not be okay. And it says nothing about a person’s character!!! Or relationship with God!
Most of us aren’t “normal” (whatever that is!) in some way. We simply hide it better! People like you can help change how the church and our society responds by being open and honest. Struggle well, my sister in Christ. What matters is that you never give up the fight. Keep reminding yourself how loved and accepted you are by your heavenly Father, no matter what! I think in His eyes you are beautifully imperfect!
Thank you for your story. I was listening to Family Life Today when it came on. I am a single Mom who parented my three children alone, and it was quite painful and challenging. Two of my daughters went through what you shared. I work in social work during the day, and also, being an entertainer as a side income, I learned to express my stress in many helpful ways, aside from prayer (which is first, and always the least expensive!) so I wrote a book called “Laughing in the Rain, Self-Care for the Storms of Life.” It is self-published, and not marketed in only Christian markets, as I am a Jewish believer, and I am completely unknown, except for my five closest friends and small town that I live in. I can send you a copy if you’d like, and perhaps you can use it in your ministry. It also sells on Amazon, also. The statement, “You are not alone” is a comfort to so many out there, for it is so natural to feel that you are the only one going through this great adversity.
Thank you for your comment, Hillary. Single parenting is incredibly difficult when you’re facing these kinds of challenges – and you did with two of your children! Oh my! How are they doing today?
Many who come to our support group are single parents like you. We hurt to see how they struggle without a spouse to share the load with. I admire you for hanging in there and finding healthy ways – other than prayer – to release your stress. That’s awesome! What do you do in the area of entertainment?
We’d be honored to have a copy of your book! And I love that you’re a Jewish believer. We’ll read your book and let you know if we decide to include it on our website of recommended books. There are a lot of great books out there that are self-published and not well known. I’d be happy to write a review, too, if you’d like. Let me know. I’ll email you my address.
I heard your interview on Family Life Today, today. Four of our five children are prodigal. The fifth is in heaven with Jesus. At this point he is my favorite. I feel that I have been praying for years and things just keep getting worse. Our oldest daughter called on mothers day to say she and her husband of 10 years are getting a divorce. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Only one of our children will talk with my husband, their biological father. I am partially estranged from our second daughter and completely estranged from our youngest son. When you talked about this being one of the most painful things a parent can endure I cried in agreement. I would go so far as to say it is more painful than a death. I know what that feels like and there is healing and a hope that I will see my son again. With this I have no idea. I have been praying and it seems like things just keep getting worse. Two of our daughters divorced in one year.
I tried to start a group for hurting parents and there was very little interest so I let it go.
My husband has done a very male thing and put them all in a box, put that box inside a box, put that on the shelve stacked old shoes in front of it and locked the closet door. He does not want to even pray about them anymore.
I am trying to hold on to hope but wondering what the point is. It seems it would be better to kill all hope and expectations. God will not violate their freewill and they do not want HIM or us right now.
I am so sorry, Louise. You’ve endured huge amounts of pain and heartache with your children and now this recent blow on Mother’s Day. So hard. I am praying for you as I write this email. May your heart be comforted and healed by Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who Heals you and you Good Shepherd. These are deep wounds only He can heal. It will take time. You’re correct that God won’t violate their freewill, but we can keep praying. However, once you’ve done all you can do, you must take care of yourselves and focus on your own healing and your marriage. You can detach in love, let go and surrender them to God. They’re in His hands. Maybe you can find a support group, even if it’s Al-Anon. It’s a really helpful source of support for a problem you are powerless over. Many Christians are part of these groups.
Of course you do your best to let them know you love them and are there for them, but these things take a toll. I wouldn’t be surprised if you are mad at God – He’s allowed a lot of suffering in your life. That’s tough to cope with when it keeps coming. And you’ve lost a child, too. Bless you! The divorce of a child is a lot more painful than many realize, as well.
I agree with what you said about how it’s more painful to be rejected and estranged by your children than even a death. People can’t understand that either. I hope you’ve been able to talk to a counselor along the journey. It would help you so much. And here are a few books that helped me in case you haven’t read them:
When God Doesn’t Make Sense by James Dobson
90 Days of God’s Goodness by Randy Alcorn (short devotions)
Shattered Dreams by Larry Crabb
May the Lord keep you strong and close to Himself by continuing to read His Word, worshiping Him and giving thanks (as awful as that sounds – it may be a key to your wholeness; it was for me).
I also hope you’ll sign up for my free email subscription. I pray God will bring you more comfort and encouragement through them.
“May the God of hope will you with joy and peace as you trust in him, as you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13). Only in Him is this possible. And all things are possible with Him. They really are!
Let me know if you’d like a free sample of our support group material. If you only met with one other mom, it would mean the world to her and it would be good for you, too! When we reach out to others, we get lifted up, don’t we?!
Blessings to you!
please if you can contact me , i am interested in a support prayer group for prodigals, i am hurting very muchMy aughter left our house almost 1 year ago9june 17).she is living with her boyfriend who is doing drugs as well as her, she says she wants to come home and that we should allow her to make her own choices and wnts to continue in that destructive relationship. she says she is coming back home until we change our minds, and that we are stubborn. please i live in pennsilvania, contact me plkeae
I already replied to one of your messages, Silvia, but now I see you are in Pennsylvania. I’m so sorry but I don’t know of any groups who will be praying in your area. You could possibly contact a few of the larger churches in your area and ask if they have a parent’s prayer group. We are so sorry for the troubles with your daughter and her boyfriend. I can hear the hurt in your words. That’s a hard situation. We don’t know what you should do, but it’s your home and you can set the boundaries you need. If she doesn’t like them then she gets to choose to live somewhere else, which she has, right? We trust that God will guide you to know what He wants you to do, how you can still show her you love her yet not support a lifestyle you don’t agree with. May God encourage and strengthen you.
please let me know how can I join with other hurting parents for prayer on June 2. Praying for prodigals. please let me know. i would like to get in contact with other parents to pray for ouir children.
