I really like the caption under this photo. I think it should be the motto of every parent of a challenging, troubled child. If your son or daughter is abusing drugs or alcohol, smoking cigarettes, cutting themselves, suffers with a mental illness, having sex, is suicidal, has an eating disorder, has a same sex attraction or is in trouble with the law – there is nothing you can do to change them if they don’t want to change. You are powerless.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t try, especially if they are under eighteen. Of course you want to do everything in your power to help – counseling, an evaluation by a doctor or psychiatrist, rehab or treatment – but ultimately, they must decide they’re ready to change – to begin a new life. Until then, it’s a 50/50 proposition. Sometimes after they’re participating in a program they may change their mind, but sometimes not. You just never know.
I tried this with my daughter. I was sure that if we took her to a counselor, got her evaluated by a psychiatrist, started her on medication if needed, put her in a residential rehab program, brought the right people around her, etc. then she would be fixed.
I was wrong. I learned the hard way that I had no control. I couldn’t change her as hard as I tried. I was powerless. This feeling of utter helplessness was horrible. Seeing her destroy herself was pure torture. If you’re in this kind of situation then you know the gut-wrenching pain I’m talking about. There were many days I wondered if she would survive.
I had to learn to let go and wait. I’m sure our efforts did some good, but at the time, they were a deposit she could go back to and draw on in the future when she was ready. But until she was sick and tired of being sick and tired; until she wanted to be well no matter what it would take – wanted it for herself and not to please me or her dad or anyone else, she wasn’t ready. She had to want to live and only God could make that happen.
When the phrase “I can’t. God can. I think I’ll let him.” describes your attitude, then you can find some measure of peace in any situation, especially with your children. This is letting go and letting God. It’s taking our hands off and trusting Him to be the “hands on” in their lives, doing what we cannot.
Our problem may be big, but God is bigger.
We have no power to change our child, but God is all-powerful.
We don’t know what to do, but God knows.
We can’t do anything to rescue them, but God can.
He can even move mountains if that’s what it will take.
Keep giving your child to God, stay out of the way, and let Him work.
This Bible verse is what we need: “Have no anxiety about anything . . . bring your requests to God
and the peace of God will keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)