After many years of many tears, this picture struck my heart today. It so closely resembles my feelings of the last few years. Dark tears of grief- of what paths my son had gone down. The inability to “fix” him. Seeing the pain in others as they coped with the loss of a person still physically here.
Lately though, I have actually been able to breathe- breathing in sweet gratitude for so many things. I need to give credit where credit is due.
My window washers.
My window washers who are always trying to clean up my tears.
A window washer
What do they do? With their buckets of fresh water and wands of hope; They go to great lengths and danger to give us clarity. With almost one swipe they can change our perception. Remember the dirty window story?
My story isn’t about others’ dirty laundry though. It’s about helpers.
I’ve had many window washers in my life, especially in the last 3 years.
The variety of window washer angels who willingly scrape those embedded tears from my dark stained eyes.
Firstly, My long-lost but reunited God. A God who, even as I was pouring out my tears of my long-lost son to him, gently washed them away speaking, “lay him at my feet”.
There are my grandkid window washers, who with their innocent smiles and bright laughing eyes pull me into their world. Taking me to baseball games, parks, hiking. Showing me the beauty of their world.
My daughter, who will ask me, “what do you need?” on those days when my sadness envelops me like a dark storm cloud. She might as well be whipping out her magic window washer to show me that I matter and that I deserve to feel good again. Even if only for a day. “What’s your plan?” She always asks. “Plan? I Plan to sit here in my misery.”
Then there’s my dear husband-the stagehand that never gets thanked. He pulls out his window washer and works his magic. When I need a back rub, a sounding board, or silence. Even if he doesn’t understand my undying devotion; he supports me over and over.
So yes, this picture strikes me. The sheer size of my problems in this picture, as I see them-is telling. According to my leaky saddened eyes, my world is a giant. My problems were so large, they seemed insurmountable. All the people trying to console me.
Until I declared my son healed.
He wasn’t yet. He was actually in jail. He was frustrated and then suicidal. After they put him on suicide watch, he gradually started to feel better.
Now my son is 103 days substance-free! I want to shout it to the rooftops. It’s everything I dreamed of the last few years and more. But my studies have shown me that it’s not wise to be so sure. Relapse is common and with the contaminated drug supply, they are often deadly.
So I bask in silence. I let a smile cross my lips in occasion. I can almost wholeheartedly enjoy an activity or event, knowing my son is safe and being productive on his healing. He told me excitedly the other day:
“I’m such a better person than I was before my addiction”
I have to wonder, am I?
Did those saddened tears of disappointment do some good for me? Did I learn to love unconditionally? Not just the addicted one, but those who exiled him from their life?
Did I learn that my life matters, no matter what tragedy goes on around me?
Do I make even small improvements that help me feel better about my environment? Just yesterday I organized my desk display from chaos to cuteness.
But I also went to the doctor yesterday for the first time in 3 years and saw how much I weigh. I was shocked, to say the least. I now need a window washer to wipe away that problem.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned the last few years, is it’s ok to not know.
It’s ok to not know what the future holds. It’s ok to not have everything planned out. It’s ok to not know what the world will look like next year. I’m learning to trust by faith.
Faith over hope.
As I stated in this post, there’s a difference. In the process of just trusting, we may have some depression or sadness. As I listened to my audible tape “Care of the soul” on my way up to a camping trip yesterday, I listened with curiosity as he describes depression as a needed thing sometimes. It gives that space to reflect, to heal, to process. We don’t always have to live in this happy positive unauthentic state.
Anyone who’s experienced a “Dark night of the Soul” knows that you ultimately come out a better person. After all:
You can't know light without experiencing the dark.
There are so many things in my life to be grateful for right now. When the little shadow of fear that lingers ever so strong in the shadows of my soul, starts to sneak up on me; I just have to grab onto my faith.
Faith that everything will work out for the best. I will have enough money to meet my needs. I will have a job. My kids will be ok. My grandkids will make it in their own way.
I am enough and I have enough- always.
By acknowledging what drives my depression or my worry ( fear) I can hopefully send it on it’s way and leave me in peace.
“Depression is caused by overconsumption. Overconsumption is caused by obsession. Obsession is caused by fear. Fear is caused by an absence of love. An absence of love is caused by a belief in others. A belief in others is caused by a label called others. A label called others is caused by a need to organize life into some form of understanding. A need to organize life into some form of understanding is caused by an inability to trust life as it is.
