I’m the mom of three adult children. When they grew up I had my share of normal challenges with them. We all do. Some of mine were much harder than I expected. They were far beyond normal: one of my daughters struggled with drugs and alcohol, relapses, mental illness, self-injury, hospitalizations, suicide attempts and incidences of rape.
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 upon me without warning. Worrisome indicators warned of something ominous on the horizon… like with hurricanes. Thanks to modern technology, we have plenty of time to prepare for dangerous weather systems, although they can still cause a lot of fear, anxiety, and destruction.
Since we live in Orlando, Florida, we experience fierce storms from time to time. When I wrote this, we were waiting to see if a huge hurricane would descend upon us. We prayed the tempest would weaken or veer away otherwise the potential damage would be catastrophic. We remembered four key truths that would get us through any storm.
4 Key Truths
- Draw close to God.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (Jam. 4:8).
- Focus on Him.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Heb. 12:2)
- Trust Him.
“Trust me in your times of trouble, so I can rescue you and you can give me glory” (Ps. 50:15).
- 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 ” (Rom.15:4).
My anxiety grew by the hour, not knowing what to expect. Watching the weather channel only increased my uneasiness, especially if Jim Cantori was on the scene. I’ve 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 and we would hope not for too long.
In parenting, there’s little we can do to prevent big 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. Panting and shaking all over 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 calms down.
Let’s not be like Pebbles. Poor little dog. She doesn’t understand the storm will pass—in time. 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 troubled daughter was my hurricane. Like Pebbles, I had an overwhelming desire to panic and hide. The trauma I experienced with her terrified me. Like all of us, I had no guarantee she would be okay—ever.
In my storm I withdrew from others. Bent over from constant grief and worry, I thought I’d break from the strain. A nervous wreck, I suffered deep distress. I longed for her to be okay.
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.God used them to show me how to survive my parenting storms…even thrive again.
A Golden Nugget
Over the years, as I attempted to apply God’s Word to my life, I still struggled over my daughter’s issues. Then I discovered what I consider a gold mine 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. They summarize the core of where my strength and peace come from. 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)
What this Passage Meant 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 have to endure 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 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.
It’s Not Supposed to be this Way by Lysa Terkeurst
Streams in the Desert by L. B. Cowan