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tears - artwork by Jonty HurwitzEaster’s coming. Holidays can be so hard when your child (or any loved one) is causing you heartache and pain. When they’re struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs,  are incarcerated, engaging in self-injury, involved with pornography, gambling or video-gaming, have a mental health issue, or a same-sex identity issue, it changes everything. When a holiday comes you hurt more.

Memories from when they were young and innocent flood your mind.

You can’t help but remember your adorable little girl all dressed up in her Easter clothes. Her beautiful smile would catch your breath. You can still see your precious four-year-old son who was so cute in his suit and tie. His impish smile could melt your heart.

What fun you had surprising them with baskets of treats. Happy memories of Easter egg hunts now only bring tears and pain. It reminds you of what’s been lost. How could you ever forget?

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Do you have a son or daughter who has been given the mental health diagnosis of bipolar?  Was it hard for you to believe it could be true? Didsnow flowers you wonder what this would mean for their future? Have you struggled to understand? Has it been difficult to figure out how to help? It was for me.

I want to tell you about a book that was written just for young adults to help them accept their diagnosis and learn how to deal with it. I wish it had been written ten years ago when we began this journey with our daughter.

The book is Facing Bipolar: the young adult’s guide to dealing with bipolar disorder by Russ Federman, Ph.D. and J. Anderson Thomson, Jr., MD. A unique fact about these authors is that they have been involved in counseling and psychological services on college campuses for over thirty years. Out of their experiences they developed a burden that birthed this book. Continue Reading »

Today we are pleased to share the writings of a mom who has been on a difficult parenting journey like many of us. Her son is a recovering drug addict. She has become a dear friend of Dena’s who she enjoys spending time with at writer’s conferences. From time to time we will feature guest bloggers. Today’s is Sharron Cosby. We shared one of her blogs before. We think you will enjoy her insights again today. If you’d like to read her previous post it was on January 11, 2013, A Parent’s Sugar-Free Challenge.

Hope. This word is tossed around in every day conversations like ping-pong balls on a tournament table. Perhaps you’ve said something like:hook

I hope I get that new job.
Man, I hope I win the lottery. I could sure use the money!
I sure do hope I get a new car. I hate my old clunker.
I hope the weather’s good this weekend since we’re going to the beach.

As believers and followers of Christ, where do we place our hope and trust when troubles and temptations come our way? Continue Reading »

Have you struggled to believe your child would actually lie to you? Were you like me, always surprised when you caught your son in a lie? When you discovered your daughter’s dishonesty did it shock you? I never wanted to believe mine would lie to me. Like most parents, I wanted to believe the best, until she proved otherwise. And it hurt every time I caught her in a lie. It felt like a knife in the heart.

listening3Is there a way to tell if you’re being lied to? What can you look for? Here is a list of eight things:

1. Repeating your question. When asked, “What did you do at Jimmy’s house today?” If they repeat it, “What did I do at Jimmy’s house today?” then it’s a signal they’re stalling while they’re try to come up with an answer.

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Are you a parent in pain? Have the destructive choices and behaviors of your son or daughter left you an emotional wreck? Is their struggle support groupwith mental illness pushing you to the edge? Do you isolate because you don’t want to “lose it” in public? We’ve been there. We get it.

If you said yes to any of these questions, then I have a word of hope for you. After my eighteen-year-old daughter left home to pursue a life of substance abuse and self-injury, I fell headlong in a pit so dark and deep I wanted to die. I just wanted to escape the excruciating pain.

I found a way out of that pit of despair. You can get out, too.

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I can easily get caught up in feelings of guilt over my parenting. I feel guilty over what I did and should not have done. I feel guilty over what I did not do and should have done. I feel guilty over the quality and quantity of the good I did do. Was it enough? IF ONLY I had . . .

Then I found a song that helped me. Continue Reading »

Parents love their sons and daughters regardless of their behavior. From the day they were born we were smitten. As we watched them grow up our love for them grew stronger and stronger. Then things began to change. They began to rebel and disobey. We caught them in lies. We had to discipline and enforce boundaries. Then the day came when, to our sadness, we found ourselves being the bad guy, the enemy, insteadattitude of their hero. Sigh.

Sometimes we don’t like the person they’ve become. Rude, selfish, disrespectful, and even hateful, alcohol and drugs have changed them. Depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses changed them. Time in jail or prison changed them. Trauma changed them.

Before we know it they’re no longer the person we once knew. The sweet, innocent son or daughter we  raised and had so many special wonderful memories with – where did they go? What happened to them? They’ve hurt us so many times. It’s baffling. Mystifying. It breaks out hearts.

They’re still our children. Underneath it all, they’re is still in there – somewhere.

What can make the difference in their lives? What is the key that can unlock the door to their hearts? Love. Unfailing, unconditional love. Ours and God’s.

No one deserves this. But it’s love that can make the difference. Love that never fails no matter what they’ve done. Love that can’t fail. It’s not possible for it to wear out, give out, or fizzle out. Impossible for it to come to an end – ever. It will never cease to exist. No way, no how!

This reminds me of the song, Great is Thy Faithfulness:

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning, new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness, O Lord.

Great is thy faithfulness, O Lord.  Great is thy faithfulness.”

The Bible talks a lot about this kind of love. These two verses say it well:

Lamentations 3:21-23  “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope; because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Psalm 119:76a  “May your unfailing love be my comfort . . .”

Love is the KeyBecause God’s love never fails, there is always hope and comfort for anyone. Love is the key to their hearts.

Heavenly Father, put this kind of love in our hearts for our children when we don’t like who they’ve become. Thank you for how you love them passionately and perfectly. May this love be the key to lasting change. May it give them hope that they can have a new beginning  and that life is worth living, worth fighting for.

Amen.

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