When You’re a Parent Who’s Given Up

I was putting away the dishes after dinner one evening when suddenly a plate slipped out of my hands. It crashed to brokenthe floor and shattered into hundreds of little pieces. I was stunned. For a few moments I just stood there looking at the mess, wondering how it happened. I wasn’t sure what to do first to clean it up. Then I moaned about the work I knew was ahead. I’d broken a plate before. I knew what it meant.

When my daughter, Renee, began to struggle with mental illness, then fell into addiction and self-injury as a way of coping, I was stunned, too. Those discoveries took my breath away. I was speechless as I observed the wreckage it brought into our lives. And I wondered, “How in the world did this happen?” There were no answers. I was clueless as to what I needed to do to clean up this mess.

After a couple of years and several rehabs I was close to giving up.

Could Renee ever be fixed? My hopes and dreams for her life had been shattered into a myriad of broken pieces. I feared her life was over. Would she be like Humpty Dumpty who fell off the wall? All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put him together again? What was going to happen to her?

When I broke my plate, I threw it away along with all it’s jagged pieces. I couldn’t throw my daughter away! But I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know anything at all – except that I loved her, I needed help, and I couldn’t give up.

It turned out there were some other things I needed to know. It took me a long time to discover what they were. I hope they will help you if you find yourself on a similar journey:

Know that it’s not your fault. You didn’t cause this.

Know that you’re not alone. God is with you and many other parents are there to cheer you on.

Know that God sees and cares. He weeps with you.

Know that this is your reality just for today. It’s one chapter in your child’s life. It’s not the end of the story – yet. You never know what tomorrow or even tonight may hold.

Know that there are plenty of resources – books, websites, support groups, counselors, etc. to help you, encourage you and walk with you. Check out the resources we list here on our website. Message me for more specific things you may be looking for. I’m happy to help.

Know that you can’t fix your child. You can’t change them. You’re not powerful enough to make it better, BUT God can.

Know that the best and most loving thing you can do is stop enabling (over-helping), let go, and take care of yourself. (check out my other posts on enabling)

Know that you can trust God with the unknown future and with all your brokenness. He can put you and your child back together again.

And most of all, know that you should never, ever give up. As long as your child is still breathing, there is still hope.

“I was overwhelmed by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord . . .” (Psalm 116: 3b – 4a)

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