Any parent who has watched a child depart from the ways of God to follow the path of addictions knows what heartbreak it brings to a family. A little over a year ago when faced with the ultimatum of "home" or "drugs," our oldest son chose the latter. The ache I felt for my first born child - the sleepless nights, the confusion, the anger - oh, the ANGER - I was consumed. I wrestled with God many, many nights. I begged and I bargained.
More times than not, we didn't know where our son was. Countless times I wondered if he was even alive. When it rained and thundered I felt like God was mocking me - knowing that I felt a storm inside my own heart. I shook my fists and I cried out - "I cannot do this anymore."
Looking back, I see that this wasn't just about my son, Hayden - this was about me too. This was about surrendering completely to God. Trusting God. Praying for His will, not mine.
The turning point for me was in the form of a prayer -yes, I had been praying all along, but the difference between my prayers before and this particular prayer was in one simple statement: "Lord, I give Hayden to you." "Simple" isn't the best word to use, because those words were the hardest words I had ever released from my mouth. But they were also the most freeing. You see, this particular evening I nestled into the silence around me. I closed my eyes and I created a vision of the Cross. I imagined myself
walking hand-in-hand with my son towards the Cross. A sense of peace begin to absorb me. As we came to the foot of the Cross we stopped, and I let go of Hayden's hand, placing him at the foot of the Cross and I whispered out loud, "Lord, I give Hayden to you." From that moment on, every single day, I prayed that same prayer, replaying that same vision in my mind. It wasn't a one time prayer, nor was it a one time vision. It was a necessity to get me through the days, the weeks, the months ahead. I can honestly say that eventually I had the confidence and the peace to know that God had a plan - and God works all things for the good. I also was at peace with knowing sometimes God's plan is not our plan...not MY plan. God's plan might include taking Hayden from this Earth – and I was in a place in my walk where although that would be terribly heartbreaking for me, I would trust God. So I waited. I continued to pray, faithfully, every day. But I was patient. Yes, I still worried from time to time – I am a mother, after all.
About two months ago Hayden returned home. He made a decision to turn himself over and to begin changing his choices, his lifestyle. I knew we had a long road ahead of us, it wasn't something that would happen overnight, but I was relieved and grateful.
But I was also right back to the beginning – wanting things my way. Praying to God, actually telling Him what to do, "Father God, please let 'this' happen - make 'this' happen - do 'this'." I've been praying that way since Hayden's return - and I was curious as to why I felt like I had lost my peace.
On Monday evening, in my quiet time, I began to pray. Tuesday morning Hayden would face a judge and learn the consequences for the countless mistakes he had made over the past year. My prayer began like this, "Father God, please make the judge tell Hayden he has to enter into an inpatient drug rehabilitation. It's the only way he will be able to conquer this addiction. Please make the judge see through Hayden and the help that he really needs. ...blah, blah, do 'this,' do 'that' blah blah..." I stopped. I sat in the stillness and I realized what I was doing. Again, I was wanting to control the situation. Control has always been my downfall – I like to be in control, and the irony is I have never been in control! I changed my words, "Father God, I pray for YOUR will in this situation. I pray that YOU will do what ever will allow Hayden to strengthen his walk with you. I know that you work all things for the good, and you will not forsake me nor will you forsake Hayden. I trust you completely."
The judges decision was to allow a second chance to Hayden. Hayden has until January 4th to enroll in an outpatient drug rehabilitation program and to complete the program within six months. If Hayden can return to court at the end of his rehabilitation and prove he completed the program, the judge will completely wipe his record clean.
As I sit here and type out our testimony, I have tears - read the judgment again...do you see it? Grace. Mercy. Forgiveness.
I think of my own baptism just five years ago – when Pastor Mark held me under the water and I came out of the water a new person in Christ. I had put my old self to death, I had been given the ultimate gifts of grace, mercy and forgiveness. I fall every single day on my faith journey, and yet Christ grants me those same gifts each and every day. Hayden's judgment is an amazing example of who and what Christ is to us. Hayden's journey is a part of his testimony – and also to mine. A lesson of surrendering completely to a God that loves us unconditionally. A God that works all things for the good. A God that fills us with joy, peace and hope.
A God who wants ALL of us, completely - to trust in Him and to "Be still and know that He is God." Psalm 46:10