By loving the one who doesn’t know how to trust life as it is, the need to organize life into some form of understanding dissolves. As this occurs, a belief in others can be recognized as a belief in a label called others. Beyond the play of labels, a love that knows no other emerges from within you. As love emerges, you are absolved of fear, the tendency to obsess, or the need to over consume, at the rate in which the one who is depressed is embraced with equal respect, support, and heart-centered attention.
As depression is loved as never before, it becomes a vital stage of emptying out. As you empty out, the seed of ego dissolves to create space for the blossoming of consciousness. This allows depression to be a pivotal stage of growth and expansion, instead of something to fight, ignore, or avoid.” – Matt Kahn
Life’s journeys can start out in fun anticipation of what adventures lie ahead. But sometimes we get in over our heads quickly and instead of turning back, get lost in the maze of unhealthy habits and practices. Everywhere we look, all we see is more tightrope-walking. The thin line between risk and pleasure. The little nagging thought that it will be ok. Just one more time.
I was with my grandkids at this rope park on Saturday and immediately thought of the comparison to life.
We all know that battling addiction is a roller coaster ride, especially for those who are on the sidelines watching is devastating effects. We can be on top of the world, thinking everything is fine; then be dropped to the ground in despair. Instead of butterflies in our stomachs, we have what feels like rocks. Heavy and sad. As I played on these ropes, I realized how far the tentacles and mazes that my son’s addiction have reached.
I also realized how strong the anchors are that are holding it all together. Anchors that can't be seen from all angles.
Whether you’re stuck in addiction, or watching from the sidelines, you might be stretching, reaching for the next rope to hold on to. In doing so, you have to have a certain amount of faith that those anchors will hold your weight. You just have to believe.
In this moment, after years, of crying out in pain, day after day- with the twists and turns of addiction; I finally made it through a maze of ropes to the other side. For now. My son was finally picked up on his warrants on August 17. On Aug 22, while in jail, he said his life was over and there was no way he could bounce back. He said he had no choice but to hang himself. I was able to get the medical personnel to listen to the tapes and place him in safety.
2 months later- last week- my 35 yr old son, with a bullet hole scar in his leg; called me from a non-descript rehab in a bit of tapered excitement. He’s been put in charge of all new admits. He shows them around and assigns them a bunk and their chores. He has to keep track of them and notify staff if they “run”. It’s a huge responsibility. 💬💯💬💯💬💯💬💯💬💯💬
The relief, the gratitude, the honor, the pride. The hope forged from faith. Day after day of earnest prayer. Tears falling in want. Tears, turned to joy.
The knowing that we are not in charge. I say this knowing full well that things can change in an instant. But I will still rejoice in faith.
My sincere message for today is how important it was that I spoke healing over my situation and problems. It’s ok to feel sad and disappointed at times, but to them- and all involved, it’s more beneficial to speak hope, instead of complaining like we are prone to do. I did my fair share of that, so I know it’s easier said than done, but it gets easier to speak hope instead of disgust to them.
We are not promised even one more day ourselves! So always leave them knowing that you loved them the best you could despite the horrors of this disease.
Today I relish in joy. Joy in the journey of this boy. I’m so glad I’m here to witness it because many times I wished to be gone.
I hurriedly rushed through the sporting goods store looking for the items on my son’s “list” for this weeks “drop”.
A coffee mug
A hat with a flag or a CAT logo
More protein mix and protein bars and maybe pre-workout mix
Head -n- Shoulders Body/ shampoo wash
This day was special. It’s the eve of 4 weeks in rehab. 4 weeks to a person with years of substance use is HUGE. This is after 5 weeks in jail. Although this amount of time is a great victory, it’s a drop in the hat compared to the amount of time using……..years.
Insurance companies, and others, might insist “Shouldn’t he be healed by now?”
Hmm, I’m not good at math but 48 months doesn’t equal 2 months. The brain is amazing but neuroplasticity takes time. Just like it took time to adjust to the drugs.
We “think” that as soon as we get them out of that cycle of chaos and get them a shower and some decent meals, they will be good-to-go. If that were true- there would be zero return to use after jail.
As it is, my son is learning how to take care of himself again. For year’s, yes years, he has been in pure survival mode. Trying to find a place to stay every night; trying to maneuver his substance use, trying to justify his substance use, trying to deny his substance use. Putting poison in his body TO SURVIVE, yes survive. Every day his body told him- SCREAMED at him in fact: “GET DOPE or DIE”. It is survival to them.
But now, his focus is back on learning his body’s other cues. Cues of revitalization. Healing. Repairing years of damage to cells. Brain and body. He has scars. He has a bullet hole. He has ingrained pathways in his brain that automatically go into the quickest way to feel better and the quickest way to obtain the resources in order to feel better. To slow the hell down, sit in class after class, face his demons, face the pain he has caused his family, and face losing his freedom, must be daunting. To refocus that energy on lifting weights, or smoking, is a dream to me.
