“I give up!” “There’s no way this is ever going to end well.” “The doctor told us to plan our daughter’s funeral.” “If he keeps going like this we don’t know what will happen.” “Everything we’ve tried to do to help our child has failed. It’s no use.” “I don’t even tell people I have a son anymore, it’s too embarrassing to explain.” Are you a parent who can relate to any of these statements? Have you said or thought these things about your son or daughter? You’re not bad and you’re alone. You’re normal and you’re in a lot of pain.
Hope. In many of our situations it looks like there isn’t any – or at least not much. Maybe you had plenty in the beginning, but that was years ago. Today you’re ashamed to admit how you really feel. When that mom told me she no longer told people she met that she had a son, I felt so badly for her. She was being as honest as she could and it revealed how hopeless she’d become. Years of chaos and trauma, lies and rejection, disappointment after disappointment had drained her of believing change was possible. Is that you? Or do you see yourself heading in that direction?
There was a time I was on the verge of losing hope, BUT I discovered some things that helped me hold on to it. I wanted to share my top 3 with you today. I hope they’ll help you not lose yours:
- SUPPORT GROUPS. Find one and go regularly. No matter how much you don’t want to, how tired you are, how much you think it won’t help, go anyway. If your child is getting out (or recently got out) of rehab, or a mental health facility, or prison, you need this more than you realize. It’s the number one best thing you can do for yourself because in this setting you’ll realize the truth that you must work your own recovery program. You need to focus on yourself and less on your son or daughter. You discover how to cope and be okay even if your child isn’t. Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, NAMI and Celebrate Recovery offer groups. My husband and I can help individuals or churches start Hope for Hurting Parents groups, too. Please leave a comment if you’d like more information.
- READ. Read the Bible, God’s Word, to discover what it has to say about hope.You can download a Bible app on your phone and listen when driving to work or running errands. We like the YouVersion. Do a word search if you have a concordance and read all the verses you can find on this topic. You’ll be amazed at all the encouraging stories – how God brought hope to hopeless people. The last teachings of Jesus in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are full of hope-filled messages. Read inspiring stories or listen to books on cd about people who overcame great obstacles. You can get them from your local library – ours delivers to your home with no charge. A few examples are: Our daughter’s story (click here to read it), Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic, Books by Joni Eareckson Tada, Moments of Clarity by Christopher Lord, or this one specifically for parents The Hope of a Homecoming by O’Rourke and Sauer. Check out our “books” tab for more.
- PRAYER. Ask others to pray – for you and for your child. It really can change things – and people. Choose a few individuals who really care about you and your child, who have a strong faith and will take it seriously. Ask them personally to pray for you and your struggling child. Send updates once a week. People really like knowing how they can pray specifically, especially if they’ve never been in your shoes. Don’t just say, “please pray for me”. Say, “Please pray for me to have hope again. That I could sleep without disturbing nightmares, overcome my fears, stop obsessing over ______ and find a good support group.” When others began to pray for me I began to have more peace, before any changes took place with our daughter. Not sure who to ask? Here are two prayer resources: PrayerforProdigals.com; Breakthrough ministries – intercessors.org; Hope for the Heart, hopefortheheart.org
O God, hope can be such an illusive thing. Hard to find once we lose it. Hard to keep when distressing things keep happening. Give us the kind of hope You want us to have – rooted in who You are and what You’ve already done. Nothing is too hard for You, and that includes helping us live with peace and joy in the midst of troubles with our child.
Dear parent, hold on to this Scripture:
“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me (Jeremiah 32:27)?”