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?

In the darkest times, can you see his light?
In your most intense suffering, do you know his peace?
When you’re sinking in a pit so deep, can you feel his hand?
And when you’ve almost given up, will you breathe in his strength?
His face shines on you. Do you remember?
His light eliminates the shadows; it pierces the darkness that closes in on your soul. Do you still believe it?
The pain he endured on the cross brought you his perfect peace. His. Peace. Can this really be true? Really?
He’s right by your side, broken parent (grandparent or step-parent). He’s smack dab in the middle of the slimy, smelly pit you’ve fallen into that’s so deep you can’t see your way out. You’re not even sure if there is one.
But wait . . . his resilience can even replace your despair. Yep. He can obliterate it as though your heart was a chalkboard that he wiped clean off with a heavenly, super-eraser.
Almighty God be with you throughout all of 2017, the same as he was in 2016. He’s here, ready and eager to help. He’s in your life to help you find your way through. He’s your lifeline. Today, tomorrow, and forever. He makes this same offer to your child. If only they would . . .
When sin and trouble of all kinds take your child away, the only thing I know to do is keep giving them back to the Lord and trust him. In every storm keep trusting. Bring your child and your deadened heart to him. He can make it beat again and bring you back to life. If you do, he’ll give you a gift – hope. And that’s what we need to press on.
In my book, You Are Not Alone: Hope for Hurting Parents of Troubled Kids, I wrote, “Are you focusing on what isn’t happening in your child’s life? On your dissatisfaction, disappointments, and shattered dreams? Or on what could happen in yours? You get to choose.”
Since we have no control over our child, let’s make the choice to focus on God: on who he is, on what he can do for us and in us. That’s our real hope.
This Bible verse strengthens this hope in me:
“I remember my affliction . . . the bitterness . . . I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3: 19-23).
Dear God, thank you for this gift of hope. We sure do need it as we face another year with our child. When we’re struggling, don’t let us forget your great love, compassion and faithfulness. What beautiful lifelines they are. 

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4 thoughts on “A New Year’s Gift for Hurting Parents

  1. A friend sent me a link to Dr James Dobson broadcast. I listened to your story and I am sitting here crying my eyes out.

    I am a single mother of a 23 year old daughter (my only child). She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and PTSD when she was 20 years old. She also abuses alcohol and smokes marihuana. Her life is spiraling down and so is mine.

    It was so good to hear your story and to know that I am not alone. I have so many feelings and most of them are not good. I am a Christian and I trust God but sometimes I forget I belong to Him and struggle with fear, hopelesness, guilt and shame.

    When my daughter was a teenager she mentioned “To Write Love On Her Arm” a lot, in fact, I think she even had a bracelet with those words. She too cut herself when she was in high school.

    This journey is long, sad and unpredictable and I thank you for encouraging grieving parents like myself.

    God bless you.

    • Thank you for reaching out to us, Yasmin. That’s neat your daughter knew about To Write Love on her Arms. We are so sorry for the trials you’ve been through with her. It’s so much harder as a single parent. You feel even more alone. It’s really hard to trust God when you don’t see him answering your prayers, but we believe that we can trust him because he is worthy of our trust. Fear, hopelessness and guilt are huge problems for hurting parents. The enemy works on us to defeat us and cause us to walk away from our faith, but don’t you give up! God is there and he cares about you and your daughter, no matter what you see happening or how you feel. He understands far more than we could ever realize since he’s the ultimate, rejected, heartbroken parent of all mankind – and the only perfect parent!

      We’re so glad you heard our story and hope that part 2 offered/s you hope and encouragement. You’re right, he journey is long, sad and unpredictable. But, praise be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, because in him we are Not Alone – and that IS predictable! Please sign up for our free email subscription for ongoing encouragement through our website. It’s one more way we can support you on this difficult journey. God bless you!

  2. I listened to your radio program today and it helped. My children don’t have addiction but they are under attack by my ex husband and it seems there is little I can do to help them. I want to have faith in the Lord- I need to have faith in something. I just have a hard time believing that this could continue to happen for so long.

    • Angela,
      We’re sorry you and your children are having a rough time now. Feeling helpless isn’t a pleasant experience and sadly we don’t always know how long it will last. It does require us to live by faith, not sight, as we trust in God’s love for us and our children. Ironically, when we felt the most helpless with our daughter and could not do anything else but surrender ourselves and her to His loving arms, we saw the most answers to our prayers. It wasn’t instantaneous but we did see God move in good ways in her and our lives.

      I read something the other day that stuck with me. It was talking about cooking a roast in a slow cooker. Individually the ingredients aren’t very tasty, onion, meat, potato, celery etc. but placed within the slow cooker, over hours of time, the ingredients begin to create a pleasant aroma and a nice pot roast. At times, the Lord allows us to be in the slow cooker. The circumstances are pleasant by themselves. Trust in the Lord to work His plan in you and your children to make you the people He wants you to be, like the image of His Son.

      We are sorry for what you are going through and pray for your strength and patience. If you haven’t gone to our website you may find some encouraging posts or helpful information. You can sign up for encouraging emails if you like. http://www.hopeforhurtingparents.com

      Tom and Dena