Tuesday, May 2, 2017: Would We Know?

 

homeless-jesus-on-park-bench

Luke 24:13-31 13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him. 17He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. 18One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19“What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” 25He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. 28As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.

Would you know Jesus if you were to meet him on the street?

Would he be what you expected?

The folk singer Woody Guthrie, in his song “Jesus Christ” tells us of how Jesus was “laid in his grave” because he preached about giving all we have to the poor…then he goes on to say:

“If Jesus was to preach like He preached in Galilee, they would lay Jesus Christ in His grave”.

Of course if we could recognize him as Jesus, we’d treat him with more respect, but I wonder how Jesus would be treated if we could not see him, and he came to us as he came before: a poor child born into poverty, who grew to be a preacher or a community activist, calling upon the ‘haves’ to give to the ‘have nots’?

In these days, where everything seems to be a reason for an argument, he may not have been accepted. Some would say he wasn’t going far enough, others would say he was going too far!

Like the disciples, on the road to Emmaus, would we fail to recognize him as Jesus, and more importantly, would we accept his message of care for the poor, and the poor in spirit, his call to reach out to all people with compassion, not just those we like?

What would we tell our children?

All good questions, but instead of wondering if we would know Jesus if we saw him today, we should focus on see Christ who is present in our midst right here and now!

If we just look, we will see Christ in the faces of all those around us: the rich, the poor, the old, the young, and our children. If we open our minds and hearts enough, we can also see the Christ in the faces of those who follow different faiths, or who have no faith at all!

It is written that we have been made in God’s image, and when we follow the example of Christ, to share God’s love with the world, we are truly living in that image. When we help others, by sharing what we have learned, as single parents and as people, we are the face of Christ in the world!

Moreover, when we allow others to help us, we are also acting as Christ!

As single parents, we don’t often like to be told how to raise our kids, or to get any unsolicited advice from others; however, when we swallow our pride and accept this help, we are not only doing good for ourselves, but also being kind to those who are offering. It makes people feel good to help someone else!

This too, is how we can be Christ to the world.

And this is what we can teach our children, when they ask about where Jesus is, and how Christ touches our lives: that Christ is here with us, when we carry the message of God’s love for the world. Christ is with us in the homeless and poor, in the sick and in those who mourn, and with those who struggle with the devastation of addiction, in their lives.

Christ is with us when we seek to help those whose voices cry out in the wilderness of our world, proclaiming the good news of God’s love by carrying out the ministry of Jesus, who called on us to serve the poor and the poor in spirit.

Let Us Pray:

Dear God, please help us to see the face of Christ in all those around us, those we help and those who offer to help us. Let us be an example of your love in action to our children as we live our faith out loud, by showing compassion to all those in need…especially those we do not necessarily like. Let us remember that we are called to be Christ to the world, seeking reconciliation over resentment, and unity over division, as we are all well-loved children of God!

Amen

 

Saturday, April 15, 2017: The In-Between

Ezekiel 37:1-4 NRSV   Sealed-Tomb

1The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”

This is the “in-between” day.

Jesus’ execution has been carried out, he has been laid in the borrowed tomb, and our day is quiet. For the disciples, it must have been a day of uncertainty, a day that tested their faith, a day when they might have felt the absence of God. It is not uncommon for us, people of faith, to sometimes feel God’s absence in our lives.

As single parents, often faced with overwhelming responsibility, there may be times, when we, like Ezekiel in the Valley of the Dry Bones, find ourselves in a place that seems hopeless, where we feel far from God’s love. If this does happen, it is nothing to beat ourselves up about, it is part of being human.

Unfortunately, life is not always fair, and despite our best efforts to do the right thing, the ‘right thing’ does not always happen for our children or ourselves! It is at moments like these, when I needed God most, when I found that I was not on speaking terms with the Almighty. It is not that God had left me, but I still felt God’s absence in my life…because I was so angry because life had gone so sour for me (or so I thought)!

The good news is that God is strong enough to take our anger, and that we can never lose God’s love – God is never absent! Just as while we may not always like how our children behave, we will never stop loving them!

So, on this day, when we are in the in-between place with Jesus in the tomb, we can feel as if we are on our own! As if God is absent.  However, we know the truth, it is in the scripture…for in the Valley of the Dry Bones, when all seems lost, there is hope, because God is with us! The next verses tell of the power of God’s Word – which in Hebrew is similar to the word for ‘breath’, breathes life into the bones, and instills new life!

