These are the times that we live in. There is hardly an LDS home that isn't dealing with wayward children nowadays. We are experiencing it now with our oldest of 7 children and I must say, I sure have now a lot more understanding for others who have been going through this for years. There have been some really trying times for us and at one point it was so bad, I honestly no longer wanted her in our home... that is... until I changed. Dealing with wayward children is actually a coming to oneself. I changed the way I saw the whole situation (a disaster; she's going to ruin her life), the way I saw myself (I must have parented her wrong), the way I saw her (being "lost") and instead let God help me to see things many things: I cannot force her or change her, but I can love her and pray for her and God can soften hearts. We still have our rules, but I feel less uptight and more at peace. I need to trust that she can make the right decisions and have FAITH that God can help her. I've told Him many times... for her to be saved, it will be HIS doing, not mine. I do my best to follow promptings, to work on myself and even at times, get out of the way so that HE can work on her. I feel so much more at peace (I often tell myself "Be still and know that I am God") to help me feel at peace when I'm not feeling it and I've noticed a change in the daughter... not so openly rebellious. I need to respect her agency allowing her to make wrong choices and have to face the consequences--sometimes natural consequences, other times ones that we give--and respect the Lord's timeline. The Lord gave us these children for a specific purpose--for their learning and for our own. They aren't "lost". We need to change our thinking, be more faithful and allow ourselves to feel His peace-- "Sometimes He calms the storm and sometimes He calms His child".
My husband and I are greatly blessed by our Heavenly Father in that we were given five choice spirits to clothe with mortal bodies. Of these five, only one has a temple marriage. They are wonderful active parents who fit right into their chosen LDS lifestyle, and like the other four are living the lives they came here to experience. One of those others almost died as a child of four after losing consciousness and going into a coma. At the time I thought that death was the worst that could happen to a child. My prayers were answered, and she lived. Over the years, due to the brain damage she sustained.in her illness, she developed multiple problems. She has attempted suicide on numerous occasions. She has overdosed with pills several times and stabbed herself in the abdomen with a butcher knife twice. On her last suicide attempt she jumped off a highway train overpass and landed thirty feet below on pavement, crushing her feet and breaking most of the bones in her body. In the ten years since she recovered she has been in and out of psych hospitals and group homes. I have learned much through her travails. After many different diagnosis by as many Doctors she is now labeled a paranoid schizophrenic. She is epileptic and wheel chair bound and is on much medication, which for the most part keeps her docile and calm. Even though she was excommunicated "for conduct unbecoming a member of the Church", I have been given to know she is innocent in the eyes of our Savior. I had no answer to the Doctor who later asked me, "How could your Church excommunicate someone in her mental condition?" I have learned not to expect perfection in Church leaders, they make mistakes as do I. And I learned death is not the worst thing that could happen. These lessons helped me as I dealt with my next child, who is barren. Even though she served a mission and married in the Temple is now angry with God for her lack of children. She left both her husband and the Church and struggles with the affects of a type of bipolar disorder and alcohol. She is a most amazing woman who works for one of the largest charity organizations in the world. She would never have been able to be where she is, doing the great work she does, if my prayers for her "perfect life" had worked out as I wanted. I trust her to Our Savior. I have a wonderful younger son, who though in his thirties is as yet un married. He is active in the Church, and has a Temple Recommend, but because he is a single guy in his thirties, he isn't really "part" of Ward activities. For him, once again I have had to relearn that no one is perfect, even my son. He is doing the best he can, given the times and his situation. Once again, the answer lies in trusting the Savior's promises. I do, for that was all I had to hold on to when my youngest daughter became involved in drugs and alcohol and I came to the realization that I was part of her problem. I had enabled her by refusing to see what was there before my yes and instead trying to visualize her in her "perfect" Mormon outfit. Of course, my blinders were there to help me maintain the allusion that I was the perfect Mormon Mom. We had to allow her to fall. That included allowing her to become homeless and lose full custody of her daughter. She found the strength to pull herself out of that through the help of AA, and I found the strength to let her do it through the help of Alanon. She has been clean and sober for over five years. I learned that truth has been restored not just to the LDS church, but to programs like AA, whose founders were drunks who realized they couldn't do it anymore. They were inspired to find a higher power and trust it to lead them to sobriety. These days the LDS Church has adapted the AA program into their own version in every stake. The only way I have found to safely navigate the treacherous white waters that is parenthood is to back off from the immediacy of worry and use the perspective I have found in the Great Plan of Happiness. We are all traveling through the mists of darkness looking for the fruit. We are living through experiences which will prepare us to become as God now is. Our Heavenly Father lost a third of his Children who chose to reject the Savior. He had to watch while his own beloved perfect Son who suffered for us so we could come here and make mistakes and learn from them. Becoming as God is now requires us to pass through sorrow, so we can learn to choose the good from the evil.
This is a question that many of us deal with. My children, and other family members, have distanced themselves from me by severing relationships that were sealed in the Temple. My own mistakes/weaknesses account for some of this loss, as well as their decisions to leave the church behind for what is called worldly behaviors. We stood by them, but I think they can't face us because somewhere inside they still know it is true, or they know I believe it and it causes them to much discomfort being around us. I learned that what I want for their happiness isn't always what they want, and if I can't join in celebrating their ideas they can't tolerate the closeness. Even though Heavenly Father has used this time to teach me more about the Atonement, Forgiveness, and being Forgiven I couldn't escape the tremendous burden of remorse and regret. I felt it weight daily and could not overcome. My husband in frequent blessings assured me of Heavenly Father's love, and intellectually I believed that He loved me, but inwardly I couldn't see how. This past conference, plus 2 and 1/2 years of serving in the Temple, plus some reading, both scriptures and other material that seemed appropriate has brought me an understanding that has brought significant relief: Heavenly Father loves ME as I am, not as I wish I had been, or wish I were, or wish to become. He loves me here and now, with all my follies and mistakes, deliberate and ignorant. I think that has been a key for me. I may slip into that old pattern of thinking, wanting forgiveness from them before I could forgive myself, but that isn't up to me and Heavenly Father won't withhold His love until that happens. I believe that this change will help me to never forget His love on the deepest feeling level.
