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Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

Remember when your children were young and were invited to birthday parties? We’d go shopping together and selectkidsbirthday a fun gift for them to take. After several years I noticed my children began coming home from those parties with gifts, too. A prize they won in a game or a party favor; a thank you for coming.
Our children are all grown up now, but did you know they’ve been invited to another party? By God. Yep. And it’s the ultimate gift exchange. He invites them to bring their sins and He’ll give them His Son. What an offer! What an exchange! What a prize!
Lord, we pray our children will accept Your amazing invitation. Convince them it’s really true – that You love them enough to offer Your one and only son.
Their worst for Your best.
Their dirt for Your cleansing.
Their shame for Your forgiveness.
Their bondage for Your freedom.
Their emptiness for Your purpose.
It sounds too good to be true.
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No more guilt.
No more loneliness.
No more searching for a place to belong or for someone to really love them for who they are.
No more aimless wandering.
No more soul-suffering.I realize it sounds simplistic, but Jesus really is the answer and the solution for their lives. He’s the best gift ever – for them and for you.
062O Father, may today be the day our children respond to your invitation. Refute Satan’s lies that this offer is only for certain people and not for them. For those who are good enough, not for those who’ve fallen and failed. Help them believe Your offer still stands even though they’ve turned it down time after time, year after year.
You’re just as eager today as you were when You first asked them to come. Your arms are stretched out wide in an open welcome. How You long for them to be made whole, to simply say, “yes”. Come to the party and receive the ultimate gift, my child!
I pray with you for this prayer to be answered soon. While you wait, may your hope remain strong and please don’t neglect yourself. You are of great value and worth to your heavenly Father. He wants you to live in joy and peace, knowing He’s working where you cannot. Rest fully in Christ who knows what you will face today and in every tomorrow. Breathe in his fragrance; soak in his love. He is your sufficiency in all things. Amen.
This book will encourage you: Will Your Prodigal Come Home? by Jeff Lucas.
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freedom2How can parents whose children are hurting and in bondage from drug or alcohol abuse, self-injury of all kinds (eating disorders, cutting, burning), pornography, same-sex attraction issues, gambling , suicide attempts, and mental illness find freedom?

What do these parents need to be free from?

They need to be free from every destructive emotion associated with their child that’s destroying their well-being, robbing them of their sanity: Fear, anxiety, worry, guilt, shame, despair, depression, anger, resentment, grief and more.

Personally, finding my freedom didn’t come from doing more, lecturing more, helping more, reading more (books or the Bible  – although reading did help and I do this all the time), or trying to fix my daughter more.

It wasn’t from worrying more, yelling more, crying more, or talking to a counselor more. Although talking to a counselor did help and I did need to express  my feelings as part of my grieving journey, but without the yelling or lecturing.

My freedom came from something else.  (more…)

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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. (more…)

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loveAs a parent whose heart has been broken by their son or daughter it’s easy to end up in emotional bondage. I discovered I could be set free through the power of forgiveness.

How do you define “forgiveness”? Do we have to feel forgiving in order to offer it to our child? Do they need to deserve it or ask for it first?

Forgiveness is not just for the person who needs forgiving. It’s also for us, the “forgiver”.

Forgiveness doesn’t make the other person right, it makes you free. (Al-Anon)

Forgiveness isn’t condoning or excusing the actions or behaviors of others. It’s releasing that person to their Maker to let him deal with them, so that we can be set free. For parents whose children are abusing alcohol or drugs, involved in a same-sex relationship, in jail or prison, engaged in self harm, involved with pornography, have had a child out of wed-lock, and the list goes on and on, forgiveness is part of the process of gaining back their lives.

Some are not likely to even know they need forgiving, or remember the offense. Therefore one reason to forgive is for our own sake and for our own health. “If we hold on to our anger, we stop growing and our souls begin to shrivel.”  – M. Scott Peck

Our child may have made decisions and choices that inflicted deep wounds in our hearts and cost us a lot: Loss of health, sleep, time at work, finances spent trying to help them or ourselves; loss of or damaged relationships – with them, our spouse, other children, other family members and even friends; loss of our mental and emotional well-being. Our faith can be weakened or we may even walk away from our faith in disappointment and confusion. There is a way to be free. It’s found in the four steps below.

We need to:

1)       Forgive our child – for hurting us. We may feel very angry and resentful over how we’ve been treated. We don’t trust them, can’t believe them, don’t even know them anymore. We also feel angry at what they’re doing to themselves. We must forgive even if they don’t ask us to. Jesus said, “forgive and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).

2)       Forgive ourselves – for not being the perfect parent. Oh wait, there isn’t one. Even though we did our best, we still tend to feel a lot of guilt over any part we may have played. If we don’t forgive ourselves we’ll end up living under the weight of guilt, blame, shame and a host of other feelings that God never intended. He gave our children a free will to make their own choices. Don’t forget what happened in the Garden of Eden to the only Perfect Parent (Genesis 2).

