1 Peter 5:6-11 “6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” NIV
My oldest son turned 30 yesterday and he doesn’t even know what that means. Some would say he is lucky. Those who believe that God’s Hand is over everything would say that he was blessed. Still other’s have said that he deserves to be where he is today. After all. He was a drug addict and a thief. Some would lay blame. On me, on his father, on society. On the bad friends, the bad choices, the path he chose in life. Yet what does luck or blame have to do with the right now? Does it change anything? Will it remove the brain damage or shape the tomorrows?
When my son was born, I was at a bad place in my young life. I had made some wrong turns off of the straight and narrow. Having only a year before given birth to my oldest daughter, I was overwhelmed with immaturity and inability. Unfortunately I belonged to a religion at that time that beat me to death with guilt. I was told I was a bad wife, a bad mother, a bad example. I was far away from home and family and had no Godly women to turn to. The lions were prowling around me daily and the world told me to leave. So I did. Taking my one year old, I left my son with his father and ran as far as I could.
Years passed and life moved on and eventually my son came to live with me again. By this time I had married again and had more children. For a while, life moved along in a predictable pattern. Then my son became involved with drugs and alcohol and I made the agonizing decision when he was 16 to tell him that if he couldn’t or wouldn’t stop those things, he would have to move out. I had five other children to think about. No one around me knew many of the details of what occurred in those horrible months leading up to that decision. I stood in the living room looking out at the end of the long driveway at my boy. Standing there, surrounded by his things, defiant to the end, waiting on someone to come and pick him up.
Some around me were brutal in their attack of me and my decision. Friends I thought I could count on turned away. Because I chose not to tell the world about the things that he had done, all they saw was the decision. To the world it seemed like I had abandoned my son once again. Once more I was alone, beaten down by guilt, told how bad of a mother I was, how bad of a wife I was, how useless I was. My world collapsed once again. I thought that God had abandoned me. I had no idea that it was me who abandoned Him. Once again, the lions moved in for the kill and it was years before I could even bring myself to speak to Him, begging Him to rescue me. Yet, because I didn’t know where to look or where to turn, I couldn’t hear Him calling out to me. I turned to the world once again and the world was more than willing to keep me captive.
In 2008 my son suffered cardiac arrest from a drug overdose. More than 8 kinds of drugs were in his system not including the alcohol. It is likely he was trying to commit suicide since he had just lost his job due to drug use. I was called back to Georgia and told to make the choice to take him off life support. I had not seen my son in over 10 years. I had no idea of his life other than that he had found a good job which he had held for 7 years and he had seemed to have turned his life around, even getting married. When he started breathing on his own and the doctor told us that it was miracle he was alive, we were stunned. God had covered my son with His grace and given life where death was certain. Yet he had been without oxygen for 25 minutes. No one could tell us how much brain damage he had suffered. Only time would tell.
Having a 30 year old who has no memory is something most people can’t even imagine. His wife of 3 months chose to annul the marriage and he was put out of her house without our knowledge. A kind man found him living in an abandoned house. He had a piece of paper in his wallet with our name on it. This man tracked us down and on New Year’s eve my son came home.
There are those in my life who would say that I deserve my current situation. That it is my punishment to have to take care of my son for the rest of his life. Once, in my old life, I would have raged at my God for the guilt and anger I would feel. Now I just smile. For the God I know, my Abba, does not punish bad choices. He is the God of second chances. And third, and fourth, and a million more chances. When the lions prowl around my soul and try to tear into my heart, I know which way to turn now. Psalm 56:4 “In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” NLT I no longer hear the words of the world when it comes to my son. He did what he did and I did what I did and none of that matters now. Only my Abba is my judge. And HE loves me in spite of my choices. I am also surrounded by prayer warrior sisters and brothers who come to my aid when the world says I should be burdened by guilt. When I am on my knees after another day of setbacks, I feel His loving hand on my face, wiping away my tears. I am also held safe in the arms of a loving man who bears my burdens with me and keeps me strong when I tend to be weak, a man who says “our son” instead of “your son”. God gave me back my son. So happy birthday son. God has put you in a place where you are safe from the lions.