Parenting Storms: 4 Key Truths to Help Us Cope

by | Jan 17, 2022 | what you can do

photo cred. Dena Yohe

I’m the mom of three adult children. When they grew up I had my share of normal challenges with them. We all do, although some of mine were much harder than I had expected: my parenting storm. Far beyond normal, one of my daughters struggled with drugs and alcohol, mental illness, self-injury, suicide attempts and incidences of rape. Many years were full of stress and agony.

Lately, we’ve all faced increasing amounts of stress due to the pandemic which has exacerbated any difficult situation we already had with our troubled children. My parenting challenges were more like storms—fierce ones.They came without warning. Worrisome indicators warned of something ominous on the horizon…like with hurricanes. Thanks to modern technology, we’re given plenty of time to prepare for dangerous weather systems, although they can still cause fear, anxiety, and destruction.

Living in Orlando, Florida, from time to time we experience severe storms. When I wrote this post, we were waiting to see if a huge hurricane would descend upon us. We prayed and hoped the tempest would weaken or veer away, otherwise the potential damage would have been catastrophic.

4 Key Truths

During that time, I remembered 4 key truths that would help get me through any storm I’d ever face.

  1. Draw close to God.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8 NIV).

  1. Focus on Him and remember who He is.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Herews 12:2 NIV)

  1. Trust Him. Then trust Him more.

“Trust me in your times of trouble, so I can rescue you and you can give me glory” (Psalms 50:15 NIV).

  1. Rely on His Word.

“Everything that was written in the past was to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope ” (Romans15:4 NIV).

My anxiety grew by the hour, not knowing what to expect with the approaching hurricane. Watching the weather channel only increased my uneasiness, especially if Jim Cantori came on the scene. I’d been through hurricanes before. I knew the sky would grow dark and foreboding. Trees would bend and sway; some would uproot. Branches, leaves, and debris would cover the neighborhood. Power outages would occur.

In parenting, there’s little we can do to prevent storms or lessen their potential damage. They can cause a lot of pain and destruction, sometimes catastrophic. How can we cope?

By remembering and applying those same four key truths.

She Doesn’t Understand

Our son has an adorable Yorkshire terrier named Pebbles. Like many dogs, she’s petrified of storms, especially hurricanes. She doesn’t understand what’s happening. Panting and shaking she runs around in a state of panic. Her family puts a special vest around her chest to help soothe her, but she still runs and hides in a corner until the weather grows calm again.

Let’s not be like Pebbles. Poor little dog. She doesn’t understand that in time the storm will pass. Everything will be okay again. She can’t grasp that her loving owners are with her. They’ll take care of her and keep her safe because they love her.

My Hurricane

photo cred.wikimedia

My troubled daughter was my parenting hurricane. Like Pebbles, I had an overwhelming desire to panic. The desire to hide was strong. The trauma I experienced with her terrified me. Like for each of us, there was no guarantee she would be okay—ever.

In my storm, I withdrew from others. Bent over from the constant strain, I thought I’d break from overwhelming grief. A nervous wreck, I suffered deep distress. I longed for my daughter to be whole again.

I realized I was a lot like Pebbles. I needed to remember that God would with me. One day my storm would end (though I don’t know in what way), but until then my Heavenly Father would keep me safe in His arms. I could rest in Him.

Friends, life is full of storms—all kinds. We can’t escape them or make them vanish, but the four key truths I discovered helped me cope with the stress. God used them to show me how to survive…even thrive again. He can help you too.

A Golden Nugget 

photo cred. Sharon McCutcheon

Over the years, I learned to apply God’s Word to my life,but I still struggled over my daughter’s issues. Then I discovered what I consider a golden nugget in the Old Testament. This passage motivated me to refocus on those four simple but powerful key truths. I turned there once again when we waited to see if the dangerous hurricane would come. These verses summarize the core of where my strength comes from. They fill me with peace. This golden nugget embodies my prayer for you:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I Am the Lord, your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior . . .

Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you . . .

Don’t be afraid, for I Am with you.” (Isaiah 43:1-5 NIV)

What this Passage Means to Me:

  • God will be with me, no matter what kind of storm I face. (v.1)
  • When I’m confronted with life-shaking events I will not be overcome. (v.2a)
  • I will survive, even though I may go through tough times. I will get through them. (v.2b)
  • I need to remember who my Helper is: the God of the universe; the creator and sustainer of all life. (v.2b)
  • Because I am deeply and perfectly loved, I can rest in my Maker. He’s got me and my child. (v.3)
  • There’s no need for me to be consumed with fear. I am never alone. God Almighty, The I AM, will be with me always and forever. (v.4)

Dear mom or dad, the next time you face a storm with your child (maybe today) focus your thoughts on God and draw near. He alone can soothe your soul. He lavishes comfort and encouragement on anyone who looks to Him in childlike faith.

The song, Peace Be Still is perfect for us. May God speak peace over you. Listen here.

Recommended books:

It’s Not Supposed to be this Way by Lysa Terkeurst

Streams in the Desert by L. B. Cowan