My God Box – Help for Parents Dealing with Difficult Emotions

A Gift for Yourself

Tomorrow is Christmas, a hard day for many people, especially parents who are hurting over the destructive choices and behaviors of their teen to adult children. In my last post on December 11th, I told you about the idea of a “God Box”.  This is not my original concept. I heard about it in an Al-Anon meeting.

Using a God box has been a great strategy to help me deal with my raw emotions of fear, worry, and anxiety. It is my prayer that this could help you, too.

Here’s how to use a God Box:

  • Choose a box (any kind or size you want) and put “God Box” or “My God Box” on the top like in the photo.
  • For convenience, I put a small notepad and pen inside my God Box.
  • When you realize you’re worried, anxious or upset about something related to your child (ask God to show you) write it on a piece of paper in your notepad.
  • Tear the paper out and fold it up.
  • Put the folded up paper in your box.
  • Place the lid back on and put it away – in a drawer, high up on a closet shelf, under the bed – wherever you want. But be careful not to hide your box so well that you can’t find it the next time you want to use it!


A Cathartic Process

I can’t explain why, but there’s something extremely cathartic about this simple process.

Writing down what I’m fretting over helps me recognize what I’m feeling and provides a way to express it, to let it out.

Putting the paper in the box symbolizes surrendering my cares to God, putting my child in his hands, letting them go.

Putting the box away further symbolizes the intention of my heart to release my worries and give my child back to the Lord who gave them to me in the first place.

After using a God Box for a few years, I got the idea of writing my Christmas Wish List (I wrote about this in my last blog) and putting that inside my box. It took me a few days to make the time to write out my list – there are so many distractions this time of year – but I finally got it done.


A Powerful Time

What a powerful time. Writing out my hopes and desires, putting them in the box, and leaving them there. Walking away and trusting God.

So good for my soul. So freeing.

Nothing changed with my child – but I wasn’t the same.

A few minutes. That’s all I needed. The result: I had a little more peace. I was a little less anxious and sad; a little less nervous and fearful.

Such a simple thing –  so easy to do – yet with such a big result for my heart and mind.


Give Yourself this Gift

I challenge you to give yourself this gift. Find a box and get started today. This simple, beneficial process might help you find a little more peace and let go of your fears a little more as you surrender your beloved child a little more to the One who alone can help.

This Christmas, tragedies abound in nearly every family and community, here and around the world, but Jesus, Immanuel, is our comfort, strength, and peace. Amen.

May this Bible verse come alive for you today:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  (Isaiah 9:6 Contemporary English Version)


  • If you decide to try using a God Box, I’d love to hear about your experience with it! Share in comments or email me personally. 

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6 thoughts on “My God Box – Help for Parents Dealing with Difficult Emotions

  1. Your process makes sense to me, Dena. I do the same with entries in my journal. Once my worries are on paper, I can leave them (mostly) in God’s hands. Identifying, giving words to, what’s troubling me most is a practice I’ve had for many years. I need it. The God Box is even better. What do you do with your deposits over time?

    We are especially praying for Renee during this time of shocking

    • Sandra, I’m so glad you asked me about what I do with them over time. I completely forgot to mention this! Periodically I go through the box and pull a few of the papers out out and read over them. It’s been amazing to see how God has worked. Many of the things I feared never happened. It’s a little like reading over a prayer journal. I’ve found it to be a faith-building and encouraging exercise. As a matter of fact, I think it’s time to do it again.

  2. Yes, yesterday was Christmas, and I had prayed and hoped for a happy day with my dearly beloved son. But it was just another tear-sodden day of wretchedness and beating myself up because my son is in such despair and it’s all my fault. I could hardly even pray because if God is listening then why does everything seem to get worse instead of better?
    But it can only be the love of God that led me to your blogs last night. Finally there is someone who understands, who knows exactly all the dark places we have been to, who offers sound Christian advice instead of the kind but unhelpful platitudes that others offer when they really don’t know how to react to our latest trauma.
    I have ordered your book and I thank you for writing it. May God bless you and the work you do to bring God’s hope through to all hurting parents.

    • Karen, we are so sorry for all the pain and a hard Christmas, but so grateful that your loving Creator led you to us. I’m so glad you ordered my book and pray it will truly be a gift for your weary soul. We do understand and hope the day will soon come when things will improve with your son. Leave him in God’s hands to do what you cannot and now focus on yourself – especially on your soul. May God uplift you and heal every wound. He is able! And I hope you will sign up for my daily email subscription – you can choose how often you want to receive them (1, 3 or 5 days a week).

      “I will restore to you the years that the locust have eaten . . .” (Joel 2:25). Nothing is too hard for him.

  3. Thanks for this. I was using jars to “ cast my cares” but then stopped. This Christmas with all 4 children together again, there was a good deal I saw but know I have to pray and maybe not say anything. I think I may have to have a box for each adult child , maybe my husband as well, and the Christmas wish list. I also read your post on the wish list and that was good for me to not only pray but an opportunity came for me to Speak life from that list. Thank you for what you are doing, it helps me keep my eyes on Jesus and not the problems.

    • Cheryl, thank you for your comment. It’s hard not to bring up things we see that concern us, but choose to pray instead – you are a wise mom. There are many strategies that can help us cope with our struggles as parents – I hope a God box will help you some – yes, maybe one for each loved one – and I’m glad you liked the idea of a Christmas wish list. How wonderful that you had an opportunity to speak life-giving words from it. Awesome! Thank you for your encouraging words to us – we love hearing that we’re helping you keep your eyes on Jesus, instead of the problem. We all need help doing that!!