Hurting Parents Need Peace with the Unknown Outcome

I used to struggle so much with my need to know how my daughter’s journey with alcohol, drugs, depression, self harm, suicide attempts and sexual trauma would end.  The “not knowing” was making me crazy! I desperately needed to know the end of the story!   Does it bother you, too?  It kept me awake at night, gave me nightmares and an extremely heavy heart I could hardly carry around in my chest all day long.  I craved some kind of reassurance that one day everything would be “OK”.  I NEEDED this!

I chose this picture of a pile of broken pieces of cement (former border from my yard) because that is what this feels like.  It is a jumbled up mess that makes no sense to me.  Just a bunch of broken pieces that look so ugly.  What a mess.

I remember a season when I could barely smile.  Certainly couldn’t laugh.  I even wondered if I would ever be able to laugh again, and I am a very happy, positive person who likes to laugh a lot!   Who had I become?  What happened to me?  Where had I gone?  I was so sad.  So scared.  So lost.

It’s been over 13 years since my journey began, almost 10 since it ramped up.  My emotions have been all over the map.  Fear and worry have been my constant companions, destroying peace of mind on a daily basis.  What if this happens?  What if that happens?   What if she . . . what if, what if, what if.  Blagh!  I was “what-if-ing” myself to death!

I can only tell you that for me the only way I have found to deal with this and find peace again has been to trust God.  To “let go and let God” as Al-Anon says so well.  I had to give my daughter along with my need to know; along with all my worries, fears and cares for her welfare into His hands, into the hands of my higher power.  I couldn’t handle it anymore.  It was too much.  Too big.  Too hard.  Too consuming.  Too debilitating.  I was worn out from trying to carry it all on my own shoulders.  Peace has returned (for the most part), even though she is not “fixed”.  Of course I have my moments, but for the most part I have made peace with the unknown future.  I have let go of my need to know how it will turn out.  I have learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, with the not-knowing.  How?  By choosing to believe I can trust in an all-powerful, all-knowing God with the “rest of the story”, as story-teller Paul Harvey used to say.  Only God knows how it will all turn out and He’s got it!  So I don’t have to!

Now, I am not saying this means it will all turn out well in the end.  We have no guarantee of a fairy tale ending.  It may not end like we want.  Your child may end up in rehab, in jail, in the psych ward, needing meds their whole life, experiencing the long-term effects of what they’ve done to themselves . . . they could even die.  I’m so sorry to even say this, but it is true.  Any of these things could happen.  However, I believe we can still trust God even with these awful possibilities.   He sees.  He knows.  He will be there with you.  He will never leave you.  You can rest in that.

I challenge you to try it.  Let go and let God.  Give your child back to Him and trust the only One who knows everything.  He knows the who, what, when where and why. . .  and He is trustworthy.  If you doubt this just read the Bible and you will see him prove it over and over again.  You can “entrust your desire to know into his all-knowing.” – Sylvia Gunther, The Father’s Business.  As you gradually learn to do this I think you will see your nightmares decrease, your sanity return, the heaviness of your heart lighten and you might even laugh again.  Maybe even at my jokes!  (They’re really bad!  I’m the world’s worst joke teller!)

An amazing book that is an excellent example of parents who have learned to trust God with the not knowing is When I Lay My Isaac Down by Carol Kent.  Carol and her husband learned to trust all-knowing God with their desire to know when their worst fears became reality.  Their only child,  their son, committed murder and is now in prison for the rest of his life.  It sounds depressing but it is one of the books I read during my worst times that gave me the greatest hope.  It showed me that if I could let go of my need to “know” and keep trusting God, then one day I would be ok, even if my daughter never was.

As some of you know who have read my blogs before I always like to give you at least one Bible verse that has helped me.  Today I have several:

“Though an army beseige me, my heart will not fear” (Psalms 27:3a)

“The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalms 27:1)

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  (John 14:27)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…”  (Proverbs 3:5)

“But He knows the way that I take…”  (Job 23:10)

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways…”  (Isaiah 55:8)

“Great is the Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”  (Psalms 127:5)

All-knowing God, help us let go a little more today of our need to know how this will end.  Help us trust you a little more.  Remind us that you are trustworthy; that you see, that you know, that you’ve got our child and you’ve got us!  Help us for we cannot do this on our own!  Amen.

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