The 4 A’s for Hurting Parents

by | Aug 1, 2023 | what you can do

photo cred. Sage Friedman on unsplash

My daughter wasn’t doing well. Alcohol and severe cutting had almost destroyed her life. Worried and distressed, I struggled daily to maintain my sanity. Nights were full of tortured dreams. My heart and mind were in a constant state of chaos. One morning I read Psalm 29. Verse 11 grabbed my attention: “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” Peace and strength were something I lacked. As I prayed about my condition, God showed me four “A” messages that could help me. I hope they will help you too.

1.Admit.  Acknowledge that there is a problem and that you are powerless to solve the problem. This is where you begin. Open your eyes. Wake up. Stop denying. Face the truth. Yes, it’s scary, but you can do this! My daughter is ____________________. My son has a problem with __________________. You’ll be in shock. You will need time and help to process your emotions. You might be afraid, worried, embarrassed, angry or sad. You’re normal if you struggle with all of these, and probably more.

2. Act.  Take action to get help for yourself and for your child (if they are under 18). Learn all you can about your child’s issue and become an expert on the sibject. This is a huge help. Becoming informed and educated empowers you. Make an appointment to see a professional (counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc.) or take your minor child to one. Go to the library, do research on the internet. Find a support group and go to the meetings regularly. You need the help of others who understand. Don’t just sit there, do something. Don’t let the shock and pain you are in paralyze you. Iinstead of isolating, reach out for help. A lot is available to you and for your child.

3. Accept.  Face the situation and believe God is in control. It is what it is, but the outcome is in His hands. Acknowledge and accept this is your new normal. You cannot make your child’s problems go away. You cannot change them or fix them. What you can do is love them well and hopefully that will motivate them to want to change. However, you can’t force them to want that. Take one day at a time. Give your child back to God and trust him with their life. Let go, surrender, and let Him work. Stop continuously enabling and over-helping. Your well-intentioned actions don’t really help in the long run. Detach from their chaos but do so gently, thoughtfully, and with love. Let them take ownership of their problems, then remember to take care of yourself. Doing these things takes a lot of wellness and courage on your part. Therefore, you need to be as strong and healthy as possible for when the time comes that they’re ready for change.

4. Ask. Look for others you can ask to pray for your child, people who care about them and you. You could gather a few friends to pray with you in person. You could also form an email prayer team. Send specific requests once a week and be sure to include yourself. Stand in the gap. Pray with faith and hope. Use the Scriptures to guide you. Assault the gates of heaven on your child’s behalf.

It is possible to move men, through God, by prayer alone wrote missionary Hudson Taylor. There’s no magic formula, but all things are possible with God. With His strength we can release our sons and daughters and let Him work. With His courage we can stop denying, isolating, and over-helping. We can detach and surrender with love. We can take care of ourselves and grow stronger.

In Christ, we can.

 Let’s Pray

photo cred. Aaron Burden on unsplash

Jehovah Shalom, I need Your supernatural help so that I can admit my powerlessness, accept that the outcome of my child’s life is in Your hands, take action, and ask others to pray for both of us. Bless me with Your peace as I grow in character and maturity. Please help me, Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

This verse from the Old Testament has always encourages me:  “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.”  (Psalms 29:11 NIV). During the hardest times, I read one of the Psalms every day. They cover the whole spectrum of emotions and human experience. They were like medicine for the heavy heart.

A Helpful Resource

A book that helped me on my journey is Hope of a Homecoming by O’Rourke and Sauer. “Fight for the life of your prodigal by using the most powerful weapon of all–prayer. If your son or daughter has headed down the prodigal path, you”ve probably esperienced many episodes of anger, fear, and despair. But there is reason for hope, even during the worst of times. These authors share their personal experiences about dealing with their own prodigals. They also offer empowering and professional advice on going deep beneath the surface to enlist and direct God’s sovereign power toward the children of our hearts. You’ll find key Sciptures, written prayers, coping strategies, and practical advice” on many topics.