Wednesday, May 24, 2017

FORGIVE YOURSELF FOR YOUR FAILURES AS A PARENT by Christine Lindsay

2014, David and me with all of our children, including Sarah,
after the Lord brought us through years of healing.
Left to Right Back row: Lana, David, me, Sarah,
Front row: Kyle and Robert
Parenting is a bumpy road, especially if your family is blended in some manner through adoption, or divorce and remarriage, or any other number of life stresses.

But when you fail—and believe me—you will fail, the worst thing you can do is wallow in guilt. What your children need, no matter what their age, is that you forgive yourself. With this caveat; learn from your mistakes to become a better parent.

My parenting skills were put to the test when I began to search for my birth-daughter, Sarah, my baby girl I gave up for adoption in 1979. Sarah and I never saw each other again, until 20 years later at our adoption reunion. The intense emotions of the search, during and after the reunion put me as a woman and as a mother through the emotional ringer. I failed my children; my daughter Lana and her two brothers, including my birth-daughter Sarah.
Below is a slightly abridged excerpt from Finding Sarah Finding Me that focuses on our journey as a family back to wholeness This scene takes place in 1999:
 ~*~

Lana and the boys are so ready to accept this shift in their family orbit. But as much as I love their biological sister, Sarah, if for one minute I thought meeting her would hurt the kids I’ve raised, I’d stop everything. The paradox hits me between the eyes. These are my kids. But Sarah is my firstborn, and the distance between us is creating a constantly widening rift in my soul. Still, as much as I crave a relationship with Sarah, I can’t even meet her if it risks hurting the children who live safely beneath my roof.
Relief shores me up—my kids are reacting positively to the reunion, and the appointment is set. I don’t have to make that awful decision, which is good because I’m not sure how much more shifting of my orbit I can take, or how much longer I can deny my maternal feelings for this daughter I relinquished. I’ve often wondered how God managed to properly love the ninety-nine sheep he left behind to go out searching the hills for that little one that was lost.

Is my love for my “lost sheep” starting to overshadow my love for those safely within my fold?

 ~*~
The excerpt above shows the cracks in my mothering. As I focused much of my attention on my birth-daughter, I didn’t realize that I was laying the foundation for great pain in my daughter Lana’s heart. Years later, Lana would exhibit that sadness in ways that would break my heart as much as losing her sister to adoption had. 

So often, we can pay great attention to a prodigal child, or the child who suffers from severe health issues, or just simply the more needy, demanding child. The quiet—seemingly unruffled child—can be quietly suffering, and we as parents have no idea.

In the following excerpt from Finding Sarah Finding Me, I realized my failure as a mother:
~*~

My fear stretches across the expanse of my desk toward the woman from Student Life as she says, “Lana is in the hospital. She took an overdose of pills last night.”

Boys don’t always notice when Mom isn’t all she should be. Daughters are different, as though they’re looking to their mothers as a rough sketch of what it will mean for them to be women, rejecting and incorporating aspects of us as they grow.

During the search and reunion with Sarah, the boys were too young to notice my struggles for stability, especially since they had a great dad who made up for it all. In the years after the reunion, with good therapy and a renewed focus on God’s Word, I returned to the mom I used to be, even striving to be better.

But off and on during those two or three years of Lana’s impressionable teens, I’d let depression, poor self-esteem, and my own suicidal thoughts filter in to my children’s lives. Lana took emotional refuge at her friends’ houses, friends who often only added to her confusion. No matter how much I’ve changed since then, the damage was done.
~*~

Is there a way back from that kind of failure as a parent?
Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
In the next excerpt you can read the the beginning of Lana’s and my journey back to wholeness, and the joy that we experience today. Another excerpt from Finding Sarah Finding Me:
~*~

Lana looks up and starts to cry as I near her hospital bed. Even from a few feet away I see her tremble. Something deep inside me dies. I have done this to my child. She lifts a hand to wipe her cheek like the little girl she once was, as vulnerable as when I used to hold her hand to cross the road. Vulnerable but alive! It could so easily have been otherwise, but God protected her. We both still breathe, our hearts still pump. Though we’re both bruised as crushed reeds, there is hope. I’ll give my all to see her find joy.
Sitting down beside her bed, squeezing her hand, I weep as I tell her, “I love you. More than life itself.”