"Your children will benefit from your calm connection and loving presence. Heavenly Father and your dear husband can help hold you while you continue to hold a place for your children."
Great words of advice. It would be useful to know how much the your son and fiance drank. Is drinking ruining their lives or is it merely social drinking? If the former, then intervention would be warranted. But if the latter, then be grateful that your son is capable of pursuing a career and marriage. Attend the marriage. Show your love for your son. Because if you don't attend the marriage, then you only risk incurring significant strain to your relationship with him, his fiance, and perhaps your future grandchildren. And if you want to bring him back to the beliefs that you raised him in, you're best bet is showing unconditional love and happiness for what he has achieved. Try to show genuine happiness for his finding a partner whom he loves. I'm assuming that you and your husband are in your early 60s. Depending on how good your health is, you probably have 15 to 25 years of mortal life left (maybe even more). That's still a lot of time. You will find yourself happier by always showing a loving presence.
I call each day a blessing even though my husband left me with 8 children and now all of those children are less active. I continue to love and support them and encourage them to help each other. I have an attitude of gratitude for the blessing of having them in my life and teaching me the hard lessons that make me a better and more sensitive person. I too hold fast to the words of the prophets and the affirmation of God's promises heard in the temple.
We, too, have experienced great pain because of the choices some of our children have made. Now I have come to the understanding that I cannot bleed every time my child cuts himself. That is not Heavenly Father's plan. I think all we can do is continue to love our children and pray for them and then focus on strengthening our OWN
relationship with our Savior. They are HIS children, too, and we must trust that he will deal with them in love and mercy. Sometimes we just have to "let go" and accept what is.
I feel bad for this woman. Not because some of her children have
I realize the question is from someone not seeking pity. It is apparent the parents have the character of steel, of greatness. This does not however inure them to the tragedies that have filled their lives. My wife and I were lucky in that respect. Our daughters are faithful to the church and it's values. My son was too until he was killed by a drunk driver. Blessings and God's love to the parents and theirfamily during these most trying times.
I also am a mother of two wayward children; my mother is the mother of 4, one deceased; my 4 sisters each have wayward children. I learned from her and my sisters going through the same thing to keep my self in a position to always be aware of the small critical teaching moments, to love and to continue to serve them no matter what.
Something that helps remind me they are in God's hands are the scriptures and my own life of leaving the path for a time. I know what God has done to mold me into who I am today and I believe with all my heart some of my choices helped me to get where I am. I wish at times I would have made other choices, yet on the other hand I am grateful for the choices and the hard lessons I have learned so I could be compassionate and understand and feel God changing my life even though it was hard but I came to know my Savior through my challenges. I have no doubt God is aware of each of our children and I have no doubt he will feel after them when the timing is right. I just keep my faith in my Savior strong so when that time happens I am ready to help them however the Lord lets me.
We have eight children as well. They are all adopted. Four are not church active, and do not live church standards. Pray a lot. Show love whenever you can. Above all, change requires courage, so, encourage your children and support all the good they do. Criticism is never constructive, in our experience. Keep your covenants and be a good example of the joyful life and the peaceful walk.
The couple should read the book Rescuing Wayward Children by Larry Barkdull. Excellent resource!
Having had experience with this, I answer the question asked in your title this way: find a bigger God! Put differently, find a bigger understanding of God and the at-one-ment. How big is your God? How big is God's grace? Don't tell God how lost your child is, tell God how much you trust His saving power in your life and the life of your loved ones! Breathe people! The God who says it is HIS work and HIS glory to bring to pass OUR immortality and eternal life knows what He is doing! We don't give God a problem too big for His will!
I have learned much more about the Savior and his atoning sacrifice while dealing with a wayward child than I ever would have if my child had chose the right path. I have found comfort in the words of the prophets. I have collected any quote from a prophet I could find about dealing with wayward children and the promises of the temple. Stay strong yourself. Go to the temple with the thought of your posterity. Believe the promises you hear there. Search the scriptures. My favorite scripture is found in D&C 50: 40-42. I believe the Savior will make all things right. If not in this life then the next.
I think it is also important to remember that we can get a priesthood blessing for help. With the wedding coming up she might be concerned about the day and a priesthood blessing for herself and her husband might make the day bearable.
I also know that through time the Lord can help change and soften hearts and it is for this reason they could place the child's name repeatedly on the temple prayer roll. (where hundreds of people will be praying for them)
I've found that reading the scriptures no matter what the challenge will give us new insights because of what we're experiencing in the "outside world." That inside moment when you see a new principle for the first time because your heart and spirit are hungry for some kind of nourishment and help is one of the greatest blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and its accompanying sacred canon.
My wife and I have raised 6 children - 2 served missions and now 5 of the 6 are inactive and are similar to the sister with 8 children. For the longest time we beat ourselves up mentally and we came to the conclusion that they had made decisions in their lives that they had to live with and we couldn't do anything about it. We also realized that we could not dwell on their action as it was affecting our health . We decided to live our lives the way Heavenly Father would want us to and we follow the counsel of our leaders. We still have good family get togethers and do fun things together. .
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