Posts Tagged ‘joy’

Are you the parent who can relate to one of these situations? Your son is in jail with an unknown outcome looming in the future.love Your daughter is fresh out of rehab, not the first time, living in your home again. They have a gambling problem that’s slowly destroying their life; they’re in denial that they drink too much, or abuse their prescription meds; they refuse treatment for a brain disorder; they’ve rejected you and want nothing to do with you because of a position you took regarding their choice of lifestyle; they have a same-sex partner; or they’re undergoing medical treatment to become transgender. How can you have joy at Christmas?

Maybe by letting go of expectations about what you have no control over will help. If you can lower what you expect from your child, it can do wonders. Otherwise, frustrations build up. You become hurt and angry. Discussing this with other parents I’ve realized we need to distinguish the difference between goals and desires. This is lead to joy – even during the holidays. (more…)


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*Welcome today’s guest blogger, Betsy Bradshaw. I believe you will find much encouragement and hope as she shares her story with honesty and openness. She’s learned some valuable lessons and even found  joy on the journey.

This has not been an easy journey for me these past few years. Our older son was making poor choices where we were serving as missionaries winding pathoverseas, so we returned to the U.S. a year early for our furlough, to get him some counseling. When he continued abusing substances, we thought we might need to take him to live in a homeless shelter when he turned eighteen.

My husband and I decided that if he hadn’t stopped his substance abuse by his birthday, we wouldn’t allow him to live at home anymore.

But God answered our prayers, and today he is doing much better. It hasn’t been easy, though. He’s been through two rehab programs and three counselors. Except for two small slips, he’s been clean for almost a year.

Has he come to the Lord? No, not yet. (more…)

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I’ve been thinking about this all week. What do hurting parents and Martin Luther King have in common? I’m referring to parents whose children are making destructive, even life-threatening, choices and are facing difficult circumstances because of mental illness. The famous line in King’s speech tells letting go with starsthe answer, “I have a dream.”

Dreams. What dreams did you have for your troubled child?  Maybe they were a lot like mine.

  • To have a close, loving relationship.
  • To have their respect and listen to your advice.
  • To enjoy them and their friends while growing up.
  • To graduate from high school, then graduate from college.
  • To use their talents and abilities  to the fullest potential.
  • To get married to someone you feel good about, then have grandchildren.
  • To be a responsible, productive adult.
  • To enjoy a healthy, meaningful relationship with each other as adults.
  • To embrace your faith as their own and live lives of integrity. This would be icing on your dream-cake.

Does it still hurt to remember? Have you tried to forget – to let it all go? Do you still struggle with a nagging ache in your stomach, a longing for what could have been? Today I’ve found a lot of peace and acceptance with the disappointments, but sometimes I still feel this way.

It’s painful to watch dreams die.

What do you do with all that disappointment and regret?

How do you make peace with what you have no control over?

How do you make sense out of shattered dreams?

Here’s what I did. I remembered these things:

1. God is with me. I do not suffer alone. He’ll never leave me.

2. God understands and hurts with me.

3. He still has dreams for my child – it’s never too late. He’ll never stop seeking them.

4. God can use my pain to help me discover a deeper desire for Him.

Larry Crabb, in his book Shattered Dreams, says this: “Pain is a tragedy. But it’s never only a tragedy. For the Christian, it’s always a necessary mile on the long journey to joy.” (pg.4)

Joy? When dreams shatter we can find joy if we remember these four things. We can choose to let suffering drive us to the heart of God. And there we will find our deepest satisfaction.

In Him.

May He, the One True God, bring us to really believe that intimately knowing Him can bring more pleasure than seeing our children straighten out.

Will you choose to have an encounter with God in your pain? Bring Him your shattered dreams and see if He will become your Sovereign joy.

Here are two Scripture verses for your encouragement:

“I will never stop doing good to them . . . I will rejoice in doing them good.”  (Jeremiah 32:40-41)

Even though everything looks bad, “. . . yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength . . .”  (Habakkuk 3:17-18) English Standard Version

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Parents whose children are breaking their hearts often feel like their pain defines them. Do you ever wonder “what kind of book would the storysad woman in santa hat of your life be? You might think of it as a tragedy, but in reality, your life is a love story, being written by the hand of God.   While some chapters will be more difficult than others, visible in every scene, on every page, is the love of God.