She nods, tears streaking her pale and tired face, and whispers, “I know, Mom. I know you love me.
One of my favorite photos of Lana. She and I traveled to Ireland in 2006. One of  the
many things we did to bring us both back to wholeness as mother and daughter.

~*~

You will fail as a parent, but there is hope.

·         Admit your failure to yourself and to your children. 

·         But don’t remain there in a wallowing state of sorrow and shame.

·         Pick up your feet, and with God’s help learn from your mistakes and become the parent your child needs, even if they are 3 years old or 30.
Finding Sarah Finding Me is a braided memoir that focuses on the various angles of adoption and parenting when we start out as parents with an extreme sense of loss, such as my own as a birth-mother, that of adoptive parents who felt the loss of infertility, and the myriad of emotions that are part of the whole adoption scenario.

And as in all my books, there is a happy ending. You just have to read the book to find out how we all got there. The reason there is a happy ending to all my books is because I believe in Jesus Christ. He is the answer to all my wants, needs, and prayers.

For more about Finding Sarah Finding Me Click HERE

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

ADOPTION or "NORMAL" ISSUE...That is the Question -- by Adoptive Mom Melissa Corkum

My guest today is Adoptive Mom, and Adoption expert Melissa Corkum.

We have six kids. The first two share DNA with my husband and me. Next we adopted a toddler (younger than both of our first two children) who was born in Korea. Our last three are all from Ethiopia, unrelated, and are older than all of the other kids. That’s the short version. Click here for the longer narrative. I’m not sure about you, but I’m a visual learner, so here’s what I would need to see to understand our family :) October 2012 Between all of the kids we have individuals who have special needs, are neurotypical, from hard places, young and fun, teens, young adults, securely attached, and every combination in between. When it comes to navigating challenges with the kids, it’s easy to get bogged down in analyzing whether the challenge is due to how they joined our family, an age and stage, or some other mitigating factor. Back in 2012, before we traveled for our Ethiopian adoptions, we became parent trainers for Empowered to Connect which is a trust-based parenting paradigm that was designed for children from hard places. It recognizes that kids from hard places have altered brain chemistry that changes the way they process the world. Additionally, it puts your relationship with your child as the priority and provides practical tools for guiding children to a place of nurture, safety, AND respect. It gives them the benefit of the doubt that often they are defiant because they can’t rather than won’t, but does not give them permission to disobey or be sassy. While the parenting principles we learned were specifically designed for kids from hard places, we think that the principles are actually great rules to live by in all relationships. We started seeing people’s actions as communication about their anxiety, stress-level, or relational history. This paradigm shift has actually changed the way we see and relate to everyone around us—not just our kids from hard places. Once we established this foundation for how we view relationships, the distinction between adopted or not, special needs or neurotypical becomes a non-issue. Before we handle any situation with any of our kids, we try to tease out what the underlying emotions and feelings are and plan to respond in a way that supports them and demonstrates that we’re on their team as a family against the situation rather than pitted against each other as parent vs. child. So what does all that mean?!?! Or look like in real life?!?! It means that we see “bad” (I prefer “maladaptive”) behavior as communication. Rather than punishing it and hoping it changes, trust-based parenting challenges you to dig until you understand what is going on at the root of the behavior, problem-solve and create structure to support your child, and compassionately guide your child into a healthier way of communicating. Whenever possible, we try to use humor and playfulness to de-escalate a situation (or prevent it from escalating in the first place). 20130416upsidedown We use the script, “You may repeat and obey or ask for a compromise.” If a child flat out refuses to do something, we just remind them that disrespect isn’t an option but they may use words to ask for a compromise. The key here is to be able to let go of your idea of how something was going to go long enough to entertain a compromise. I found that I was demanding my kids stop what they were doing to do a chore because I was afraid that I would forget if it didn’t happen right then. When we started letting them compromise on when the chore would happen (for example, after their show was over or when they hit a check point in a game) and setting an alarm so we wouldn’t forget, we solved a lot of control battles over chores. When a child is guilty of an act of commission, we try to use the wording, “Tell me the story of what happened when…. Promise to tell me exactly what happened?” This phraseology seems to be less likely to put a kid on the defensive where they are tempted to lie. I often have to say, “What happened before that part?” to get more of the full picture. Then we brainstorm ways to support our kiddo so it doesn’t happen again. Usually it’s a form of more supervision, so they can have more practice making the right decision. Consistent poor decision making in a situation tells you that your child is not ready for that situation…even if the world seems to think he should be. I won’t lie. This was a HUGE paradigm shift for us, and one we’re still battling. However, as counterintuitive as trust-based parenting is against how hubby and I were raised, we’ve seen it work again and again. Additionally, our first neurotypical child is soundly in teen territory, and we can already see how trust-based relationship tools are paying off. WP_20160718_09_54_26_Pro We’d love to connect with you at our blog, or on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. For more practicals on trust-based parenting, check out www.parentingwithconnection.info. ᐧ