Thank you Tom and Dena for your encouraging words. I just heard the Family Life Today broadcast and was blessed to know someone out there cares. The destructive behavior is mild in my 19 year old daughter’s life compared to the story you tell of your precious girl. Maybe that is why I feel alone. She is a very “good” girl (good grades, works hard, kind to me) But she has been in and out of a recluse type behavior. She can sit and look at her phone all day in a dark room (has done that). She has chosen to believe differently than her family and is very defensive. If she is a christian, she is definitely struggling. I am very frightened that she is struggling with depression and same sex attraction. She hates men and has totally turned her back on her kind, gentle grandfather (she loved him when she was little)—-refuses to be in the same room with him, has made new friends this year that are masculine in appearance, she is very unaffectionate. She has said she would be interested is some counsel. How do we get counsel? Where can we go? We cannot talk without an explosion on her behalf. I need an arbitrator maybe? We are on a tight budget but I would do anything to save her.
Thank you for your comment Valerie. I am so sorry for how your daughter is struggling. It sounds there could be some deeper issues going on that only a counselor can help with. I think it would be very helpful for her to talk to someone to help figure out what’s really going on – depression, something physiological or something else?
Your daughter sounds angry to me. Something might have happened, but what, right? Asking good questions is a good place to start: It looks like you’re angry. Who or what are you mad at? I’ve noticed __________ and it concerns me. Can you tell me more about that? Why do you think you hate men? I’d love to hear why you don’t want anything to do with your grandfather anymore – you can talk to me. I’m not afraid of your anger. I promise I won’t lecture. I’ll just listen to whatever you want to say, as long as it takes. If she chooses to talk, be sure you listen and listen well. No trying to fix or solve anything. Just let her be heard while you pray. That will be huge and a very tough assignment!
I would definitely find a counselor for yourself. They can guide your next steps and help you sort through your own feelings. Your daughter’s open right now, so that’s really great. You want to take advantage of that while she is.
If you need help finding a Christian counselor you can call Focus on the Family’s help line and speak with a family help specialist 1-800-232-6459. They can give you an initial assessment and direct you to someone in your area. Or you can go to psychologytoday.com and narrow the search to “Christian” and then your zipcode. Most counselors offer a sliding scale based on your income. I hope this helps!
I just want to thank you for your ministry and this website for hurting parents. I was searching for some help or encouragement to help us through this time, while we are searching for help for our prodigal daughter. I thank God that through Familylife we found your website and it is like an answered prayer.
We’ll be visiting this website often.
Thank you for sending your note. It’s such an encouragement to us to hear that hurting dads and moms are connecting and finding the ministry helpful. We are so grateful to FamilyLife for allowing us to share with their audience and call attention to a need that isn’t being met with parents. We’re sorry for the journey you’re on with your daughter. We pray for strength, wisdom and hope for you and your family and that your daughter’s prodigal journey will be short and without lasting harmful consequences.
I am a hurting parent of a 15 year old who decided 2 weeks ago that she’d rather live on the streets, use drugs, and make ‘friends who she can hang with’ than be with her family or be safe. She has in alternating conversations told me she hates me, I can burn in hell, etc etc, and in the next breath asked me to get her shampoo and her camera. I’m just at a loss.
She has tried to overdose a year ago and was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, ADD and borderline personality traits with lots of cutting, but somewhere in there, there is still the daughter I love and just want to come home and be part of us. This has been more painful than the divorce I went through 6years ago. The effects of, and networking available to our kids on social media, the addictiveness of it and bonding with other rebelling teens in such a powerful way is destroying family structures and as a parent I feel powerless, and totally exhausted just trying to keep communication open and keep her safe.
Dear L, thank you for your email and for sharing a little of you story. We are deeply sorry for your painful journey. Having a daughter live on the streets, using drugs is one of the most frightening things I know of. I think it’s even harder for a single parent, not having someone to share it all with. I hope you realize your daughter’s rage isn’t really about you, it’s about her – the inner struggles she’s experiencing and it sounds like that’s a lot. Could she still be angry about the divorce? Not to mention realizing she’s not like everyone else, not “normal” – whatever that is. Teens with mental health issues struggle much more than we can grasp. It’s hard enough to be 15, right? A book that many parents whose children struggle with BPD find helpful is Walking on Eggshells. You might like it.
You’re right, you’re powerless and it’s exhausting. But there are many things you can do – for yourself. I urge you to take care of you and make your own wellness a priority. Simply your life, get plenty of rest, try to get some kind of exercise, talk to a counselor or clergy and please find a support group. Being with others who understand is a huge blessing I can hardly describe. Al-Anon or Nar-Anon is great, unless someone has started a Hope for Hurting Parents group in your area. You can find links for them and other great resources on our “Other Resources” and “Websites for Parents” tabs.
I will pray it could be possible for her to go into a program that could turn her around before she’s an adult and experiences more damaging consequences of her choices. There are many excellent residential programs you could pray about – Teen Challenge, Shepherd’s Hill (in Georgia), a wide variety of wilderness camps and Christian therapeutic boarding schools, etc. Some offer escort service to transport them safely if they wouldn’t be willing to go under the parent’s supervision. If you want more help we can arrange a phone call. We know of some great resources to help guide you.
The best thing we can say when you’re broken and don’t know what to do is, “But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge” (Ps. 141:18). So stay close to Him while you take care not to neglect yourself so that the enemy won’t get two victims.