I gladly provide any of these items for the same reason as I picked out his baby food when he was little. As mothers, we are nurturers. It doesn’t matter if they are grown, men. Everyone needs their “person”. More and more studies are showing that even having one person believe in them, makes recovery more sustainable. Plus, nothing is promised. No time, no future, no measure of success is promised, day to day, with anyone, but especially with substance use. If I can buy my grown son some protein bars, I will gladly do it. Anything to keep him learning, contemplating, hoping for a better life.
I made the drop-off time at exactly 7:22.30, which is the time my son wrote down- just to mess with them. Ever the jokester, I love having his humor back.
As I made the drop-off, I could see the group inside, sitting in their 7 pm meeting. Unbelievably, I could see my son in direct view of the window! I had vetted over 25 rehabs by the time this one was picked. It wasn’t the best, but it worked out being the one needed. I didn’t have any idea it would be within a few miles of my house, in fact straight up the street!
Call me a stalker if you’d like, but I am cherishing every second of this. I cried and prayed every day for 2 years for this. Every day, I worried about his life being taken. He just told me about a guy who hung himself at the sober living house he’s supposed to go to after this. People are so tender inside. We have zero clue of the demons they must face. What appears on the outside is not truly reflective of what’s on the inside. They struggle with what awaits them. Going from having nothing to rebuilding everything back up must be horrifying. My son has no house, car or job to go to. If I can be his “person” to help him maneuver that, I will gladly take on that role. I will cherish every second of my role as his Mother during this precious time.
I sat outside in my car after the drop off and yup, you guessed it- cried. But these were tears of joy. This was everything, I mean everything, I could have wanted to happen. Prayers answered, dreams come true.
I am truly living in the moment with zero care of what anyone thinks of what may be the right or wrong thing to do. I don’t see anyone else making any effort to save a life, and that’s fine; but what I’ve said through all of this journey, as for me:
I zipped up the last zipper on the thrift store duffel bag. There was still plenty of room left in it, despite filling it with 2 pants, 2 workout pants,6 shirts, 6 white tees, 8 socks, 8 underwear, and a bag of vitamins and hygiene products. The bag wasn’t new, but it represented a new adventure for my son. No, he wasn’t going away to summer camp or college. Well, sort of a college. He would be living in bunks with other men. Hopefully no partying late at night before exams. No, not jail either. Been there done that- 6 blasted times!! This time it’s rehab. That’s right. Bring on the jokes- haha. Years ago, my sons would have been the first to make a pun about rehab, but not anymore. Well -they still might. We are a dark-humored family.
Along with the duffel bag – goes it’s companion, the little carrier pigeon. I named him Float.
This little bag represented Hope. Hope that I carried around for 16 months. When I wrote about it 6 months ago, I didn’t know if I would ever deliver it. But Hope floats. From one location to another, hope abounds.
Most Moms in my area pack bags and buy suits for their missionaries. They know their exact sizes. I don’t. I don’t know what my son looks like these days, or how much he weighs. Yet, I have no shame that my smart, funny, handsome son is not going on that kind of mission. He’s on his own mission. And after 16 months, I was able to deliver Hope Floats to him. 💙
It’s a strange feeling, you know, heading into the cinder block jail to retrieve your own flesh and blood. Sure, you’re supposed to feel embarrassed or whatever society tells you that you should feel. But all I felt was excitement & hope. This wasn’t the Morgue, which I called on his last birthday to make sure he wasn’t there. This wasn’t a hospital where 2 of his friends had been the last few months, one of which didn’t leave alive.
So I was grateful for that And a bit nervous. After all, even though the judge authorized him to leave with only me and my husband at 5 am, he could have easily taken off the minute we got outside. It’s ‘addict’ behavior for sure. But my son knew his freedom was at stake. He told me a few days later: “I’m tired of running”.
So here we are, me with a big bag and a little bag and I had my son again. Safe and sound. We spent the next few hours driving north for 4 hours as the sun came up. Hearing, once again, his stories of jail, and his hope for the future. He wants to build tiny homes and other sustainable projects.
He had been given a spectacular plea deal. Unheard of really. For weeks he had agonized over what his final plea would be and when they finally changed it at the last minute, he was happy to sign it. He went from an almost guaranteed minimum 18 months prison time with 3 years probation to rehab completion then probation for 18 months! Absolutely incredible. I would like to say my ( & all the people I asked to pray) prayers worked. All I know is I was incredibly grateful because I knew prison would only increase his criminal mindset that he had developed the last 2 years while obtaining 6 felonies all for drug use.
