Don’t Worry

Worry and anxiety keep trying to take over this week. Anxiety over someone else’s’ choices. Anxiety over his choices that I cannot control. Why? Because I love this person to my core and he is hurting. He is my son. In his pain he lashes out at everyone trying to help him. My own anxiety builds as he piles his stuff layer upon layer on top of my own worry and self-doubt. This pile of dog do-do does nothing to help either one of us nor does it serve God’s purpose. “Let go, Let God!”, you say? It is that simple and yet not that easy for me. I do let go and give it to God…and then I take it right back again without even realizing it. Think about how helpful it’s been in your past to ease someone else’s worry by simply saying, “Oh honey, don’t worry.” Did it work? Not likely

I need a strategy.

Farrrel, Jones and Dornacher break it down so well in their study Finding Joy in Philippians and bring to real-life Philippians 4:8. The list below is taken from this book page 178.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise dwell on these things. Phil 4:8

What is true? God will work all for my good.

My son’s struggles are his struggles and my feeble efforts to help will somehow be brought around to God’s will for his good and my good.

What is noble? Put other’s needs first.

This is noble. This is tough. He is verbally mean, resists all my efforts to help and redirect him to healthy choices, and sullenly takes, takes and takes. I pray for wisdom to see what his needs are at his core. And not to shut down inside from demands, entitlements and ingratitude he throws at me hourly. (I know some of you are saying…”Where are her boundaries?” keep reading.)

What is right? Trusting God

I trust God with my son. After all, he is His son! He entrusted his birth mother to give him life and me to mother him since the age of 3. I haven’t been perfect. I haven’t always done the right thing. AND, knowing all of this beforehand, God still trusted me to be his mom.

What is pure? Avoid selfishness and conceit

Again, this one is tough. When he is mean I want to curl up and protect myself. I want to shut down. While it is right to set boundaries it’s hard to walk that fine line of healthy boundaries while not shutting down. He doesn’t respect the boundaries that I set and I’m not yet willing to kick him out. So, I need to guard myself from becoming hard. I need to stay open to my son. God heals my wounds and protects my heart faithfully.

What is lovely? Our eternal dwelling place that’s free from anxiety

I love this one. His choices and his behavior are illogical. He makes choices that hurt himself and take him further from where he says he wants to be. Focusing on my eternal home where everything will make sense and there is no worry or anxiety gives me peace. I have a picture in my minds eye right now and it makes me smile.

What is admirable? Standing strong

I do this. I stand strong in my fierce love for him. I stand strong to fight for him. I stand strong in Jesus who is the healer for us all.

What is excellent? The character of God is working in me

This IS excellent. I know, confidently, that all that we are going through is used by God to work for good in me. I look to Christ for answers and He is faithful to grow me to be more like Him each day.

What is praiseworthy? God’s loving care

I praise God for his loving care of me and of my son. I have seen God’s loving care work miracles in my life and in my family many times. He is holding me and my son, right now, in His loving care. Every minute. He is faithful

Dwell on these things. That is my strategy.

Mom’s don’t leave

She walked directly toward me in the oddly crowded IHOP at nearly midnight. She was a thin, tiny woman with short blonde spiky hair and tattoo sleeves on both arms. She stood over me and nearly yelled, “Mom’s Don’t Leave. Mom’s…Don’t…Leave”

I was alone at my table waiting to pay the check. Our son had just stormed off. I wasn’t sure if he would be waiting for me or disappear again for weeks. I was in a dilemma about what to do. He can’t live with us, we had decided, because of his uncontrolled anger, violent outbursts, destruction, drug use and thievery. His unbridled rage scares me. On this night, my husband out of town, I just didn’t know what to do. My baby boy-man was asking to come home. What do I do? How do I walk the line between loving my desperate, hurting son to enabling his drug use and bad choices. I wanted to hug him tightly and ease his pain. When he was small, that worked. But, mommy hugs no longer are all that’s needed to make him feel better.

Two hours previously I had once again picked up our son from jail. I was already asleep when he called. When someone calls from jail you get a robotic message that says, “You are receiving a call from an inmate at the criminal justice department. Will you accept the charges” You then need to call a different number, add money to the inmate account to pay for the call and then the inmate can call again and you can accept the charges. Finally on the phone with him, our son said, “Mom, they let me out can you come get me? I want to come home. I’m ready to do better.” He has said this before.


We are weary, lost and out of ideas of how to help our youngest. At 18 he left home with just a backpack, no high school degree, no job and no plans. He couch surfed for about 3 months until he finally chose the streets. He has been living on the streets for 2 years. Yes, he bounced around the shelters for a while, but then, after a short while, refused even to stay in shelters. He sleeps under bridges and eats out of dumpsters. He has said, many times, “I live ‘free’, Mom!”

That night, at IHOP, our conversation was a repeat of many we had had before.

Me… asking how we can help, what we need to do to support him. I asked if he was ready for rehab. I asked if he wanted help to get a job. I try hard to stick to boundaries we set to keep ourselves safe and not “enable him” (as all the books say)…walk the line between ensuring he knows we love him; we want the best for him; we want to support him and want him to succeed…We want him to be safe and happy.

And him…crying, confused and unable to say what he needs. He says he wants to get a job and wants to get off the streets. The conversation goes in circles. He says nothing. Curses at me. Threatens. And, then he walks away. Nothing is resolved.


That IHOP night, this little woman sat down in my booth stared me in the eyes and just said “I can see you are tired. Your face says you’ve nearly given up. Don’t give up on him. Mom’s..Don’t…Leave.” Her small fists beat on the table as she emphasized each word. “You need to always be there for him. Be there when he is at his bottom. Be there when he is doing well. Be there when things are crumbling. Mom’s…Don’t…Leave,” she repeated. “He needs to know that you are always going to be there.” She said, “Believe me, I was there, he will thank you for it later. Mom’s…Don’t…Leave.” Then she got up and left.

That was in August. We picked him up from jail again at 2am yesterday morning. This time seems different. (I have said that before) He is still here. And, we are here for him.