Today’s scripture reminds us that no matter how bad the situation looks, we are never alone, God is never absent, and we are never without hope!

Easter promises new life and new beginnings, but before we can get to the light of Easter, we have to go through the darkness of Good Friday, and the absence of that quiet Saturday of grief and uncertainty.  It is these days that test our faith, but then it is not always a bad thing to re-examine our faith on a regular basis, for this can cause our faith to grow!

It is with strong (if not always steady) faith, that we can face these moments when we feel as if God is absent, by reaching out in prayer and in fellowship with those we can connect with, the people who are the voice of God in our lives, who can breathe new life into our faith, and give us new hope!

Let Us Pray:

Dear God, on this “in-between” day, when we are remembering when Jesus was in the tomb, let us remember that no matter unfair live may seem, or what struggles we may face as parents and people, that you are never absent. Help us not to be too hard on ourselves for the anger and frustration that can cause us to feel separated from you, but to reach out to those who speak to us with your voice in our lives. Let us always remember that we must go through the pain of Good Friday, in order to get to the joy of Easter!

Amen

Friday April 14, 2017: Not Forsaken

Good Friday: Matthew 27:45-47 (NRSV)JesusCrucified

The Death of Jesus

45 From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46 And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.”

A powerful Gospel message for this Good Friday: Jesus at the end of his life, at the moment of his greatest torment, calling out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

How often have we, as single parents, as human beings, felt like crying out these words as well?

We could have felt this way when we first found out that were going to be single parents, when we ran into some problem that seemed too big to be faced: a conflict with the ‘other’ parent, an illness, trouble at school, or more serious issues of Addiction and the related interaction with the legal system.  Maybe it was when we were overwhelmed with all the demands of parenting, and felt as if we did not have enough time do everything that needed to be done!

It is normal for any parent to have those moments when we feel as if we cannot cope and we put our hands up to the heavens and ask God “Where are you?” This can be especially true for single parents, as raising children ‘alone’ is far from easy, and we can often feel forsaken, especially when it really does feel as if we are doing this all on our own!

The good news for this Good Friday is that we are never alone, and that God never forsakes us; just as God did not forsake Jesus on the cross! Jesus was aware of God’s presence in his life, even in his suffering! When he said “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” it was not a rebuke for God’s absence, but a very human cry for comfort!

The words Jesus used were from Psalm 22, which begins with this call to God, but ends with a confirmation of God’s power to heal and to comfort:

30Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord,
31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.

For this Psalm is actually a proclamation of God’s great love for us all, an assurance that God is always with us, and weeps with us through all of our challenges, when we face our own “Good Friday”! It is a Psalm of hope, spoken out by Jesus when all seemed hopeless…a promise of hope that is for all of us!

A promise that no matter how dark and alone we may feel, that the bright morning light of Easter is upon us!

Let Us Pray:

Dear God, we are grateful today for the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, and for the hope found in the Resurrection! Please let us remember that we will never be forsaken, that you are always with us and our children, no matter what challenges we face in life! Help us never to give in to the blackness of our fears, let us instead remember that we live in the light of Easter, not the darkness of Good Friday! Thank you that your Grace and love are an active force in our lives through those who share our journey with us through this world!

Amen

Monday, April 3, 2017: It’s Okay to Weep

John 11:35 (KJV):jesus-wept  Jesus wept.

This is the shortest verse in the Bible, but also one of the most powerful, as it shows us the depth of Jesus’ humanity and compassion, as he mourns the loss of his friend Lazarus, and shares his grief with the man’s sisters Mary and Martha as well as all those gathered at the tomb.

This is a fitting Gospel as we face the last few weeks of Lent, a time of change, of darkness, we we journey with Jesus toward Good Friday!

We often see this at funerals, just like with Lazarus and with the death of Jesus himself: family and friends will come together to support each other in times of grief and loss.  We tell stories about the person we lost, and offer each other comfort and a shoulder to cry on.  It healthy to mourn, to cry and to let our feelings out…this is how we get through a hard time, by facing it head-on, not denying our pain. When we lose someone close to us, it is natural to reach out to others, and most are anxious to help, to listen and to support. Death is something unavoidable, something we all have to face, and a funeral is one of the places where we can weep openly without worry of judgement, it is a time when our weeping will be met with understanding.