Over the next few weeks he would call me with his “lists of what to bring”. I gladly provide these items because I don’t want him to have any possible reason to leave rehab, which is so common. I also have lived for over 2 years not knowing if that day would be the last time I talked to him. I still don’t know & I want every interaction to be heart-centered, recovery minded, & validating where he’s at emotionally.
In life, we are not promised one more day with our loved ones. In addiction that risk is raised probably 1000%. If I can still buy my 35 year old son socks when he is unable to, I will buy socks. The maze of addiction and the correctional system that goes along with it, is so convoluted and confusing and in most cases, heartbreaking beyond imagination.
Not many people understand my devotion to my son’s recovery.
And, so there’s not many people that I can chant victory to, even if it’s a premature victory.
As it is, My son has made HUGE leaps and bounds. He may have been legally pushed, but guess what? He stood up and took what the judge and court said and he is trying his hardest in a system that demands complete compliance from a confused and rushed brain.
My son is slowly starting to unravel the last few years and the effect it’s had on him and many others. Its going to be painful. He’s in denial in certain areas, but he’s getting his old self back too.
He will adamantly state that he’s the same yesterday and today and that he knew what he was doing, he just let it get out of hand and it was too much to fix. He’s facing huge challenges as he has nothing left to his name. That’s degrading and embarrassing to him. It is truly one thing that I believe kept him in active addiction. Shame and discouragement of how to even fix it all. The path of least resistance while in addiction and being dope sick is to continue the cycle. I wish I had more resources to help him, but ultimately he still has to do it himself. He has to peel off that sticky bandaid and face the rawness. But I can help.
I will continue to provide anything to aide in his recovery.
I will never stop supporting recovery with Love.
Life is too short to not have hope, to BE hope and to give h♥o♥p♥e♥
My little chihuahua watched with piercing concentration as I sat down to eat my breakfast one morning. Hope and anticipation filled his eyes as he wondered and thought about what delicious morsels I must be devouring without him. As I took a bite of my pancake, I dropped a piece for him. He sniffed it thoroughly and decided against tasting it. I continued on. The next bite was filled with syrup and melted butter, so I thought, maybe he would like a piece of that. I dropped a small piece of dripping sticky pancake knowing he would be both my broom and mop on the hardwood floor.
He sniffed it and nothing……
It wasn’t good enough.
His taste buds were not geared for sweets like humans and he wanted no part of this meatless society.
I stared at his pleading face, as I looked over at his dog bowl which was full of dry dog food. I felt a God-like superiority over him as I analyzed how to best handle this 9-pound varment.
“Dude”, I said. ” you have a bowl full of water, a bowl full of food, and a sticky warm piece of flour and sugar right under your nose. Why aren’t you happy?”
I felt the irony in this statement before I even finished my sentence. Is this what God says to us?
Why aren't we happy?
Many studies, articles, and books address this in-depth. Millions and billions of dollars have been made trying to get us to find happiness. After yearsof self-help books, seminars, and searching among various forms of religions; I can truly say that happiness is only found within a place that none of these things can buy. Although I’m still convinced that if I were financially independent and secure, I could pursue this study 24/7 and get back to you on that 😘; it appears that by watching those who have immense wealth, it still isn’t enough. They are not satisfied. They seek higher positions of power and prestige. The balance between being content, having enough, and placating the human ego or the drive for more seems to be a hidden secret.
I do believe happiness is fleeting.
Moments of bliss, followed by disappointment. What more can we expect really? Do we want to be in a heightened state of euphoria always? As a mother of a person who uses drugs problematically; I can tell you what he has told me. He said this state of euphoria is so powerful that it keeps people stuck in the cycle of trying to find that peak again and again.
Are we any different? Our desires may not be illegal or reach the height of divorce, bankruptcy, jail or heaven forbid- death; but as I stated in this post, we all are just trying to fill our needs.
Of course, we should be grateful for any and every ounce of blissness we get. But what about our problems? Is there a way to be grateful for those?
When my kids were little, I know I worried like crazy with each little thing that “seemed” like a variant off of the beaten path. Like my substance use disorder son’s ADD. How hard for him to follow instructions and learn in the traditional school setting. But when he got put in the world and could do his own thing, he thrived. Until he, himself, wanted more. This video warmed my heart on that subject.
That little boy who seemed so out of sync with “others” had a power and talent all his own. Don’t we all? Just because we don’t fit into someone else box. Or just because someone’s journey (or recovery) isn’t going as fast as we want, or the direction we want.
