Hurting Parents Need Peace with the Unknown Outcome

by | Aug 7, 2023 | what you can do | 2 comments

photo cred. Nick de-Partee on unsplash

In the beginning of my experience as a hurting parent, I struggled with my intense desire to know how my daughter’s journey with alcohol, drugs, depression, self harm, suicide attempts and sexual trauma would end. Not knowing drove me crazy. Tormented, I longed for a positive outcome. Does not knowing how your child’s story will end bother you too? The unknown future kept me awake at night and gave me nightmares. Heavy-hearted, getting through each day was a challenge. I craved reassurance that one day everything would be okay. I NEEDED to know.

The photo of the pile of broken rocks is a visual of how I felt: A jumbled up mess of ugly, broken pieces.

Who Had I Become?

During this time I rarely smiled. I wondered if I would ever be able to laugh again. Nothing was funny. Usually, I was a joyful, positive person who laughed often, but not anymore. Who had I become? What happened to me? Where had I gone?

It’s been over 17 years since my journey began. My emotions have been all over the map. Fear and worry were my constant companions, destroying peace of mind on a daily basis. Sad and scared I didn’t know how to live in this chaos. What if this happens? What if that happens? What if she . . . what if, what if, what if. Blagh. I “what-if-ed” myself to death. Would I ever feel normal again?

The only way I was able to cope and find peace again was to remember God was with me and with my daughter. He was in control and He would be my strength. I helped me surrender her to Him along with the unknowns. I had to give her – including all my worries, fears and cares for her welfare – into His hands. I couldn’t handle the pain anymore. On my own, the burden was too much. Too big. Too hard. Too consuming. Too debilitating.

Worn Out

Worn out from trying to carry the weight of it all on my own shoulders, I turned to God and He upheld me. Inner solitude slowly returned, even though my daughter was not “fixed”.  This was a long process, but I’m back to normal now. (Although I’m not sure what normal truly is, other than a city in Illinois). I still have my moments, but for the most part I have made peace with the unknown future. I’ve let go of my need to know how my daughter’s life will turn out. I have learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, with the not-knowing.

How? By choosing to believe I can trust in an all-powerful, all-knowing God with the “rest of the story”, as story-teller Paul Harvey used to say. Only God knows how any of our lives will end and He’s got us.

Dear friend, I am not saying this means your child’s life will turn out well. You have no guarantee of a fairy tale ending. Their story may not end the way you want. Your son or daughter may end up in rehab, jail, a psych ward, on meds their whole life, or experience the long-term effects of what they’ve done to themselves. Sadly, they could even die. I’m so sorry to even say that, but it’s true. Any of these could happen. However …

We can still trust God even in the face of some awful possibilities. He sees. He knows. He cares. He will be with you and He will never leave you. You can rest in His love.

Surrender and Trust

photo cred. Dena Yohe

I challenge you to do what I did that brought me peace once again. Surrender your precious son or daughter. Give your child back to their Maker and trust Him, the only One who has full knowledge everything. He knows the who, what, when, where and why of their story and yours … and He is trustworthy. If you doubt that you can trust HIm, read the Bible and you will see Him prove His faithfulness over and over again.

You can “entrust your desire to know into his all-knowing.”Sylvia Gunther, The Father’s Business.

As you gradually learn to surrender and trust God with your child’s future, I think you will see your nightmares decrease, your sanity return, and the heaviness of your heart lighten. You might even laugh again. If I did, I believe it’s possible for you too.

A Resource

An amazing book that is a great example of parents who surrendered the unknown future and learned to trust God with the not knowing is When I Lay My Isaac Down by Carol Kent. Carol and her husband Gene learned to trust God with their desire to know the future for their son when their worst fears became reality. He committed murder and is now in prison for life. The way they coped and trusted God gave me great hope for myself. Carol showed me that if I could do what she did – let go of my need to know and keep trusting God no matter what happens – then one day I would be okay, even if my daughter never was.

From the Bible

These Bible verses help me trust God: All are taken from the New International Version

“Though an army beseige me, my heart will not fear” (Psalms 27:3a).

“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)

“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).

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

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

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

“Great is the Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit”  (Psalms 127:5).

All-knowing God, help us let go a little more today of our need to know how our child’s story will end. Help us trust You more. Remind us that You are trustworthy; that You see, that You know, that You’ve got our children in Your hands, and You’ve got us. Please help us, for we cannot do this on our own. In Jesus’ name. The Miracle-Worker. Amen.


  1. Robin Driscoll

    The unknown for my son is so overwhelming, but I try to keep going, it’s so very hard, he is worse off on drugs now than he has ever been, I also think the worse in his case, I wait for a call to tell me something bad has happened to him, this will beat a mama down, I’ve been dealing with this issue of my son’s drug addiction for over 8 year’s now and it’s not getting any better, I’m trying to hold on the best I know how.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      I am so so sorry, Robin. You’re right, that is terribly hard, especially when you don’t know if your child will survive. The unknown is overwhelming, that’s why we need to trust God even more and take care of ourselves the best that we can or we will become another victim. I’d like to invite you to try one of our support groups, or some other 12-step group near you. Nar-anon and Al-Anon are two you might like. There are also online CRAFT groups. We also have in-person groups and online groups. The online groups I’m part of start again on Wed. Aug. 23rd but the in-person ones are also available all over the country. I hope there’s one near you. You can look on our website to see. A support group can strengthen you more than you thought possible and you can find others who understand who can guide you. There are other groups I can recommend as well. If you want more information email me: or look on our website under Support Groups or Websites (under Resources). May God comfort you and give you renewed endurance tonight.
      In Christ,