Monday, April 17, 2017

I WAS LEFT ON THE DOORSTEP -- by Guest Beth Steury


I have always known that I was adopted as an infant. Same with my three younger brothers. Before we could truly grasp what it meant to be “adopted”, we knew we had been adopted. Most days I didn’t think about it at all. It was just a part of who I am. An accepted part.

From a very early age—as long as I can remember really—I concluded that whoever gave birth to me couldn’t take care of me so she, and possibly the he as well, gave me to someone who could take care of me. And I was okay with that.

While I’d always been curious as to the details surrounding my birth and the
surrender for my adoption, when I discovered this past summer that I’d been left on a door step, having not been born in a hospital, my curiosity piqued to a level bordering on obsession. The who, what, how and why questions raced through my brain.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Adoption Professional says "Let it Go" by Guest Author Paula Freeman



My guest today is Adoption Professional Paula Freeman with excellent advice for all of us whose lives are touched by Adoption

LET IT GO!

(In Three Not-so-Easy Steps)
 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”
(I Peter 5:7)
 “How-to’s” are not my thing. I’m the one urging us to throw away the programs; pray and listen; trust our instincts; be gracious to ourselves and others; and run, as fast and as far as we can from the “shoulds” that seek to devour us. Why? Because there are no easy how-to-steps for our journey. But there is hope – and a God who cares and will never leave us.
Several years ago my family endured a season filled with drama and chaos; I lived in a war zone with my address. Maybe you do too. It’s scary but temporary. And we can fight back. Emotional healing is a choice; learning to let go helps us experience it. I offer the following lessons I’ve learned the hard way as food for thought on your journey.

RESIST COMPARING: Adoptive parenthood is different than biological parenthood. Acknowledging this truth allows us to embrace the layered richness of adoption – grief, loss, redemption and grace. We’re all dealing with heavy issues, regardless of how we dress them up and present them to the public. But we can choose grace and to accept our children and ourselves where we are, without comparison to others or the latest parenting trends.
REFUSE TO COMPETE:  Don’t even try - let it go; we’ll never win this one because we’re our own worst critic. We’re on the same team, each of us striving to raise a Godly heritage. It’s okay to take different routes. Bow out of the competition, take a deep breath, and allow God to lead you on this leg of the journey. Our goal is to help our children develop at their pace. Love and nurture them. Learn to quiet your soul, regardless of the pace at which others choose to live. 
RELINQUISH CONTROL:  Ouch! I like control. I’m the ultra-nerd who follows rules and plays nicely in the sand box. Just like water can’t help but flow to the lowest place to puddle, I’m hard wired to seek order and organization. But clinging to control tied me up in knots and fed a critical spirit. Especially when I tried to control the things I couldn’t (which is just about everything).
…like the emotionally wrenching betrayal, in-the-pits challenge God recently allowed me to endure. Although the process strengthened my faith in spite of myself, it didn’t happen overnight. And it’s still not easy. But gradually, by God’s grace, I began to strip away the tentacles of fear that gripped my heart and surrendered; “not my will, but yours be done”. I had to let it go for my emotional and spiritual well-being.
We cannot change the compromised beginnings our children suffered, the wounds we endured, or the challenges we face. But we can refuse to compare, compete or control. We can let it go.


ABOUT AUTHOR PAULA FREEMAN


Paula Freeman, MSW, is founder and former executive director of Hope’s Promise, a Colorado adoption agency and orphan care ministry. As author and speaker she helps moms thrive in all stages at all ages. Widowed, with seven grown children, she calls Colorado home.  Visit her at www.paulafreeman.org.







Friday, April 07, 2017

I Will Walk Into My Doctor's Office Pregnant One Day--By Guest Author Carol Graham

My guest today has returned a second time. Welcome Carol Graham.


For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a mother.  I was born with health issues that were often debilitating and sometimes caused me to wonder if my life would be cut short by disease.