However, as single parents, we can be faced with things we do not want to share openly, and we wind up weeping alone. When faced with issues such as Addiction or Abuse, and the interaction with the Legal & Mental Health Systems that often come along with both, it is normal to feel embarrassed, or to be afraid that others would not understand, or look down on us and our children for our troubles. I understand these feelings because I have been through this myself. It is a natural thing to want to hide the bad news, especially for those of us who were raised by a generation who felt that family troubles should kept private.

However, we have learned that troubles left hidden the darkness only fester and grow worse.  In addition, it is difficult to get the help we need if no one knows we need help.

As we struggle to face those things that cause us embarrassment or fear, today’s Gospel gives us hope! With these simple words: “Jesus Wept” we are reminded that Jesus knows what it is like to feel pain, to mourn, to worry and to care for someone who has fallen so far away that we doubt they can be reached. With today’s Gospel, we have hope because Jesus feels the same pain we are faced with, and is not afraid to share it with others.

In the same way also, it is not only ‘okay’ to share our pain and worry with others, but necessary…for that is how we find healing, by reaching out to each other for help. For it is through the compassion and care of others that God’s love reaches out to us!

Parenting, single or partnered, is not easy, nor is it something that we do alone, we need help! We also need forgiveness for our own failings, and for the failings of those we love…and in this forgiveness, we find Grace, for we are often far too hard on ourselves as single parents, as we take on more than our share of responsibility when things go badly! It is through this Grace, shared with others who have walked the same paths, that we are reminded that while we are called to be parents we are not required to be perfect, and neither are our children!

It is this Grace, that is shared with the simple words “Jesus wept” that reminds us that our painful journey does not end in the darkness of Good Friday, but moves forward to the first light of Easter morning, illuminating the empty tomb, giving hope to the world!

Let Us Pray:

Dear God, please give us the courage to weep, and to share our struggles, especially when we want to keep them to ourselves. Help us not to let embarrassment or fear hold us back from getting the help we need. Let us remember that you know our pain, and are weeping with us, and that you speak to us through those who offer their compassion and support.  In sharing their experience, strength and hope with us, they are also sharing your Grace and forgiveness…reminding us not to be so hard on ourselves, that just as we love our children, you too love us, as imperfect as we are.

Amen

Sept 25, 2016: To Follow our Faith…

(c) The Fitzwilliam Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) The Fitzwilliam Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Luke 16:19-31; The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham.[a] The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side.[b] 24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27 He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Please forgive me for getting political… I usually stay away from politics on this blog, but I feel very strongly about this election, so I am breaking that rule today.

Like any parent, as single parents, we too want our children to inherit a decent world from us, a place where they can thrive, and enjoy the freedom that we have come to take for granted as Americans.

However, as has often been said, freedom does not come without responsibility.  Just as we are called to nurture and care for our children, so too are we to care for this gift of freedom, a gift inspired by God’s gracious love for us.  Therefore, one of our responsibilities is to vote in the coming Presidential election.

Unfortunately, our choice is not all that easy this time.  More and more it seems as if there are no good choices, and that it is not so much who we are voting for, but who we are voting against.  While it can be hard to explain this to our children, there will probably come a time when we will have to tell them who we voted for and why.

When that time comes, I am sure you want to be proud of your choice, and not have to feel the shame of making an irresponsible choice for a foolish reason, like “I don’t like her voice” or for a more serious reason, because you find yourself questioning our ability to trust.

Speaking for myself, I feel that as a Christian my choice is clear:  I cannot live according to my faith, to fulfill the call to be Christ to the world, nor can I share this gift with my child, if I cast my vote for someone who goes against what Christ has taught us.

With today’s parable, Jesus teaches us that the lack of compassion, and disdain for the poor, can cause serious consequences.  It can create a chasm between people, breaking our relationships, causing resentments and teaching selfishness.  It is this selfishness which can not only separate us from each other, but also from God’s Grace…just as the rich man, who was trapped in Hades and unable to receive relief from Lazarus, who would have wanted to help, but could not.

Now, it is not as if God had turned away from the Dives, instead, he had closed himself off from God’s love by not sharing this with others.

