God chose me to be the mother of the children I have. They are not mine. They are God’s children. Just as I am God’s child. He will take care of them as he has taken care of me. They have everything they need to be everything they were meant to be in this world. All that happens, unfolds in God’s time and through his mercy. There will no one thing that defeats them or me.
I don’t pretend to understand the divine connection, or why God does anything he does, or even if God ‘does’ anything in the sense we understand the word ‘doing’, but I respect it. Just last week, I wrote an article about being happy regardless of your circumstances. I was writing from a place of peace and contentment. Everything in my life was humming along just fine.
And even though I’m not sure why, or even if, God would test me, I am writing this new article on happiness while one of my children is on a path of destruction. This child of mine, now an adult, is missing, not physically, but mentally. He is trying to hide feelings, but all his actions and words point to the futility he feels about life. He is beaten down, given up. He’s mired in self-degradation and pity.
He’s been bouncing between the sober world of striving to build a good life and the wasted world of alcohol, drugs and self-sabotage. In both worlds, he is a good man, but he does not know this. He thinks he must earn his value as a person, although I cannot really say what he is thinking. I just know that whatever it is, it is self-destructive.
I recognize this because I have been through it. I didn’t go as far with alcohol and drugs, but food and body issues were my pacifiers for many years. Of course, this is no consolation for me because it can lead me to believe that in some way, this is my fault. If only I had raised him differently, or if I had only taken him to church when he was little, or if only I had my shit together much sooner in life. But it occurs to me that this type of thinking only puts me back on that same old path of self-pity.
If I blame myself for my children’s failures, that means I must take credit for their accomplishments, of which they all, including him, have many. And this is just not the case. All my children are great people in their own right, and even though I am proud of them, I take no credit or blame for what they do. They live the lives they want to live, and if I passed any bad traits down, I was passing them from my own genetics and experiences, just as they were passed down to me. And for as many bad characteristics and behaviors that were passed down, there were more good qualities, from both their dad and me.
So, what do you do when you see someone you love in self-wrecking mode?
I used to think I had to be the one to make everything better, to help. But I know now that helping is just a nice word for enabling. And I have done my share of enabling. This is something an addict must work out on his own. It may not work out the way I want it to, or in the time I want it to, but something in my soul tells me that, no matter what happens, life will work itself out for the best. So, the answer to the question is, stay in faith. Don’t get despondent. Keep your cool.
Being happy in this kind of situation does not mean I do not care or that I am shoving it all down and trying to just push through the pain. Yes, I worry a little, and I have let that worry color my interactions. And I could speculate about why events occur the way they do, but no matter how much I ruminate, I cannot change the past or read the mind of God to know the future. So I don’t do this. I make myself stronger by reading encouraging works, writing, and interacting with others.
My heart feels physically heavy, almost to the point of breaking, but I am still happy with my life and everything in it that I am privileged to be a part of. My core of joy, though getting a work out right now, is based on a faith that God’s love envelopes me and my children, no matter what is going on.
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“Your value is intrinsic. It is not determined by what you do. When you realize this, you can function fully.”