God had promised my husband and I that we would have a family.  No matter how sick I became or how great the emotional struggle was, I knew God would fulfill His promise.  It was 14 years of applying faith to my pain but I consistently reminded God of the Word he spoke to my heart. 

Then I got the phone call from a gynecologist's office informing me he had a diagnosis. There is one word in any language that is difficult to hear. That word is -- cancer. 

“Carol, basically you have two choices and I think it is obvious which one you will choose!” I assumed he meant two types of treatment. He continued, “Your choices are hysterectomy or death.” He paused for impact. “You are a very sick young woman.”

Strength and faith welled up inside of me and I said “No!  I do not accept those choices. There has to be another way! I will find that alternative.”

I had challenged his intelligence. He rose up from behind his desk, leaned towards me and pointed his finger in my face. He was so angry he was shooting spit when he said, “Well then, lady, go home, suffer and…….die!”

I stood up, spun on my heel and started out of the room. Then I paused, turned, and said in a loud staccato voice, enunciating each syllable clearly. “I... will.... walk.... in here.... pregnant.... one day.” I couldn’t believe the words that came out of nowhere. But in my heart, I knew I was going to succeed. Nothing was going to stop me. I almost screamed out loud “ENOUGH, not this time.” Hysterectomy – I don’t think so. Death? Not my time yet.

About three weeks later, I was introduced to natural food supplements.  I changed my diet and started my new food regime. In less than a week I was feeling better.  I researched and took every course on nutrition I could find.  I was determined to improve my health.

It was the middle of March, 14 years later, when I made an appointment with the same doctor.

“Hello, Carol. It has been a while since I have seen you. Why did you decide to come now?”

“I haven't had a physical for a long time and figured I should.” He examined me, left the room and said he would return shortly when he got the lab results from my urine sample. It was a full half hour when the doctor walked back into the examining room.

“Carol, I am very sorry to inform you, but you are very pregnant.” His head was down as if he were ashamed.

I stood up. “Yes, doctor, I...am...sure.... you... are... very... sorry... to.... inform... me. You obviously remember the words you spoke to me the last time I was here.”

I was not prepared in any way for the next words that came out of his mouth. Trying to gain his composure and his rightful position, he stood up and whispered a shout, “Who is the father?” He threw the words at me, the same way he had all those years ago.

He must have remembered, or read it in my file, that my husband, Paul, was also sterile. However, Paul had received a report some months earlier of healthy sperm. I wanted to get out of that awful room which reeked of pharmaceuticals. He left and I never saw him again.

I spent six months in the hospital with five major complications to this pregnancy.  Weekly, the doctors would give me negative reports.  The doctors warned me that if this baby survived, he/she would never be normal.  He/she would probably be born with Cystic Fibrosis and weigh under two pounds, among other complexities.

Six weeks before my C-section was scheduled I woke up at 4:45 in the morning with intense pain.  “Dear God, help me now.  Save my baby.”

Inside of me, a battle was raging.  “What if the baby does not live?  What if the baby is not normal?”  I had to constantly choose not to believe the lies and stay focused on the truth of God’s promises.  He would never leave me.  He would honor His word spoken to my heart.

It was only a matter of minutes when the doctor announced, “You got what you wanted.  V is for Victory.”  I was not sure what he meant by that.  He immediately held up my daughter for me to see her and I began to sob.
“See the V on her forehead?” The nurse was holding her close to my face.  “That is for victory.  She is perfect.  A perfect 10 on the Apgar score and she weighs six pounds, six ounces which is amazing for a baby born six weeks early.”

My baby girl defied all the laws of negativity and is now the proud mom of two children.

As a result of that diagnosis of cancer over 40 years ago, I became a Certified Health Coach and Symptomologist.  I have helped hundreds of women realize optimum health.  The community has labeled me Dr. Fertility as I have had the unique privilege of giving hope to women who had lost all hope of ever having a child. 


It all began with a determination to believe the good report of the Word of God and never letting go, no matter what happened.

PURCHASE LINK FOR Battered Hope on Amazon:
AMAZON:  MEMOIR - http://amzn.to/1wEwEsN

Book Trailer for Battered Hope 

ABOUT AUTHOR CAROL GRAHAM

Carol Graham is an award-winning author of "Battered Hope," talk show host for her bi-weekly show “Never Ever Give Up Hope,” international keynote speaker, jewelry store owner and a certified health coach.  Carol has five grandchildren and has rescued over 30 dogs.  Her goal is to share hope and encouragement.

