The struggle with my son Vader has not lessened or ended. It changes as he searches for something he’ll never find: the quick fix. He’s looking for that one thing that will erase the past, make it right, remove the pain, return his dad to him. I’ve watched him jump from one thing to the next for almost 5 years. It’s a difficult and painful thing to watch your child experience, especially when the next quick fix is a failure.

Most of us know by now that there is no such thing — that healing takes time, work, and forgiveness, which can be an arduous task. In the meantime, he takes the pain, anger, and hatred out on his family. He is feared by so many of us because we’ve experienced his plunge into rage so deep and dark that it became disturbingly violent. So we choose to placate, tiptoe, and generally avoid his pissy moods as much as we can.

I set some new boundaries lately and called a family meeting to discuss them. I laid out some new rules for Vader about sleep patterns, reasonable bedtimes for a teen who has to be up at 5 am for school, and helping out around the house. My son, of course, had some choice words about all of it, and those included his hatred for God and his ‘decision’ to quit attending church with us. God was one of those things Vader thought would be a quick fix, but when that didn’t pan out he gave up and moved along.

One of the expectations I place on my children is that we all attend church together on Sunday. They aren’t required to speak to anyone, or participate in any other extra activities with the kids at the church unless they so choose. It’s family time, and I hope they will also discover by attending that they are loved and valued in God’s house — it’s a place they can always seek and find help.

So I shot down Vader’s decision about quitting church, which displeased him greatly.

My other kids were hurt and distressed over Vader’s disdain for God. They wanted to know why, but Vader has no answers he’s willing to share — mostly, I think, because he doesn’t really know why himself.

Later on, in our bedroom, Atticus and I were talking about what happened with Vader and the things he said. My husband gently suggested that I need to figure out the right time to quit. I’m not a quitter, and said as much. Then he explained that I need to find the place where I stop thinking I can do whatever Vader needs, or find whatever Vader is looking for, and quit so that God can take over.

It’s a monumental undertaking to attempt to stop helping enabling my child in order to let God take over and be there for him.

Some people believe that when we’re heading in a bad direction in life that it’s God who will take us as low down as we can possibly go in order to bring us around to what is right. I don’t. I believe He allows us to continue choosing what we want, digging ourselves a deeper and deeper hole, until we realize we have nothing and see Him standing right there with us, ready and willing to help us climb out of whatever pit we’ve sunk into so completely. It’s that place where we really meet God — and it’s a situation of our own making, not God’s.

No parent wants to see negative things affecting their children, but I suppose Atticus was saying that I have to let Vader wallow in whatever muck he’s choosing until he sees that God is the One who is always there — the only One who will never fail him. Right now I don’t know that I can step back and let Vader fall on his own — not because I don’t trust God to be there, but because I’m afraid that stepping away would fail my son.

I have so much to think about.


7 thoughts on “Quit

  1. lizstlouis says:

    Oh my I feel your journey…It is the most challenging part of being a Christian Mother. Atticus is right but i know how hard that is. Hang in there and ask God to keep Vader in the palm of His hand. I have 10 scriptures I pray over Nat (my 14yrold) in the same effort that you are in which is to leave it up to God.
    I’ll post them later when i get back from work…

    Liz x

    • thank you, lizstlouis. I would definitely appreciate seeing those verses.

      • lizstlouis says:

        10 powerful prayers to help you fight for the heart of your son…
        1. Create in my son a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within him (Psalm 51:10)
        2. May my son walk after You,God, and fear You and keep Your commandments and obey Your voice. May he hold fast to You.( Deuteronomy 13:4)
        3. May my son be strong and courageous and not fear or be in dread, for it is You, Lord, our God, who goes with him. You will never leave him or forsake him.(Deuteronomy 31:6)
        4. May my son walk before you, God, as King David walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that You have commanded him and keeping Your statutes and rules (1 Kings 9:4)
        5. Like Timothy, may my son be an example to believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity (1Timothy 4:12)
        6. May my son listen to the way of wisdom and be led in the paths of uprightness (Proverbs 4:11)
        7. Lord, be with my son in trouble; rescue him and honor him (Psalm 91:5)
        8. May my son honor his father and mother…(Ephesians 6:2)
        9. May my son have love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)
        10. may my son think on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is commendable; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, may he think about these things (Phillippians 4:8)

  2. Leah Ness says:

    My mother has been going through a similar situation with my younger brother over the last few years. My father’s continual reminder to her is “You can’t do the Holy Spirit’s job.” It reminds me of the parable of the prodigal son. That father didn’t try to keep his son from leaving, neither did he follow him or try to help him while he was in the pigpen. It seems harsh and unloving of the father not to protect his son from those hard lessons. But as we see at the end of the story, only God could change the son’s heart; the father’s responsibility was to watch, pray, and prepare a heart of forgiveness for his son’s return. I can only imagine the pain you must feel over your child’s self-destructive behavior. I want to encourage you that God loves your son and has a future and a hope for him. I’ll be remembering you in my prayers. Hang in there!

    • Leah Ness, I’m glad you mentioned the prodigal son because I don’t seem to be able to see the forest for the trees regarding this whole thing. Most people would make the correlation, but when I read your comment a light went on in my brain. It doesn’t make it easier, but it gives me hope. Thank you so much for your encouragement!

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