Article in the Kingston Daily Freeman

Imagine this headline in a secular paper in New York: Tillson author parents with help from God. Well it's true! Read it on-line and support these kinds of articles with a comment.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tough Love and Lessons Learned

Dear Lord,
            I’m weary of this winter. I want spring to come. Friends tell me Ben’s problems might go on for longer, but I don’t want to hear that Lord. I want to believe You will deliver him before he falls any further from grace.

Lessons Learned: I wanted Ben to be spared from any more pain and confusion, and get on with his life. But he kept wavering back and forth between his will and God’s. Unfortunately, my friends were right to a point. Ben had to fall a little further, to the destruction of his own rebellion and self-will, but not his soul.

Suggestions: Tough love is necessary when dealing with an addict. Don’t say something  and then do another. Stick to your word and don’t give into your prodigal’s demands. Try to find out what’s really happening and make your decisions based on that. Go to a counselor together with your spouse and decide on a course of action. Plan ahead for several different scenarios so you can be prepared and not get tripped up by your loved one. Addicts are very good manipulators, and they will admit they pull on their parent’s heartstrings—so be aware.

April 16th
            The freezing rain of April chills the bones and dampens the spirit.
            But the presence of the Holy Spirit can drive the coldness out like a warm fire.
            The Holy Spirit is a gift of spiritual vitality and warmth in a frozen wasteland.
            If the chilling winds never blew, there would be no need for the warmth of the fire, no need to labor for the crackling of wood, no need for heat to chase away the cold.
            So too with the Holy Spirit. When the cold winds blow and the icy rains fall, we must kindle the fire of the Comforter.
Come Holy Spirit, set my heart ablaze.

Dear Father,
            Please help Ben to do what he says he will do. Help him not to be wishy washy. “He is a double minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). He thinks he’s doing the right thing in his own eyes, but he doesn’t know how to judge situations. He is very nonjudgmental and generous to others. I pray You will honor that and balance him out. Teach him to walk in the light of Your ways and not what he thinks is right. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Turn him around. Show him how to be a wise son. Help him to recall what he learned in the past. “My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commandment” (Proverbs 3:1). Help me compliment him more. He’s writing in a journal and also copying Bible verses. He wants to walk the right path. Dear God, please strengthen him, and show him the way.

Lessons Learned: At the time, I didn’t know Ben was addicted to alcohol. My husband and I didn’t know his drug problem started with drinking. Once he had a few beers or anything stronger, he lost his resistance to stay away from drugs. He wanted to do what was right, but he just couldn’t keep it up for a long period of time. I wasn’t sure if he had an addictive personality, and I was trying to see the positive side. However, I desperately wanted him to go for help consistently, but he wouldn’t admit he had a serious problem. I was torn in two, trying to figure out what the real problem was, while trying to believe Jesus would take care of it all. Ben was in denial, and to some extent, so was I because of a lack of understanding.

Suggestions: Pursue the truth about your prodigal. When you discover it, don’t run away or hide from it. Face it head on with God’s help. Try not to fall apart. If your problematic son or daughter is not willing to face the truth, then decide on a course of action and stick to it. Consult others who have experience in the area of your child’s difficulty. Plan an intervention with friends or family to convince them of their need for assistance. Pray and trust God. He is able to bring your wandering child back home and turn this evil around and fashion good from  it. Be patient and wait for God to act.

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