CONNECT WITH CAROL GRAHAM 


Sunday, March 26, 2017

MARK YOUR CALENDAR, SHADOWED IN SILK DISCOUNTED 99 cents April 4 - 9, and now I AM NOT A SPECIAL NEEDS MOM – by Guest Author Sarah Frazer

I AM NOT A SPECIAL NEEDS MOM – by Guest Author Sarah Frazer

The face of Adoption has changed a great deal over the past few decades. More and more adoptions are of special needs children. My hat goes off, and my heart goes out to these self-less adoptive parents of children who come to them "seemingly" broken. Welcome guest author Sarah Frazer . 

I'm not a special needs mom. Or I didn't think I was until therapy has become our normal routine.  I never thought much about her looking different until I began to notice the quick glances at the grocery store. Eyes darting away in embarrassment as they catch sight of the drool. Or her weak neck muscles. Or maybe its the tiny pink braces or lack of eye contact.  

She is considered different by our world's standards. Different sometimes means not good enough. When I realized she will not reach the milestones at the appropriate ages, I finally had to admit I was a mom to a special needs daughter. And a little part of me didn't like that label.

When I began my journey of special-needs parenting, I was scared. International adoption brings the possibility. But I honestly didnt expect to bring home a little girl who couldnt walk or talk. Guilt and loneliness settled in my heart. I had so many questions, mostly about myself. Would I be enough? Could I really do this? I didn't want to be a special needs mom. I didn't think I wanted to walk this road. I felt pushed into the deep end.

We've all seen the stories of special-needs students getting their moment to shine. The boy who was faithful on the football team all year, and the coach letting the student score a touchdown during the last game. Or the girl who was asked to prom by the popular student. The dress and smile shine as she gets to be beautiful, even by the world's standards, for one night.


The other players will not remember any game through their high school career, but they will remember their teammate's joy as he passes the end zone. The dress may not be remembered, but the smile will be.  Why do other children see these students as special and treasured? Why are those people remembered in our lives?

Because there is beauty found in the heart. There is worthiness found in the ordinary. The small milestones are celebrated with joyful enthusiasm. Laughter becomes contagious. Their joy is full, and so is ours. We see beauty in the simple.....all because of her.


“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21



This year I've discovered heavenly treasure.  A girl has come alive before our very eyes. She giggles. Acts silly. Shows preferences. Communicates. Loves big, and with risk. Cries. Tantrums. Eats. Sleeps. Watches TinkerBell. Her worth to us goes beyond her ability.

If my daughter's ability to walk determines her worth, she is sadly lacking.

If my daughter's ability to talk is what gives her life merit, she is incomplete.

If my daughter's outward abilities are a reflection of her worth, she is not enough.

But…if value is placed on her ability to feel and give love, she measures up.

But…if worthiness is based on her soul, she is eternally cherished.

Even if she never walks or speaks a word....she is still worthy. Every child, even those with disabilities, will live forever. And they matter. They are the treasures that do not rust or fade away. My daughter matters. And she gives me hope, as a special-needs mom.  Hope in the eternal. Hope in a God who looks at the heart. The invisible things truly are more valuable than the visible.  I matter, too. My worth is not based on a character flaw or physical limitation I might see in the mirror. My worth is not even based on what I own or the failures or accomplishments of my life.

Even though I didn't want to be a special needs mom, and I still find it hard, I give praise to my Father everyday for giving me this child. I get to witness something I would have never witnessed otherwise: we all matter to God. We are all valuable. Every soul. We are valuable because we are precious to the Father. The Son. And the Spirit. Precious. Wanted. Worthy because of our Creator.


ABOUT AUTHOR SARAH FRAZER:

Guest Author Sarah Frazer

As a momma of four littles and wife to a busy husband, Sarah spends her days making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, reheating her coffee ten times a day, and sneaking quiet time with her earbuds to drown out the screaming. She invites you to join her as we study God's Word in our ordinary days!




PURCHASE LINK FOR Glorious-Ordinary-Invitation-Study-Everyday




SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS FOR AUTHOR SARAH FRAZER





Saturday, March 25, 2017

Today, March 25, I'm a guest on Rave Waves Radio Show

Today I am a guest on Rave Waves at 12 PM Central Time. Drop by an listen as I share how my journey of brokenness after reuniting with my birth-daughter, the baby I gave up for adoption was turned into a writing career.