Today I’m in complete gratefulness. My son has been in rehab for one week. That might not seem like a big deal but considering it’s what I’ve prayed for-for 2 years, it’s a miracle! The other strange thing is for the 30+ rehabs I have searched and written to in the last 2 years, my son ended up in one just a few miles from my house. I didn’t plan that but ultimately I’m grateful. The first few nights I tossed and turned worried he would show up at my door having walked out, but now I’m just taking of day by day. When he went in, I tried to give him one of these blue bracelets that states:
One Day At A Time
But he said that was “too rehab-ey”. Oh, that boy. My rehab-resistant but trying- his- hardest boy. I’m grateful for any scraps of pancakes or any scraps of willingness I can get.
The cherry on top – (or syrup& butter) will be when my son finds his happiness and his bliss- without substances of course.
May we all find our peace and our fleeting moments of happiness ✨💝✨
Stretching out in the horizon. The path beyond seeing. The unknown just waiting for me to arrive to its party. Characters awaiting backstage to act out their best performance.
Then hiding behind the curtain to see my reaction. Everyone wants a show. The sparkly draw of drama, anger in its raw-est form. The ego on full display. Pain with lots of tears. The journalists love a pained heart. To bring out emotion from a torn soul makes for a great story that leaves people angry and quickly searching for who’s to blame. Then there’s the empty souls who are jealous of what passion is evoked out of this pain. How could someone care so much about anything? They shake their head in bewilderment, as they go back to their monotone life, not realizing that their bewilderment is their passion. They are playing out their part perfectly. The neutral, apathetic but always in control stagehand.
Everywhere I go I take a picture of roads.
It must mean I’m leaving all the stress and worry of the past behind.
It must mean that I have hope.
Hope in humanity. Hope in Love. Hope that someday I’ll get to a place where my hurt heart is settled on a comfy soft pillow and resting in bliss that today it will be alright. Today there won’t be any “what- ifs” or “what was’s”. That today I won’t ruminate on the past. Of loss, lost memories, people, places that tear at heartstrings.
Rarely have I taken a picture in my rear-view mirror. So why does my brain live there?
Why do I insist on dwelling on what I don’t have? As a mom of little toddlers, if I gave them a treat or a toy and they threw it on the ground in a fit of whiney anger, did I keep giving them more to to try to appease them?
Once or twice. But soon I realized that they would never be happy with anything until I fixed the real problem.
Are you hungry? Sad? Tired?
Until WE fix what is bothering us right now, we can never be at peace.
“But!” you plead, “it’s not ME! If only xyz would do xyz THEN I could be happy.” Logically we know we can’t control another. Logically we know we are being puppets to their story. We are acting out as the victim, then the villain, then the hero. We want to be the star of our own story. We want to wrap up the ending with “and they lived happily ever after”.
God how we want that!!! Our heart soars at the possibility of that happening. The human Spirit in action. The human spirit of survival. It’s what kept little babies alive when supposedly they were born and mom couldn’t take care of them they could follow the Linea nigra: a dark line stretching from the top of the pubic hair to the belly button, sometimes extending to the breast, so babies could find the milk filled nipples.
Might be an old wives tail but maybe the road in all my pictures represent a linea nigra. My lifeline to HOPE.
I once asked an elderly housekeeper in the hospital where I worked what it was that got her up everyday. She had loads of energy and never complained. She told me, “It’s the curiosity of what each new day bring”. Wow. How can I be that willing? That curious? How can I forge- forward without fear?
Right now I’m at the crest of the hill. The very farthest point you can see in the picture. I’m hopeful. Nervous curious. Wanting. Craving peace. That peace is different for everyone. It might be a problem solved. A Love resolved. A bill paid off. Or it might be coming to terms with what is.
Here’s my collection of What if’s. My roads to hope. Followed by Jack Canfield’s advice to keep being present as life unfolds.
Think of a car driving through the night. The headlights only go a hundred to two hundred feet forward, and you can make it all the way from California to New York driving through the dark, because all you have to see is the next two hundred feet. And that's how life tends to unfold before us. If we just trust that the next two hundred feet will unfold after that, and the next two hundred feet will unfold after that, your life will keep unfolding. And it will eventually get you to the destination of whatever it is you truly want, because you want it.
A few months ago, I wrote a story about a place in Texas that I visited called Natural Bridge Caverns. 61 years ago, Clara Wuest from New Braunfels, Texas stood on a spot on her farm and asked God to help her raise her 2 little boys alone after her husband died trying to milk a cactus, sort of. Little did she know what was underneath.
