Is a son ever beyond hope?
Should a parent ever give up on praying for a child?
Let me tell you, there were times in the past 30 years when I wondered if the answer was yes.
After my husband died in 1977, my 17-year-old son turned to alcohol and drugs. They would dominate his life in Chicago for three decades – in and out of jail, bar fights and constant heartache. It’s a miracle he’s alive today. Once, he even got shot. The bullet just missed his heart.
For every one of those 30 years, I prayed.
In 1980, when my son was 20, I felt God telling me, “Go to the scripture that Kathy gave you.” Kathy was a woman who went to prayer meetings with me. She had written the scripture – Jeremiah 31:16-17 – on a piece of paper and told me “You may need this one day. Just tuck it away.”
Here’s what it says:
But now this is what the Lord says: “Do not weep any longer, for I will reward you,” says the Lord. “Your children will come back to you from the distant land of the enemy. There is hope for your future,” says the Lord. “Your children will come again to their own land.”
I walked around my house repeating it, believing that one day God would restore my son.
It would be 17 more years of praying and trying to administer tough love. Gentle love is easier for a mother. But tough love is what finally paid off, when I had got a son who had gone down the wrong path for so long.
In 2006, my son went to rehab in California. He had a born-again experience there, but then he relapsed into his addictions soon after he came home. About that time, one of the counselors in my prayer counseling ministry who lived near Rockford told me about the Rockford Rescue Mission.
In that spirit of tough love, I told my son about the Mission and said, “Right now you need a program more than you need me.” I had to release my son and give him the dignity of choice. I couldn’t change him. Only God could.
And I just kept praying: “Lord, I’m going to envision getting a phone call from Rockford Rescue Mission saying ‘Your son is here.’”
And then on Sept. 11, 2006, that call came. Pastor Loren from the Mission told me my son was starting the recovery program there.
To other praying, hurting parents, I’d simply say this: God honors faithfulness.
Find scriptures. Speak them out loud. The more you look, the more you find scriptures to feed you. And then you draw strength from that.
Rose Marie’s son, Dominick, has stayed the course and is currently in the Mission’s residential recovery program.
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I am very proud of my mother. For the first time in my life, I could see how much she loves people, God and most of all ME!
That’s because of what God’s doing in my life and, because of what Rockford Rescue Mission is doing for me!