At 12 PM Central today go to this link http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ravereviewsbookclub

Amazing how our broken hearts, and if we find true healing in God, those stories can be turned around to encourage someone else along the journey.
Also, BIG NEWS, My very first novel Shadowed in Silk is having a HUGE almost Global discount promotion through Kindle.

April 4 through April 9,
Shadowed in Silk
Kindle Discount 99 cents.
99 Cents from April 4 through April 9 for this Book 1 of the Multi-Award-Winning trilogy Twilight of the British Raj.

Go here if you want to support me in the Thunderclap message to let people know of that discount on those dates. Click here for the Thunderclap Supporter Page http://thndr.me/UCnFP4

Monday, March 13, 2017

Five Ways to Pray When Your Child Goes Astray— by Guest Author Cindi McMenamin

  • How do you trust God and not worry when you see your child start spiraling downward?  
  • How can you know when to say something and when to let your child work it out? 
  • How can you trust that God ultimately has "good" in mind when it all looks so bad?
While writing my book, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom, I discovered that one of the most intense concerns a mother has for her children, apart from her concerns for their physical safety, is her concern for their spiritual condition. We fear our children will turn their backs on their faith and all they were taught and needlessly stumble through life.

That situation can be fearful, and can make us feel so helpless.

I asked hundreds of moms to share with me their secret to maintaining hope for a wayward child, even if the situation looks hopeless. Their answer is always the same. Their hope is in God, not their child, and God's ability to turn that child's heart back toward home.

Here is how you can maintain hope while praying for your child who has gone astray:

1. Pray Scripture over them
A friend of mine who witnessed her daughter self destruct into drugs and a dangerous lifestyle for several years, saw God turn her daughter’s heart around. But, she said, her only comfort during the season of her daughter's rebellion was praying Scripture over her daughter. Isaiah 49:16 was especially encouraging to her. 


"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me."

While that verse prophetically refers to the nail prints in Jesus' hands, it symbolizes to us that Jesus knew each and every person by name, that He would die for and those nail prints were like an engraved name on His hand.

What a comfort to know He has our children on His mind and in His heart.

2. Pray by focusing on God’s character


From Psalm 139 alone, we can be encouraged knowing that God is One who: 

  • searches us and knows us from the inside out (verse 1)
  • knows our every action and thought (verses 2-3)
  • knows what we will say before we say it (verse 4)
  • follow us everywhere we go (verses 8-12)
  • formed us and watched over us while we were in the womb (verses 13-15)
  • wrote out our life story in His book before we even lived it (verse 16)
  • convicts us of our offense and leads us in the right direction (verse 24)

    That Psalm reminds us that God is more intimately acquainted with our child than we will ever be. And that He is tracking their whereabouts when we can't.
3. Pray for your child to discern God's voice 


A mom of six children told me “I always pray for God to be loud to my children.”

Children will hear our voices in their heads. And they may try to shut out that voice at times if their hearts are hardened. Children will also hear their friends' and peers' voices, and the voice of the enemy seeking to lead them astray. But we want God's voice – the voice of His Holy Spirit – to be louder than anyone else's voice.

Insert your child's name in this prayer and pray it often: "Lord, help ____________ to listen to what You say, and to treasure Your commands. Tune _______________'s ears to wisdom, and help _____________ concentrate on understanding (Proverbs 2:1-2, NLT). Instruct ______________in the way of wisdom and lead ________________ along straight paths (Proverbs 4:11).

4. Pray for wisdom to know when to speak and when to be silent 

There will come a time when your words will fall on deaf ears, but God's never will. Pray for wisdom so you know when to speak, and what to speak, and when to be silent so God can speak. Here's a way to pray for that right now:

“Lord, Your Word says "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him" (James 1:5). Lord, I need that kind of wisdom to know when to speak to ______________ and when to be silent. "Do not let any unwholesome talk (lecturing, judging, or accusing) come of (my) mouth, but only what is helpful for building (my children) up according to their needs… (Eph. 4:29). Let me also be "quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” (James 1:19).
5. Praise God for what you don't yet see
We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to be joyful, to pray continually and to thank God for all circumstances, not just the ones we are comfortable with. Thank God often for something in your child’s life that you wouldn’t ordinarily be thankful for, as a way of trusting His work in your child's life and acknowledging that He’s in control.


Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of 15 books, including When Women Walk Alone, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, and 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom. For more on her resources to strengthen your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Cindi McMenamin's Website for Ten Secrets to becoming a Worry-Free-Mom 

Friday, March 10, 2017

LOSING A CHILD TO MENTAL ILLNESS -- by Guest Author Susan Stewart

There are many ways to lose a child. While I lost mine to adoption, my guest today, Susan Stewart, talks about losing her son to mental illness.

Grief of any kind is horrible; so horrible we often deny the cause of the grief or the grief itself. When a family member is diagnosed with a mental illness, like a death, everything changes. The future we had planned, dies. As with any death, a grieving process is necessary to move forward.
We were thrilled, and worried, when our son impulsively enlisted in the Marine Corp. We wondered whether he could make it. His recent history didn’t bode well for success. For several years his behavior had been so out of control, we thought it was rebellion. My mother’s heart though, knew something else was wrong. I prayed this latest impulse would be the start of something new, a new future.

I remember vividly when I saw him marching toward us at boot camp graduation. He had made it! I thanked his drill sergeant for giving me my son back. At Marine Combat Training, he received commendations and a meritorious promotion. My prayers were being answered.

About a year later, my son was in jail and discharged from the Corp. What a let down. The future I thought he was going to have was gone. The son I thought had been restored, gone. All hopes and dreams, gone. What had made yet another drastic change? Mental illness.

I learned later, I needed to grieve not just the loss of the son I had had, but the future the entire family had hoped for him. This grieving, grieving the future, has the same steps as grieving a physical death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance
  • Denial – When our son was originally diagnosed, I thought it could be fixed, he could be reinstated into the Corp, and the future restored. The first stage of grief had begun. For it to make sense to me, I needed to deny this life-altering diagnosis would change anything and try to reclaim his future.
Often the denial can be simply ignoring the diagnosis or it can be a lack of knowledge and misunderstanding of mental illnesses. It often is viewed as a character flaw rather than the biological illness it is.
  • Anger – It wasn’t long before my denial turned into anger. I was angry at the doctors for not doing more, the Marine Corp for discharging him instead of helping him, at my son for not getting well, even at myself for not seeing this coming. After attending Family-to-Family classes, sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, I learned what my problems was and how to really help my son. That meant accepting the diagnosis. But I wasn’t ready to accept the new future.
  • Bargaining – Of course I bargained with God. Don’t we all at some time? I prayed not just for a complete healing of my son’s brain, but also for everyone, including the Marine Corp, to change their thinking. Father God, if you will do this one thing, I will ….
Eventually I tried to bargain with my son. I tried manipulation to get him to “be well” and start over in the Corp. All the while, he was spiraling further into the depths of paranoia and delusions, symptoms of his illness.
  • Depression – When denial, anger, and bargaining don’t change the situation, a sense of failure can set in, depression. I didn’t realize that it wasn’t the failure of others; it was my own failure to accept my son’s diagnosis. I gave up trying to fix the problem. Actually I just gave up.
  • Acceptance – With the help of our NAMI friends, I moved from trying to fix an unfixable problem and feeling like a failure to acceptance and action. Acceptance means understanding that the situation, the diagnosis, isn’t going to change. God is in control; I’m not. With acceptance, I began to take action to support and help others.
During the various phases, I cried out to God. God, tell me, show others, this isn’t true. God, how could you let this happen? God, if you will heal my son’s brain, I will … God, I can’t take this any longer. I’m a failure. Why did you leave me? God, you are not wrong; I am. Use me.

Today my son still has a serious mental illness. He has learned to manage it, has a good job, and is a successful person. He did it all without me manipulating him or the situation.
God provided a way through the grieving. He carried me through the steps to his good plan. I can now serve him by helping others through the grieving process, even when they don’t know they are grieving.

Do you have a friend or loved one suffering with a mental illness? Join Shattered Lives Facebook support group. Contact me at susan@practicalinspirations.com for an invitation.

If you wish to purchase the Kindle version of her book Preschool: AT WHAT COST?, look for the link on the left bar, and purchase through my site.


ABOUT AUTHOR SUSAN STEWART

When she’s not tending chickens and peacocks, Susan K. Stewart teaches, writes, and edits non-fiction. Susan’s passion is to inspire readers with practical, real-world solutions. Her books include Science in the Kitchen and Preschool: At What Cost? and the award-winning Formatting e-Books for Writers.
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