In the Jewish faith, rather than a “Hell” filled with fire and brimstone, there is a belief in Sheol, an empty place, where God’s grace cannot reach us.  This seems even more torturous than being poked with pitchforks for all eternity, for Jesus tells us that Dives can gaze across the abyss and see the beggar Lazarus in Paradise with Abraham, but cannot reach him.  He calls for help, and although Lazarus wants to help him, and even Abraham has pity, the chasm is too far across.

It is too late for Dives, he has already made his choice, but he wants to save his brothers from the same fate.  Abraham again is sorry, but cannot help, saying that they have already been warned time and time again, and that even if someone came back from the dead they would not listen.  This may be true…even for us, but we have good news…as always:  While we may not always listen to what Jesus teaches us, in his resurrection Christ is a bridge across the abyss of sin that can separate us from God and from each other!

As followers of Christ, we are called to tear down the walls that separate us, to bring people together, not to pull people apart.  This is why, as a Christian, I cannot vote for a candidate who shames the poor and the sick, calling them “losers” and mocking them.  I cannot vote for someone who spews hurtful lies and rhetoric that put others down, and causes them pain and emotional distress.

I cannot vote for someone who calls himself a faithful Christian but promotes fear and division, who calls for the registration of those he deems to be threats because they are ‘different’…yet who are we to judge who is “different”, who is worthy of God’s love…who is a “winner” or a “loser”?

While I am not crazy about either candidate running, in order to ensure that my daughter has a world left in which she has the opportunities she needs to thrive, I know who I cannot vote for, not if I am to be true to how I practice my Christian faith.  Not if I care about future generations and what kind of world we will leave them…

We have been warned, not only through the teachings of Christ, but also on the anvils of experience; as when people are afraid of change, of the ‘different’ they often make poor choices, that may have the trains running on time, but that threaten our very souls and widen the chasm between us.

As Christians we are called to share God’s love with the world, and to teach our children about sharing that love, by reaching out in compassion to help those in every kind of need, even to those who are so broken that they have closed themselves off from God…they may not get our votes, but they can still get our compassion, as no matter how wide the chasm the light of Christ can always reach those who may find themselves in darkness.

So, for the sake of our children, and for all those who come after, I am asking that those of you who live in the United States gets out to vote, and to vote according to your faith and conscience…do what is right, do what Jesus would want us to do.

Let us Pray:

Dear God, help us to follow your path in our lives and in our choices.  Help us to live according to our faith, to what you have taught us: to show compassion for all those in need, and to share the light of your love with all those who live in darkness: of poverty, illness, violence, and ignorance.  Let us teach our children compassion and love, showing them our faith in action as we strive to be your healing presence in this broken world.

Amen

Thursday – June 30, 2016: Children of Light

light-of-god

Ephesians 5:6-14

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be associated with them. For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light — for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

We are all children of the light, because we live in the glow of Easter, bathed in the grace of God’s love and forgiveness!

This does not mean that we are perfect or sinless, while there is good in all of us, sometimes it can be hard to see, as our light fails to shine due to the challenge of facing life on life’s terms!  These challenges can leave us feeling stressed, frustrated and worn out.  But this is to be expected, and for that reason we can give ourselves a break, because it is just part of life.

And the good news is that we are forgiven for falling short, because we are all children of God.

Just as God forgives us out of love, we forgive our children, who can sometimes fail to shine, because we love them!  Like us, our children struggle with fears, frustrations and disappointments that they are uncertain of how to handle.  Life is not easy for them, and this can cause them to fall short and find themselves caught up in “…the unfruitful works of darkness”.

Many of us have fallen out of the light, and found ourselves lost in the darkness, some say it is a rite of passage, something we all must face in our lives.  I don’t believe that, but I do accept that it is part of our human experience to face our own demons, one can only hope that our children can be spared this trial.   For those who do fall into this darkness, our prayers can be that they find their way out, and back to the light.   This usually takes some help, from those who have known their own trials, and have been saved through the love that God shares with each of us, both directly and through the people we share our lives with!

