If Valentine’s Day Hurts

A Message to Parents in Pain

Valentine’s Day is this Tuesday. For parents in pain over the behaviors and troubles of their kids, it can be a hard day. I know. I’ve been there. I understand how it reminds you how much you love your child – and how much you’ve lost.

Valentine’s Day also reminds me of the greatest love of all. The love of  God and the love he has for all people.

Listen to what the Bible says about this love: “By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. BUT God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life . . .” (Eph. 2: 3b – 5b, NIV).

It’s spectacular. Indescribable. Marvelous.

I could go on and on listing superlative adjectives to describe how the above verses make me feel. I find great comfort here.

Without Christ, your child is an object of God’s anger; the focus of his wrath. Your son. Your daughter. They’re on their way to eternal doom. They’re in grave danger, headed for destruction,

BUT . . . God stepped in and did something most unexpected.

Suicide: Parents Need to Know the Warning Signs

Could Your Child be at Risk?

photo cred. manos bourdakis

Yesterday my husband and I participated in an Out of the Darkness Walk, a fundraiser sponsored by the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (afsp). It got me to thinking . . . are you the mom or dad of a son or daughter who struggles with depression and hopelessness? Have you ever said, “I’m tormented by not knowing if they’re safe”? Do you have an uneasy feeling something’s wrong, but can’t put your finger on it? Have you ever heard your child say, “I feel so worthless. What’s the use. My life doesn’t matter. I just want to go to sleep and never wake up”? If so, this is for you.

The information here could be crucial for you and your child’s well-being. It’s from The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s website. These are the warning signs that may mean a person is a suicide risk. The danger is greater when one of these behaviors is new, has increased or could be related to a painful event, loss, or change.

Should your child exhibit any of these, please seek help as soon as possible by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Trained, volunteer counselors are ready and available to talk with you or the despondent individual 24/7 including holidays.

Loving a Prodigal

Is Everything Out of Control?

Welcome today’s guest blogger, my dear friend and mom of a former prodigal, Judy Douglass. She writes from years of experience, a heart of compassion and much wisdom.

“Does everything seem out of control?

Sometimes life, or family situations, or financial needs seem overwhelming. We feel out of control. We can’t help or stop or change things. We can’t control them.

It is good when we recognize this, for then we will hopefully turn to El Elyon, the Most High God.

The literal meaning is “God is the high one.” Synonyms would be sovereign and ruler. In other words, He is in control.

This name of God appears throughout the Old Testament, but most often in the book of Daniel. Here we read the story of Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty ruler of the Babylonian empire.

Though he acknowledged the power of Daniel’s God, he still believed he was in control. Thus God’s word to him: “You will be driven away from people and will live with wild animals…Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men…”

And that is what happened. After seven years of living as an animal, the King looked to heaven and was restored. He said, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just…”

Where is your life out of control?

A child on drugs? Lost a job? A pregnant daughter? In foreclosure? A son in jail? A cancer diagnosis? Or just myriad small details adding up to one big mess?

How to Keep Your Sanity When You’re Child’s Making You Feel Like You’re Losing It

4 Things You Can Do

Today was a beautiful day for a bike ride. My husband attached our new bike rack to the car and we were off with some friends for a relaxing morning. The flat, shady trail was perfect. As our tires rolled over the paved path, birds sang and the sun shone warm on our backs. Gentle breezes and mild temperatures mixed together for the perfect outing.

I’m not the racing type. I prefer a leisurely, relaxed pace. It’s more refreshing for me that way. While I rode along today, I recalled how it felt (not too long ago) when I thought I would lose my mind over my troubled daughter’s behaviors and choices; when it felt like she was making me lose my sanity.

“Okay, our children don’t make us lose our sanity, but they make us feel like we could.

4 Reasons Not to Give Up On Your Troubled Kids

When You Want to Quit

“I give up. I can’t do this. It’s too hard. I’m not strong enough for the job. It’s beyond my capacity. I need help.” This was how I felt about the lady finger palms growing behind our screened in patio. They had to go. They were causing big problems. But they’re roots were too strong and too deep for me to manage on my own. I did my best. I tried hard, so did my husband, but we couldn’t do it.

