What do Super-storm Sandy and Hurting Parents have in common?

A hurricane turns into a super-storm. Fear. Anxiety. Devastation. Destruction. Lives are changed forever.

Life is full of storms. Some do more damage than others.

As I have watched my daughter struggle with addictions, depression and self-harm it has often felt like watching an approaching hurricane. Finding bloody tissues in her trash can. Suspecting she was hiding something from me when she would come in past her curfew. Smelling cigarette smoke on her clothes.

I know trouble is coming but I am powerless to stop it. I am aware of  the danger, but there is only so much I can do. I am powerless. When she was under eighteen I could do more to try and help her. But once she was an adult things changed.

I can only do the best I can to take care of myself and be prepared for what may come.

A counselor friend of mine likens it to a pitcher of water. Our life is the pitcher. It’s full of water but it has a hole in the bottom. Water is leaking out faster than we can fill it. The hole in the bottom is our child. Our challenge is to keep doing the things that fill us or refresh us because our child is constantly draining us.

Make a list of what fills you – be very specific. Here’s mine:

–          Take walks; ride my bike; listen to relaxing or uplifting music; read good books; work in the yard and take care of my flowers; journal; enjoy photography – taking and looking at my pictures; watch funny movies; share my feelings with a friend; do something for someone else

–          Be intentional and put these things in your schedule

–          Retrain your brain. We get caught up in our thoughts, worrying and obsessing, believing lies.

–          Memorize scripture; sing worship songs

–          Don’t stuff or internalize your feelings

–          Detach but not so much that you begin to not care

It’s up to our children if they succeed or fail. They have to choose what they want for their lives.

Let go of guilt and shame. We live out of this too much. It’s not our fault. Sometimes storms just happen.

This Bible verse is so appropriate. Exodus 33:14  ” The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest’ “. Even in storms.

Lord, we realize our children have to want help for themselves. The storm raging in their lives is spilling over into ours. Help us be intentional about doing the things that fill us up.  We give You our fears and anxieties. Knowing You are with us and are in control is all the comfort we need.

In Your rest-giving name,

Amen.

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