The hurts in your life do not define you. God’s love for you determines the course and shape of your life and defines who you are today and who you are becoming…it is also your cushion from the blows life invariably brings.”  (The One Year Book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie p.65)

Did you need to be reminded of this today? It’s also true for our children. Who or what is setting the course or shape of our lives? Who or what defines you? What cushions you from the blows of life? (more…)

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The holiday season can be a very difficult time for parents whose sons and daughters are engaging in destructive, unwise behaviors or suffer rockwellwith a mental illness. In my last blog I mentioned three questions to help you prepare for this time of year. We wish for the Norman Rockwell experience, but our experience often falls far short. Here are two more questions to consider that I believe will help lessen your hurt and disappointment if things don’t turn out as you hoped. I’ve been there and I know how hard it can be. To review, here are questions one through three from my last blog posted on November 11th.

1) Adjust or lower your expectations. What are some expectations you have of your child for this holiday season?

2) Consider doing things differently. Relevant to the coming holidays, what are some traditions that are special to you?

3)  Focus on others. Look for a way to help someone else who has a need, is hurting or lonely.

Now for the next two questions:

            4) How will you strengthen yourself ?

Listen to your favorite music, especially praise and worship. Read something inspirational every day; spend time in prayer and meditation, as you seek God’s help; hold onto His promises, reminding yourself of Truth. Go to a support group – I like Al Anon. It reminds me I’m not alone. Keep taking one day at a time and be thankful for the little things. Start a gratitude list. Add to it daily. If you can, take a nap to refresh yourself. Get some exercise. These things will relax and rejuvenate you!

5) What are your goals for this holiday season?
Decide what they are and focus on them. Remind yourself of them daily. Make notes to yourself and post them as a reminder. Leading up to Thanksgiving I focus on what I’m grateful for. After that I focus on the meaning of the birth of Christ. I reflect on God’s goodness and faithfulness. I seek ways to show his love to others.

My child is not the whole sum of my life. Therefore, I can be joyful and give energy to what’s really important to me during the holiday season The choice is up to me. I can be intentional and not let the situation with my child ruin my ability to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas. The holidays may by difficult, but they can still be special.

I encourage you to think ahead, prepare yourself and focus on others. If you do, you can lower your stress level and even enjoy the coming holiday season.

These Bible verses help me:

“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”  (Philippians 2:4)

“Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past; see I am doing a new thing. . . ”  (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Father, help each parent reading this to find the way that is best for them to not be overcome by greater sadness, hurt and disappointment this holiday season. Speak to their hearts. Show them your way to joy and comfort while their child is far from them. Bless them I ask, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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When my daughter’s choices and behaviors were breaking my heart there was nothing I could do to stop her. I was powerless to change her.  As hope9hard as I tried, I couldn’t make her stop drinking or abusing drugs, cutting herself, or accept help for her mental health problems. I felt crazy at times. It was insanity – devastating.

The day finally came when I had to admit I was powerless. Everywhere I turned was brokenness – in my own heart as well as hers. I couldn’t fix either of us. In desperation I  reached out to a power greater than myself. For me, this power was God. By turning to him I discovered  four wonderful things he could do for me if I would humble myself and admit I needed his help. I believe he can help you, too. (more…)

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This is the third in a four-part series of my favorite Bible verses.  As a  hurting parent they comfort and encourage me. These Spirit-inspired words have strengthened and empowered me in my worst times. Through them I have found courage to get out of bed, face another day and live my life no matter what was happening with my daughter. I hope  these words of God will do the same  for you.

1)  Psalm 94:18-19  When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me your consolation brought me joy.

2)  Psalm 124:8  Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

3)  Psalm 30:11  You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing; you have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothes me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord, my God, I will give you thanks forever. (New Living Translation)

4)  Psalm 29:11  The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.

5)  Psalm 54:4  Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.

6)  2 Corinthians 4:18  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

7)  Isaiah 64:4  Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for (trust in) him.

Unfailing love.

Emotional support.

Joy for mourning.



Sustaining help.

Looking to the eternal.

Incomparable God.

We tremble speechless before You, Lord of heaven and earth. Who You are and what You’ve done sustains us. Increase our faith to believe these things are really true. It’s too much for our minds to take in. Filled with awe and wonder we bend low with thanksgiving. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Amen.

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