Can Parents in Pain Make Peace with the Unknown?

by | Apr 3, 2023 | who you can be | 6 comments

photo cred. Sage Friedman on unsplash

In the past, I struggled with the need to know how my daughter’s journey would end. Abusing alcohol and drugs, engaging in self-harm, and suffering with a mental illness, not knowing the outcome filled me with anguish. Tormenting thoughts produced endless nightmares. I found no relief by day or night.

Maybe like you, I craved reassurance that one day everything would be okay. Then I remembered Psalms 127:5:

Great is the Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

God understood my situation and my need, but I still struggled. There was a season when I couldn’t smile or laugh anymore.I didn’t know if my daughter was dead or alive. How could I be joyful? Having fun felt wrong. Would I ever be able to laugh again? I didn’t know.

Over 18 years have passed since those days. Fear, worry, and sorrow were my constant companions back then, destroying peace of mind. What if this happens? What if that happens? What if, what if, what if. I bet you’ve done that.

I couldn’t handle the burden on my own anymore. The weight was too heavy. The pressure was too much, too debilitating.

By nature, I’m a happy, positive person who enjoys laughing and smiling. What happened to me? Who had I become? Sad, scared, and lost, when would the real me return? Could she?

She did.

You can too.

How Did I Find Myself Again?

Photo cred. Annie Spratt on unsplash

Because I believe in a personal, compassionate, caring God who created all things, I found myself again when:

  • I decided to trust Him enough to accept the unknown future.
  • I chose to believe He loved my daughter far more than I ever could.
  • I gave my daughter back to Him who gave her to me in the first place—including my need to know the outcome.
  • My faith gave me confidence that God would be with me no matter what happened.
  • I remembered the power of God.

As I gradually learned to let go and trust more, my nightmares decreased, my anxiety lessened, and my heavy heart lightened. The ability to laugh was even restored. Peace also returned (for the most part), despite the fact that my daughter wasn’t fixed one hundred percent. Of course, I have my moments, but I’ve accepted and come to terms with an unknown future because I know God is control. Therefore I could release my grip on the need to know. I’m more comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Only God could do all of that.

However, when your trust and faith in God grow, it doesn’t guarantee everything will be okay. Your child may end up in rehab, jail, or a  psych ward. They may experience long-term effects of their choices and issues … they might even die.

I’m so sorry to say this. Any of these could happen. However …

I believe we can still trust God with the unknowns of our troubled child’s future. With Him, the awful possibilities of what could destroy them won’t destroy us.

He is almighty, all-powerful God who can do anything. He will be with you and your child. He will never leave you—or them.

Friend, I challenge you to surrender. Give your son or daughter back to God, the only One who knows every detail of their lives. Remember, Great is the Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit (Psalms 127:5 NIV). He can help you make peace wtih the unknown like He did for me.

You can “entrust your desire to know into his all-knowing.”

– Sylvia Gunther, The Father’s Business


What the Bible Has to Say

Here are some additional Bible verses that have helped me:

photo cred. Aaron Burden on unsplash

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalms 27:1 NIV).

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27 NIV).

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding… (Proverbs 3:5 NIV).

But He knows the way that I take… (Job 23:10 NIV).

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways… (Isaiah 55:8 NIV).

A Prayer for You

All-knowing God, help me surrender my need to know how my troubled child’s struggle will end. Help me make peace with the unknowns. Remind me of Your trustworthiness, unconditional love, constant presence, and mighty power. You’ve got my child and You’ve got me in Your hands. No matter what happens, I will trust You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Recommended Book for You

When I Lay My Isaac Down, Carol Kent


  1. Rhonda

    I love this and all that you say Dena!! It takes practice to take back your life. It is a daily letting go and I am learning how to do this. I love your encouragement and “permission” to enjoy life in spite of the pain I have as my daughter is mentally ill and healing doesn’t seem near on the horizon!! Trusting God and letting go is the only way forward! Thank you for your powerful and much needed ministry!!!

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Rhonda,you’re so right. I takes practice to learn how to take back your life. A daily letting go. And yes, please give yourself “permission” to enjoy your life again despite the pain. And thank you so much for your encouraging words about this ministry.
      God bless you this Easter week.

  2. Kathy R

    I so needed this today. Thank you🙏❤️

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      Thank you Kathy. I am so glad it helped!
      God bless you as you keep trusting him.

  3. Audrey Ateca

    So needed this reminder. My son will turn 18 this December and I really don’t know what he will do. Will he decide he is an adult and start presenting more female? He graduates in a year. So much uncertainty has been weighing me down. For me it is sometimes a daily even hourly thing of speaking the words “I give him to you Lord. I choose to trust you”

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      I’m so sorry for this all the uncertainties, Audrey. This is so stressful without a clear path to follow other than continuing to let him know you love him no matter what he chooses – although of course you don’t want this for him. That is a heavy weight to bear. All you can do is keep doing what you are, surrendering him into God’s hands and trusting him to work where you cannot. By the way, did you know we have an online support group for parents of LGBT sons and daughter? The facilitator would be happy to connect with you even though she is taking a break until July since she’s moving to another state. But I also know another coule who have an online group for parents, also a faith-based group. Let me know if you want their names and contact information.

      May God give you His supernatural peace and wisdom.
      The Resurrection gives us all great hope.