This story was similar to this newer cave that was discovered, recently in another country:
The reason these hidden treasures appeal to me- other than normal treasure hunting curiosity- is because one day we are just walking around with certain elephants on our shoulders, or the opposite: not a care in the world; & the next minute our world drops out, literally, from us.
“They” say – whoever “they” are- that we are all one paycheck away from homelessness or one argument away from divorce. I could apply this to substance use and say “one h..¥¥ or one bottle away from losing everything & ruining family cohesiveness and family functions, but my sarcasm isn’t even funny today. So ignore that comment.
Yesterday was my son’s 35th birthday. For one year, I have prayed he would make it to 35. I even made all my passwords reflect that hope. So imagine that I woke up to his continued “missing in action” in Las Vegas of all places, and had the feeling to call the Clark county morg.
Yup, that’s where we are. I’ve called Emergency Rooms once before, and the booking report is on my home screen, but never this. As the answering service paged the mortician on call, I find myself wondering like Brandon Novak states repeatedly:
“How did we get here?
Luckily the very nice mortician, who must receive worried mom calls alot; informed me there was no John Doe’s in the last 24 hrs.
This debilitating fear.
Addiction loves to shroud us in it’s victimhood and make us go dark & despondent with brooding thoughts of death and destruction. I mean, we really don’t even need the thoughts- we can SEE the devastation with our own eyes in our precious children.
But we don’t have to stay there.
So how do we turn this fear into hope or at least some sense of inner peace?
A recovered addict had this to say about us Moms:
Shared with permission
Disclaimer: I do not agree with the word enabling as it has negative, guilt-inducing connotations AND it means different things in different situations, so I cut out the middle part….
“I see so many mothers in this group with broken hearts and it honestly kills me. I was in active addiction for 15+ years and have been in recovery for 8+ years. One of my biggest regrets, through it all, was the heartache I caused my parents and my daughter. My brother still struggles with addiction today and I wish I could help him! I wish I could bottle up how good it feels to be in recovery and pass it on to every struggling addict. Recovery can only be received by a person that is ready. No amount of begging, screaming, talking, crying will ever work unless they are doing it for themselves. We can place our loved ones into treatment by court order or they can be placed there as part of their sentencing, but until they want it to stick, it will not………….. Love yourself as much as possible. Live and enjoy the life that you have left. You are killing yourselves for ones who will not save themselves. Let your children know you love them and when they are ready for treatment, you will be there. This is a battle only an addict can win. You can be a part of their addiction or their recovery, but not both. Also, We DO recover!! It takes some longer than others.
My prayers are with you all and if I could be of any assistance, please let me know”.❤️- Tamika Watts
I want to highlight the take care of yourself part.Hold onto hope and live in your peace, despite the chaos around you. Just like the discovery of the ice caves in my story, you never know when that moment will come that your life will be changed. You could be standing over a GOLD MINE while worrying about how the ground looks or looking at all the weeds. They say complaining brings about more of what we don’t want and gratitude brings about more of what we do want. The challenge is trying to find that gratitude in the middle of dire circumstances.
Where is my hidden cave of gems? Is it gratitude waiting in the darkness for me to discover it? Am I losing diamonds because I see too many stones? Am I unable to see the blessings of strength & perseverance because the prize isn’t in front of me, all shiny and being worshipped?
I’m in darkness regarding my son’s illness.
I don’t know the outcome, yet as of right now – there’s hope because I haven’t been told otherwise. If I can get out of my head & not jump to catastrophe thinking, I might have some moments of peace for my gratitude to expand.
In our enthusiasm to celebrate children (a good thing), we are sometimes tempted to overlook the key Christian doctrine of original sin. A child can be raised by godly parents, yet still choose to live an ungodly life:
A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke. —Proverbs 13:1
Some sons can bring great honor to their home and their parents; others choose to bring shame:
He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son. —Proverbs 10:5
Some children will bring anguish rather than joy:
A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother. —Proverbs 15:20
At times children can even steal from their parents (Proverbs 28:24) or drive their mother from her own house (Proverbs 19:26). In this regard, the Bible is more honest than many contemporary Christians. In the Old Testament, God gives us accounts of children who do all sorts of heinous acts.
