Hope. What is that to you as the parent of an addict, self-injurer, gay, mentally ill or incarcerated child (or any other issue)? In the past, my main hope was for things to “work out”; to have my prayers answered (all of them); to see my dreams fulfilled; to have my daughter healed, whole and well in every way.
Are you like me? We hope our child will:
Stop abusing alcohol or drugs.
No longer be attracted to the same-sex, or want to be transgendered.
Learn to cope without harming themselves.
Be set free from mental illness.
Love themselves enough to never be suicidal again.
When we don’t see these things happening, we begin to lose hope. We wonder why? Where is God? How do we make sense of our child’s problems?
After more and more time goes by, with no resolution, disappointment and discouragement takes a toll on our emotions. We become depressed, resentful and bitter. Sometimes our own will to live weakens.
June Hunt from Hope for the Heart shared a great word picture that describes this depressed feeling that an settle on us. She says it’s like placing a heavy iron on a foam pillow. “The plump pillow becomes pressed down – depressed. If you remove the iron after a few seconds, the pillow springs back to its original shape. But if you wait several months to remove the iron, the foam pillow remains flat and depressed. The same is true of our hearts.
When your heart becomes pressed down as a result of the normal pressures of life you typically rebound or spring back when that pressure is alleviated. However, if you live under the weight of heavy pressure for a long period of time, your heart may enter a state of depression. But Jesus cares about your heart and knows you are especially vulnerable when you are heavyhearted.”
The Bible encourages depressed, heavyhearted people with these words:
“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens” (Psalm 68:19).
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5).
You can spring back from what’s pushing you down, depressing you, flattening you.
The burden may remain – the situation may not change with your child – but you can experience relief because of who God is and His promises to you. He’ll bear your burdens – every day, every minute. He’ll lift you up and help you cope. Put your confidence in this and leave your child in God’s hands while you hold on to the hope that He can do anything – but if not, you will choose to trust in Him. Amen.