photo cred. Umit Bulu on Unsplash
Parenthood changes you. But when your son or daughter has a history of making awful choices, struggles with an addiction, mental illness or with their sexual orientation, it’s life-changing. When their world looks like it’s on a downward path to destruction, yours feels like it is too. Today is New Year’s Day. As many of your friends set goals for the coming year, thinking about what they want to see happen, your only goal is for your child to live, to be restored to you and your family, or resolve their issues.
Looking ahead for you is scary. Where my daughter was concerned, I tried not to look too far ahead for a long trime–for 12 years. If you can relate, then I have a special word for you. my New Year’s gift for every hurting parent.
God is there. He’s with you, dear mom or dad. The living God, Creator of the universe, is present in your grief. He’s in the pain and the chaos as your Helper, Comforter, Advocate.
On your bad days, the I-can’t-believe-this-is-my-life days, can you see his face?
In the darkest times, can you see his light?
In your most intense suffering, do you know his peace?
When you’re sinking in a deep pit, can you feel his hand?
And when you’ve almost given up, will you breathe in his strength?
His face shines on you. Do you believe it?
His light eliminates the shadows; it pierces the darkness that closes in on your soul. Will you open your heart to him?
The pain he endured on the cross brought you his perfect peace. His. Peace. Can this be true?
He’s by your side. Your broken heart breaks his. He weeps with you.
He’s in the slimy, smelly hole you’ve fallen into that’s so black you can’t see your way out. You’re not even sure there is one.
But wait . . . God’s resilience can replace your despair. He can obliterate hopelessness as though your heart was a chalkboard he wiped clean with a heavenly eraser.
Dear friend, Almighty God will be with you throughout all of 2022, the same as he was in 2021. He’s ready and eager to help. He wants to guide you to find your way through. He’s your rock of refuge. He’s your lifeline today, tomorrow, and forever. He makes this same offer to your child. If only they would accept his help.
When troubles of all kinds take your child away, the only thing I know to do is to keep giving them back to the One who gave them to you in the first place. In every storm keep trusting him. Bring your child and your deadened soul to him. He can make your heart beat again. He can bring you back to life and give you a gift – hope.
photo cred. Canva
Hope is what we need to press on.
In my book, You Are Not Alone: Hope for Hurting Parents of Troubled Kids, I wrote, “Are you focusing on what isn’t happening in your child’s life? On your dissatisfaction, disappointments, and shattered dreams? Or on what could happen in yours? You get to choose.”
Since we have no control over our children, let’s make the choice to focus on God: on who he is, on what he can do for us and in us. This is our real hope.
This Bible verse strengthens this hope in me:
“I remember my affliction . . . the bitterness . . . I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3: 19-23) NIV.
Pray with me: Dear God, thank you for the gift of hope. Only you can make my heart beat again. Hope is exactly what I need as I face another year with my child. When I’m struggling, don’t let me forget your great love, compassion and faithfulness. What beautiful lifelines they are. Thank you for this New Year’s gift.