Abimelech, the son of Gideon, provides one such example. We don’t know a lot about Gideon and his parenting style, but we do know that God’s hand was with Gideon as He used him to free Israel from the control of the Midianites. After Gideon’s great exploits, the people tried to make Gideon king:
Rule over us — you, your son and your grandson – because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian. —Judges 8:22
Gideon refused, demonstrating a noble and humble character:
I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you. — Judges 8:23
Gideon lived a post-military life of blessing and had many children. After Gideon’s death, one of his sons, Abimelech, burned with ambition to rule the nation. Desperate to establish himself as ruler and remove all pretenders, Abimelech murdered all his brothers, except for one. By the providential judgment of God, Abimelech died when a woman dropped a millstone on his head. The Bible tells us that God lay behind this attack:
Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelech had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers. —Judges 9:56
God apparently didn’t have a problem considering this child a curse. In His providential plan, He sought the death of this wickedly ambitious son.
Sometimes a wayward son or daughter results from a poor upbringing; the parents may indeed have to assume some of the blame (Proverbs 29:15). But a child can receive many spiritual advantages and still choose, with the freedom God gives him, to become a wayward son. Jesus loved Judas as a son, yet the betrayer still opted to turn against Him. Adam and Eve had a godly son (Abel) and a murderous son (Cain). Was their parenting the only factor leading Abel to offer worthy sacrifices and Cain to turn into a selfish, jealous, and bloodthirsty sibling?
President John Adams had one son —John Quincy — who followed him into the presidency and enjoyed a prosperous career. Two other sons had shameful lifestyles. Charles Adams became an alcoholic – his mother described him as a “poor, unhappy, wretched man.” One relative described Thomas Adams as “one of the most unpleasant characters in this world… a brute in manners and a bully to his family.” John and Abigail raised one remarkable son and two disgraceful ones. Was their parenting the only factor that determined each boy’s character?
I suspect I’ve probably raised more than a few eyebrows by now. I can even imagine some condemnations: “How dare you suggest children aren’t a blessing? I bet you also favor abortion, don’t you?”
No, I definitely do not. I am ardently, passionately, and unequivocally pro-life. But I’ve also had enough life experience to know that parenting – even sacred parenting – comes with no guarantees, and I grieve for the good, decent, and godly parents who get treated like pariahs because a kid of theirs goes bad. They weren’t “perfect” parents, of course, and in that sense they may share some of the blame. But tell me – just who is a perfect parent?
Show me one father or one mother who didn’t, at times, spoil their child, just a little. Who didn’t, out of fear or weariness or ignorance or overcommitment, fail to confront something that needed to be faced, at least one time? I’ll let that parent cast the first stone.
Some of us got away with it; some of us didn’t. In my travels I’ve met far too many godly parents who live with a gaping wound. Not only do they face the pain of watching their deeply loved child self- destruct, but they also live with a judgment that the child’s abhorrent way of life stems from their failure as parents.
Godly children are a tremendous blessing; this is a precious biblical truth. But Scripture is honest, and we should be as well. Wayward children can, at the very least, feel like a fierce curse.
How sobering to face the vulnerability that someone could make our lives absolutely miserable – and yet we would lay down our lives on his or her behalf without thinking about it. Just such an amazing spiritual transformation takes place in the journey of parenting. Once again, Paul models our call to this ministry when he writes,
Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? —2 Corinthians 11:29
For many of us, however, the difficulty of parenting comes not in facing betrayal but in enduring a very tiring occupation. Today’s Christian usually prays for relief, for comfort, and for healing – but that’s not always what Scripture teaches us to do.
For example, the apostle Paul prayed that the Colossians would be…
…strengthened with all power according to [God’s] glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience. —Colossians 1:11
Instead of immediately asking for their deliverance, Paul prayed that the believers in Colosse would grow in maturity. If you think about it, how do we grow in endurance and patience? Only one path exists, which we’ve already mentioned: to have both our endurance and patience sorely tried, even past the breaking point, until we learn to rest in God’s “glorious might.” You’ll never develop your biceps if you lift just one-pound weights; you have to stress the muscle beyond its normal routine. The same principle holds true spiritually. If God gives us situations we already have the strength to handle, we won’t have to grow in order to deal with them.
The crux of the issue is this: Our first and natural inclination in any trial is to pray for God to remove the difficulty. But God’s first priority is often to strengthen us in the midst of the difficulty rather than to take us out of the difficulty. That’s because He can see the treasure that lies at the end of the trail.
Consider how many times you have broken your promises once offered fervently and earnestly to God. Consider on how many occasions you have said or thought or even done vile things in full sight of a holy and perfect God. Consider God’s eagerness to forgive you, the persistence of His grace, the limitless supply of His understanding and patience and mercy —all offered without condition on your behalf.
Without difficult children, we might take this patience and mercy and forgiveness for granted. That’s where difficult children become a rare gift – they show us a side of God we might otherwise miss.