3)       Forgive others – for hurting our child. This includes those who influenced them negatively, encouraged their destructive choices, took advantage of them, or didn’t help them when they could have.

               4)       Forgive God – reconciling his power and Sovereignty with free-will; for allowing our child to go astray; for not answering our prayers to keep this from happening or protecting them. He doesn’t need to be forgiven. He didn’t do anything to them. In reality,WE need to be forgiven if we’ve begun to blame him, allowing resentment to build up in our hearts – maybe without even realizing it.

Forgiveness. We need to offer it. If we don’t, it will only lead to bitterness. It’s the only way to lance our wounds before they begin to fester.

Jesus is my role model. I forgive out of obedience to him because he forgave me.

He is the How and the Why of forgiving.

It’s a long, slow process, but if you choose to do it, you can be set free.

This is a great Scripture verse on forgiveness:

“Be kind and compassionate to each other, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  (Ephesians 4:32)

Dear God,

Help us forgive because of your example. Holding onto anger, resentment, guilt and bitterness are wearing us out. On our own we can’t do this, but we’re willing, so please show us how.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

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222When I was in so much pain from my 19-year-old daughter’s destructive behaviors,  I thought I couldn’t bear it one more day. Death would have been easier — hers or mine.  Being the mom of  a child who was on the fast track to killing herself with alcohol, drugs and cutting (including other dangerous behaviors) I was overwhelmed with guilt and shame. Then I attended a conference for hurting parents where I heard three wonderful statements that would change my perspective and help me cope.  They are known as ” The 3 C’s”  from Al Anon:

1)  You didn’t Cause it! It’s NOT your fault – unless you encouraged your child or aided them in their self-destruction.

2)  You can’t Change it!  Stop trying – you’ll just make yourself crazy and them, too. They don’t want to change – not yet.

3)  You can’t Cure it!  You can’t fix them. They have to want to get better. You can’t force it on them.

When I heard this it was like I had just put my feet in a cool mountain stream on an oppressively hot summer day.  It was too good to be true and so freeing. I have repeated the 3 C’s to myself often in the past 8 years. They’ve helped me keep my feet on solid ground when overwhelming emotions tried to creep back in and pull me down.

They address the lies we parents tend to believe. I thought my daughter’s problems were somehow my fault – if I was a better parent this would never have happened; I should have done this or that – hog wash, as we say in the south. No parent is perfect. Our children have a free will to make their own choices. And if they’re struggling with mental illness, it’s still not our fault. Even if it is an inherited problem, we never set out to ruin their life. We need not accept all the blame. That won’t help them or us.

I also thought I could change her and make all her problems go away. I thought I had some control over her life. Then I realized that control is an illusion. We have none (of course we do have some if they’re under eighteen). We have to accept that we aren’t that powerful. We can’t change, fix or cure our children any more than we can change a daisy into a rose, or an apple into an orange. It’s not possible.

Once you begin to believe these three things are true, you’ll begin to relax and let go of guilty feelings. I did. Now I accept the fact that I’m not in control, but I believe I know Who is and it’s God. He has complete control over everyone an everything, therefore, I can trust Him with my daughter’s life. I can rest in His love for her and find the peace I was lacking.

Go to al-anon.alateen.org for more helpful information from this world-wide organization. Their principles can help with any problem you have no control over, not just someone’s alcohol problem. When you think about it the only thing we do have any control over is ourselves!

Heavenly Father, help us stop believing lies that only add to our feelings of guilt and shame. Instead, help us believe the truth that while we are powerless to change them or cure them, You can. Help us trust you to work in our child’s life where we cannot. Amen.

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Are you a brokenhearted parent due to your son or daughter’s behaviors? Is it sapping the life out of you?waiting1

Do you think it’s because of something you did? Do you feel guilty, as though it was somehow your fault?

Are you so embarrassed and ashamed that you can’t tell anyone? You won’t reach out for help?

Do you keep helping, giving money and rescuing from consequences because you have the need to protect them from pain?

Has fear about the what-ifs and unknowns consumed you?

Are you so overcome with anger and resentment that it’s making you sick, giving you an ulcer or heart palpitations?

If you can say yes to any of these questions, then I have two words for you:  (more…)

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I find great comfort and hope from the Bible for life’s trials and heartaches. I have had plenty of them. A major source of heartache has been my now twenty-six year old daughter who has struggled with addictions, depression and self harm for over eight years.

The first four books of the New Testament are full of accounts of Jesus caring for people who were suffering. Compassion oozed from him. Healing power was in his words. This is one of those stories.

10 …. Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said to her, “Woman, you are set free….” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. (Luke 13:10-13 NIV)

Many of our children have suffered for a long time, too.  An addiction, mental illness, self harm, an eating disorder, pornography or some other destructive behavior is crippling them.  Things look hopeless. (more…)

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