As parents, we can be touched by the darkness that can envelope our children, as we feel every bit of torment and struggle that effects them, and it can be very painful watching them slip deeper into the darkness of bad choices from misbehavior at school, trouble with relationships, to falling prey to addictions, and related run-ins with the Police, etc., and knowing there is little we can do for them.  We may even start blame ourselves for not being good enough parents (especially as single parents) and turn our frustrations inward and wind up beating ourselves up…which is not at all helpful.

Yet although we may often feel helpless in the face of this darkness, there is good news, as noted earlier: That we are all well-loved children of God, who does not want us to be lost in the darkness, but has given us the gift of forgiveness and grace to fill our lives with the light of hope!  This hope comes from the great love God has for us…and with this love God has promised never to leave us alone in the dark, even if we are the responsible for getting lost in the first place.

That is the beauty of forgiveness that is grown from a love that cannot be denied or lost.  We have no choice in the matter: God loves us, just as we are and right where we are!  This love, when shared together, can help us to find the light of hope even during the darkest of days.

In the same way, our children also have no choice but to be surrounded by our love for them (even if they say they do not want it).  When we share that love with them, no matter what, there will be hope that they too can find their way out of the darkness, for the love we share with them is a reflection of the love given to all of God’s children!

We are all children of the light, as we all live in the light of the Risen Christ, the light of hope and of new life…the light that has saved us all, and is transforming our world, bringing it from darkness to light.

Let Us Pray:

Dear God, thank you for the gift of your love, given freely through the Resurrected Christ.  We also thank you that we cannot lose this gift, just as our children cannot lose our love.  Please let us remember that your love is given to us both directly and through the compassion of those around us, and let us share this same love with our children and all others who may find themselves lost in darkness.  Please lead us and guide us all towards the light that is transforming our world, into your Kingdom…where the darkness is unknown.

Amen

June 8, 2016: “Oh, God said to Abraham…”

Tiepolo-Abraham-and-Isaac-wga

Genesis 22:1-14 (NRSV)

After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

I doubt that I would have the faith of Abraham.

As a father, I would do anything I could to keep my daughter safe, I would like to think that any parent would, even Abraham.  Yet, in today’s reading we find Abraham tested, as God gives him a command that seems impossible for any loving parent to follow.  It must have been hard to Abraham to make this journey with Isaac, and have faith that God’s love for him would not fail…and in the end, just as he was about to offer his son as a sacrifice, God intervened, letting him know it was just a test, and that he had passed.

And instead of being angry or upset, Abraham offered up praises to God, for sparing the life of his son, and seeing them both through this extreme test!

Fortunately for us, God does not test our faith the way Abraham was tested…because we live in the light of the Resurrection, God’s ultimate gift of love to us as the children of God.  However, this does not mean that we are not tested…especially as parents!

Many of us may have had the experience of watching our children go astray, and fall victim to the evils of this world, like addiction in all of its forms.  When my own daughter was struggling, I would have done anything to keep her safe, even if it meant sacrificing myself so that she could be free from her bondage to drugs!  Yet no matter what I did, nothing helped, and often my best efforts made things worse!

In time, I simply had to let go, and trust in God’s grace, that the light of Christ also shone for her, as well as for me!

It took a lot of faith to trust that God would see us through…and I did not always have the faith of Abraham, as mine often faltered as I gave in to my fears and frustrations, but then, this is normal, because I love my daughter, and I am still human.  Knowing I could not ‘fix’ my daughter, I reached out to others for help and support: friends, 12-step groups, my church and professionals.

Today I see all these people as signs that God was still with me, even if I didn’t feel like it then!  These people helped me to keep my faith, and helped me to detach with love, giving my daughter the room to be able to begin to turn things around, and then providing me with the strength to be there for her when I really could help.

Through the faith they shared with me, my faith was strengthened and I was able to trust in the truth that it is never God’s will for his children to know pain or suffering, but instead for us all to be happy, joyous and free from the evils of this world. Free to rejoice as Abraham did, whenever we are delivered from our fear and our struggles, free to reach out to help others, and free to recover and move on, if our endings are not always happy ones…for God’s love will never leave us, and that in the light of this love we are never alone.

Let Us Pray:

Dear God, thank you for watching over us, and for seeing us through any test that life my offer us.  Please help us to have just some of the faith of Abraham, when faced with these tests, especially those that effect our children…those we are powerless in the face of.  Let us remember that you are powerful and that, like us, you never want any of your children to know pain in their lives.

Amen