I have a daughter that has been diagnosed with bipolar, borderline personality disorder, oppositional defiance disorder and few other mood and emotional disorders. I first noticed behavioral problems when she was four years old after her younger sister was born and her father and I separated. At such a young age she experienced some major transitions because her younger sister had a heart defect which required open-heart surgery. So, not only did she have to adjust to having a sibling, she had to adjust to a sibling who required so much of her parents time; time that had always been dedicated to her. Also, the father, whom she had been the apple of his eye for four eyes had vanished from her life.
I remarried and my husband and I have expended so much energy, effort and resources in trying to understand my daughter’s condition and learn how to help her. We have been through so many hospitalizations, doctors, and therapists seeking help, understanding and
treatment for her. It was recommended that she be placed in a level three or level four group home in order to protect her from herself and her bad choices when she was fifteen years old.
Trying to help her and do what we felt was best for her without making her feel as though she had been ousted from the family became our primary focus; all while trying to maintain some sense of normalcy for our other daughters was an overwhelming task to say the least. It is impossible for anyone who has never experienced this with a child to understand the physical, mental, emotional, social and financial stress a parent endures when they have a child with a condition like hers.
I have spent so many sleepless nights, cried an ocean of tears and said an entire volume of prayers. I have asked myself so many times what I have failed to do that I should have done; what I have done that I should not have done. I have blamed myself so many times for failing her. It took many months of therapy to convince me that her condition is not
because of my failing her in any way.
When she was seventeen; her doctors, therapists and counselors began telling me to distance myself from her or she was going to destroy me. They asked me how many times was going to take her in when she showed up on my doorstep homeless, penniless and with nothing but the clothes on her back, broken for me to put all the pieces of her life together again for her to only to go off and do the same things again. I cannot begin to express what a difficult position that is to be in.
Only a couple of months after her eighteenth birthday she left home and moved in with a boy who had no job, no education, not even a driver’s license. They lived with his mother and he had no means of supporting my daughter, the child he had from a previous relationship or the one my daughter eventually conceived. When she told me she was pregnant I could not help but question God. God knew she had no business with a child. I did not want to have to assume the responsibility of raising another child. However, I fell in love with this precious little one before he ever arrived. I knew he was going to need me.
My husband and I tried as much as we possibly could to help my daughter provide a safe and stable environment for her son, but eventually we obtained custody of him. My daughter and her husband separated and her condition has only worsened. The last time I took my grandson to see his mother was on his second birthday. She knew she was going to see her son, yet it was obvious to all of us that she was high on something.
She is living with an abusive drug addict/dealer now. After seeing pictures of her after he had severely beaten her, we offered to bring her home and help her. Now that we have opened the door and offered a way out of her lifestyle she has stopped calling to check on her son and has shut her family out of her life.
I recently received a message from a friend of my daughter’s informing me that she is hooked on drugs; not any specific drug, anything that she can get. I was told by this person that she recently visited my daughter and watched as my daughter and her boyfriend inserted needles into their arms. I cannot begin to find the words to describe what this knowledge does to me.
I have spent the past few weeks praying, thinking and seeking solutions. There are no words to describe the helplessness a parent feels when they cannot help their very own children. I have been told, ‘Let go and let God!’, ‘Hand it over to the Lord’, and ‘You cannot help those who won’t help themselves’.
I watched an episode of Joyce Meyer last night. In this episode she shared that her brother had died underneath a bridge as a homeless person. She shared that she had tried to help him and that he did well as long as he lived with her and remained under her wing but when she sent him out into the world to make his own way, he could not do it. She said that the devil will use people like this to distract and hinder us from being productive and helping those that are helpable. There may be some truth in that because my husband and I lost our jobs on the same day with the reason being in part, due to the fact that my daughter and her issues had been such a distraction to us and prevented us from focusing
on our patients. However, how do you reach that point of shutting your very own child out of your life? How do you cope with the fear that something terrible is going to happen to your child? How do you face each day wondering if today is the day you are going to receive a phone call informing you your child has been found dead? If and when that day comes, how do you deal with the “What if I had done this?”, “What if I had not done that?”
Today I read 2 Corinthians 1:9-10 where the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”
When I read this I thought of the things I had heard Joyce Meyer say last night. I do not fault her at all for handling the situation with her brother the way she did. I have no idea what her experiences were with her brother and I am sure that she handled the situation to the very best of her ability after much prayer. However, for me when I read this I feel that regardless of the distraction, the destruction, and the costs that God is our deliver and our strength is in Him to carry on and do all that we can for our loved ones in need.
Then, I also read Luke 15:4-6, “’What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has
lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost’”. In this parable, we (that is, humans) are the lost sheep, a completely helpless animal, in need of saving. However, without Him we are nothing! We are not capable of helping ourselves or anyone else for that matter without Him. Is God not telling us to do all that we can possibly do to save that one sheep at all costs?
I know that through the Lord all things are possible. I know that without Him I am nothing. I know that the solution for my daughter can only be found in Him. I know that He had a purpose for her when He created her. I know that with Him I can handle whatever experiences the future may hold in store for me regarding my daughter. I know the Lord gives each of us free will to make our own choices and decisions in life, including my daughter. I know that I cannot impose my will on my daughter and force her to accept my help or His help if she is not willing to accept us. I know that He can heal my daughter if that is His will. I also know that I cannot turn my back on my daughter and walk away from her to face imminent death.
Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” I am asking each of you to pray with me in the name of Jesus for my daughter. I am asking each of you to pray for God to give me the wisdom, strength and courage that only He can provide. God protect my child. Please give wisdom to know what to do for her. Please give me the courage and strength to do those things I can do for her. Please be with me always and help to accept whatever the future may hold.