Parenting may not be an easy journey, but in this it is truly a sacred one.
Normally on days like this, I have many triggers regarding my son and ripple effect his addiction has caused in changing the dynamics of our family.
But today is different.
Today, I choose faith. Not HOPE, but pure faith. I’m not dissing hope. I’ve relied on it for months, year’s even. There’s nothing wrong with hope. Hope that things will get better, is what keeps people from sinking into an abyss of depression at times.
I’m going to get very vulnerable here. When or ‘because‘ hope hasn’t seemed to give me relief lately; I’ve been begging and bargaining with God to take my life in exchange for my son’s complete recovery AND my family to be healed especially for my son’s relationship with his kids to be healed.
(I know, I’m always trying to squeeze in an extra wish, but I figured I could get a 3 for 1 since they are all inter-related)
I also know this sounds very extreme. Before you suggest I go to a meeting and do self- care, thank you for the suggestion. It is what it is, I come to this place with much love and clarity have done a lot of self work. I’m not very well versed spiritually, or even strong in my faith but I believe in asking for help.
So, today I asked a prophetic dreams group that’s run by a lady I met; what prayers I should be chanting to facilitate my desire to fruition.
If this STILL sounds too weirded out, sorry. Desperate times call for desperate measures. My son is in jail on for his longest time ever- 6 weeks. As stated in my previous whiningposts, its been a roller coaster ride. And not the new flashy, sexy roller coaster, but the old wooden, creaky, break-down-at-any moment roller coaster (where they would casually say: “You knew the risk” if you were to get hurt).
So putting my question to a group of potentially spiritually-in-tune people was a desperate measure also. The answers I received, however, changed my perspective. This is a summation of what they said:
STOP trying to make deals with GOD! STOP immediately because deals are only made with the devil. God ONLY wants Love & faith from you that he already sent his son to die for all our sins.
You can’t pay or bargain with God!
If you ask for healing you have to believe you have it, whether you see it yet or not, that’s the true test, do not confess what “is wrong with them” instead speak that they are healed.
Thank God that they are healed by his stripes, that he bore their sickness, thank him OUT LOUD for each promise, it could take a few months or sooner but stick with it everyday, do not let other people confess so called diagnosis over your loved ones in distress, either.
I start now.
I start calling my son into healing. I’m through letting him slide back into an excuse to blame the devil or some other entity. Evil can be fought. And if he can’t see it or say it, I will be his voice. He still has to be the one to do the work and to first DECIDE to do the work. So through the jail message system I sent my first born incarcerated son this message of not only HOPE but of FAITH.
Happy Fathers Day Son. You WILL be an influence on your kids' lives again. They WILL love you again. There will be no confusion or shame because you will teach them about things that take dads & moms away.
These 3 years do NOT take away all you have done before then. Don't believe the shame mongerers. You have just been trying to survive yourself & in that regard you did amazing! You were an excellent provider & u were a loving fun dad. You can be again. 3 yrs is nothing out of a 60-70 year life.
You are loved.
I love you son, and soon, when you see the understanding in your little kids' eyes & feel their forgiveness, it will ALL be worth it. Enjoy your day the best you can.
HḀṖṖẏ ḟḀṮḧḕṙṠ ḊḀẏ
To those fathers everywhere who are the wonderful hallmark version, to those who are stuck in their own struggle of survival and pain- and all those in between.
You are seen, heard and loved.
Your potential is not measured by your surroundings in the moment, but by the quiet moments of your heart. Where you ache deeply for your family and kids. Where your shame has pushed you into places and spaces that smothered you into numbness.
Whatever it is that pushed you into isolation, whether it was a society who said you wasn’t worthy of being amongst them; or your own spiral into self- defeat; you can come back.
Anytime, come back.
You’re needed. You’re wanted.
It might not seem like it. We might be scared and worried at first, but it’s only because we care. We have been conditioned to fear the worst. So have you. That’s why it horrifies you to think of being that person you were before. After all – those were the days you needed to escape from. The stress and pressure of expectations and disappointment were off the charts some days.
What if you fail again? Oh but my son, what if you don’t? What if the last half or more of your life is filled with unbelievable joy? What if your kids and grandkids are gathered around you to hear your war stories? Not real war, but your days of the drug war. You won’t glamorize it, like alcohol is. You will tell the cold hard truth. You will tell those precious souls that evil starts small. With a thought. A nudge. A risk. A desire for something more. You will tell them not to be afraid or embarrassed to admit their concerns. If they are in over their head, it’s the right thing to do to seek help.