The harder we tried, the more aggravated and frustrated we became. Ugh.

To be honest, there have been times I’ve felt this way about my daughter. You may have, too. Maybe today you’ve almost reached your give-up point.

It feels terrible to come to that place about your own son or daughter. But sometimes it’s hard not to despair. You fill in the blank with your child’s issue(s)____________. The list might be long. No one wants to quit on their own flesh and blood.

Why shouldn’t we give up? These are the 4 reasons my husband and I chose not to:

A Lesson from Aspen Trees

Parents With Broken Hearts Need Each Other

Aspen trees. 2020 site

I write to hurting, brokenhearted parents; parents whose dreams for their children have dried up and blown away in the wind. These moms and dads have experienced many of their worst nightmares, things they never imagined would happen – not to them; not to their child. Is that you? You felt like you lost your mind, your sense of well-being and your ability to hope. Filled with guilt and shame, you didn’t want anyone to know – not everything. No way. So you got pretty good at keeping secrets and staying to yourself. And it’s killing you.

My husband and I were in Colorado last month. We did a little sight-seeing one day and I had a fresh insight from something I saw that made me think of you – because I am one of you. I’ve been right where you are.

A New Year’s Gift for Hurting Parents

A Special Word for You from a Mom Who Understands

Being the parent of a troubled son or daughter who has a history of making awful choices, who struggles with an addiction, a mental illness or with their sexual orientation, is life-changing. When their world looks like it’s on a downward path to destruction, yours feels like it is, too. Today is New Year’s Day. As many of your friends are setting goals for 2017, thinking about what they want to see happen, you just want your child to live, to be restored to you and your family. It’s difficult and scary for you to look ahead. I’ve tried not to look too far ahead – where my daughter is concerned – for a long time. 12 years. If you can relate, then I have a special word for you.
God is there. With you. The living God. In your pain. In the chaos. In the nightmare.
On your bad days, on the I-can’t-believe-this-is-my-life days, can you see his face?

3 Things Hurting Parents Need to Hear at Christmas

Does God Really Care?

Does God really care about the hurts we parents carry for our children? Today’s blog is from a dad whose been there and understands – my husband Tom. He has something to say to that question and believe me, he knows what he’s talking about.

His message will remind us about 3 things we need to hear – especially during the holidays when our pain is more intense.

These three things are central to the message of the gospel and to Christmas. They intertwine beautifully to speak to our aching hearts. We hope they’ll help you today.


God became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. This is what we celebrate at Christmas. The Apostle John wrote: ” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1: 1,14).

Helping Parents Deal with Difficult Emotions During the Holidays

What is a God Box?

There’s plenty to be fearful about when you love a son or daughter, or grandchild, who struggles with potentially life-altering issues: substance abuse, self-injury, anorexia or bulimia, a mental health issue (depression, bipolar, etc.), is in jail or prison, struggles with their sexual identity, self-injures, or suffers from thoughts of suicide. In my last post I shared my Christmas wish list and I told you about the idea of a God Box.  This is not my original idea. I heard about it in a recovery meeting, tried it and found it to have a huge impact on 048me.

This strategy can help us hurting parents deal with our fear and anxiety. Putting it into practice helped me trust God more with my daughter and let go of my worries to a greater degree than I had in the past.

When you realize you’re fearful, worried, or anxious about something related to your child

A Hurting Parent’s Christmas Wish List

What's on Yours?

Santa'slapAs the mother of a daughter who has wrestled with addictions, self-injury, mental illness, and suicidal tendencies my wants during the holidays are few. If I could be a child again I’d climb up on Santa’s lap and have a very different kind of wish list to share with him. Maybe you would, too.

Material things mean nothing when one of our children is suffering. Their pain is ours. We grieve over their losses. Our lives have been profoundly affected by their struggles and choices.

We’ll never be the same.

What do we really want for Christmas? Nothing money can buy. Your list is probably a lot like mine. It’s more like a prayer.
All I want for Christmas is:
1) A “do over” for my daughter.