What are two things parents of addicts need – or parents of any child that’s causing them pain and heartache? I’m one of those parents, so I have a pretty good idea. It does’t matter what our child’s main issue is: Mental illness, an eating disorder, self-injury, same-sex attraction, incarceration, pornography, gambling, a divorce, etc. Their struggles affect us the same way. This is what I think we need: Quiet and Rest.
Quiet for our mind – from guilt. From self-blame. From carrying the burden of shame. From self-hate. From believing it was our fault. From self-doubt. From questioning: What did I do wrong? Why did this happen? What if I had _______? What if I hadn’t _______?
Please believe me when I tell you it wasn’t your fault. Your child made their own choices. I’ll never forget the day my daughter said, “Mom, it wasn’t you. It was me. I wanted to do the things I did. It was fun and it made me feel good. You didn’t do anything wrong!”
Rest for our heart – from the torment. From the fear. From the worry. You wonder where your son is tonight? What is your daughter doing? What’s happening to them? Will they ever be the same? Will they even survive to their next birthday?
I’ve been there, in that place where you may be – in the chaos and distress over your precious offspring; in that place of anxiety and fear for their welfare; of disquiet and unrest.
It’s awful. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
On my ten year long journey I’ve discovered something. We need to stop and breathe – to make time for the quiet and rest our soul longs for. We need to create space in our day to go to a quiet place and just be. Soak in the tub. Sit in your favorite chair with the TV turned off. Lay on the couch before dinner. Take a break and listen to soothing music. Close your eyes. Take slow, deep breaths. Focus on something else for even five to fifteen minutes. Mentally set aside the baggage from your child that’s weighing you down. Detach it from your ankle so you don’t drown in the deep waters of depression and self-pity.
Be still. Let go of the thoughts that rob you of joy and peace over your troubled child.
Rest in God’s presence.
Lean back in His love.
Drink Him into the depths of your soul during times of prayer and reading His Word.
Focus on an aspect of His character – power, compassion, understanding, love, strength.
Welcome Him into your heart and mind. The quiet and rest He offers can replace your guilt and fear.
The quiet and rest of God is the remedy we need. It helps me every day. It can help you, too.
“. . . in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30: 15b)
“. . . he leads me beside quiet waters.” (Psalm 23: 2)
“. . . he will quiet you with his love . . .” (Zephaniah 3: 17b)
“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shelters him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.” (Deuteronomy 33:12)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest . . . learn from me . . . you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 12:28-29)
Thank you, God, for the call to come and rest. To be still and quiet. Show us the way to find it in the midst of the storm.