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Insights on Fathering a Prodigal

I wanted to bring you this story because sometimes we don’t hear enough from the father’s point of view when facing a defiant and self-destructive child. Tom Yohe is the real deal, and he has fought hell for the victory with his daughter. Today he shares some powerful insights and feelings about being a father of a prodigal. I asked him, “What would you be the dynamic difference between the father and mother? Do you find that the struggle is similar? Or do you find that you deal with it differently? Please share your personal experience.

Tom and his wife get the hell parents to face when struggling with a prodigal child. Tom shares, “Well, Dena, my wife and I have been in full-time ministry. For most of our married life, we met in college at Christian University. We were in the pastoral ministry for several years. Then we transitioned, went overseas for a one-year stint with Campus Crusade. Then they asked us to come on staff after the end of that year. So we served with them. We were in mission work. Our dream was to serve overseas, but things were going south with our daughter. We first noticed it when she was age 12; she cut herself back then, you know, we just never heard of that as their concept. I had no way to process that. Then as she got into high school, she began experimenting, using drugs and alcohol, and things just went, went south from there. Her high school senior year was a mess. She barely graduated, but it went on for years after that. Again, we were around many full-time ministries, people who weren’t going through this. It was very isolating. We would tell our friends who were looking at universities for their children and tell us, “Oh, my son’s going into there, my daughter is going here.” We were looking for treatment centers, and that’s not a big conversation you want to have with everybody. It was tough, very isolating and a lot of guilt involved. Some people who were friends didn’t want to hang out with us anymore. I guess I could understand it. Maybe they didn’t want their daughters or their children around our daughter. I would probably want the same thing. But why did they isolate from us? Why did they push us aside? So it was, it was hurtful.

Tom shared, “Well, fathers do deal with it differently. A tendency, I think, for many men is to throw themselves into work because they see themselves as a provider. A lot of these things are costly. You know, if you get into treatment centers and counselors and what have you, then it’s easy to say, okay, this is how I’m dealing with it, I’m going to be the provider. I’m going to make sure that the counseling happens or their treatment centers, we have insurance, or what have you. But that’s also their way of escaping and disengaging from what’s happening. And often, the wife, you know, is left to deal with a lot of heat daily. So we were fortunate we were in ministry together, and we were with an organization that gave us leverage or freedom. We explained that we were walking through something hard right now. Then they go, okay, take some time. 

We would pass through. We would take hours, literally, up in our bedroom, trying to get on the same page when we were trying to deal with our daughter because we realized it didn’t take long, that if she found a weakness, she would exploit it. If we weren’t on the same page, we weren’t united, and what was coming out of our mouths, she would be quick to exploit that to get the attention off herself and onto us and get us arguing with each other.

There was a moment when God spoke to me and directed me to the book of Genesis. As I read through that, I looked at that and said, Oh, my gosh, God is a hurting parent. God created Adam and Eve and put them in a perfect environment. They didn’t have all the stuff going on and gave them one boundary and couldn’t keep it. Then they had children, and their son murdered their other son. I mean, it’s practical’s from the beginning. Yes. So I realized that God is a practical parent, and He knows my pain. He understands my fears and every emotion that I’m walking in. I can come to God with that because He’s walking with me. I mean, think about how many rebellious kids he has right now. It wasn’t too long in Genesis that He was ready to wipe out Europe because the hearts of men were so wicked. He said, “You know, I regret I’m grieving over what’s happening here.” Well, that’s the father grieving over what his children are doing. So thankfully, God didn’t wipe us out and had a plan to give us His Son.

There were some points of clarity as we battled the devil over our daughter. Some of these moments were more powerful than others. I would say that the one was when I had to rush to the hospital. Renee had cut herself up so deeply that they had to take her to the hospital. We had gone through so many other things with her, and I didn’t know what to do. God just spoke to me. He said, Tom, “I love you unconditionally. Tell Renee you love her unconditionally.” So when I went into the hospital room, she was so full of guilt and fear. She goes, “Oh, Daddy, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” I said, Renee, it’s okay. I said, look, nothing that you’ve done or has been done to you will ever change our love for you. We will love you unconditionally, and we will always love you. That was a powerful moment in our relationship. It wasn’t the end of her prodigal journey. But our relationship was there. And when she got into horrible things, she called us. She called for help. And that was very, very important.

Another important point is to learn about boundaries. We also need to learn how to set appropriate boundaries, and that’s part of it. You know, the verse, I think it’s in Hebrews; “God disciplines those whom He loves.” You know, discipline is not unloving. It’s sometimes the most loving thing we can do. When we set some clear boundaries, Dena and I spent time we figured out what those boundaries were, we figured out which ones we could enforce because I could set boundaries, but none of us were going to enforce them. What good is it? And we explain those boundaries to Renee. She knew them, and she understood them. So there was a very, very hard, hard reality that came to us one evening when she violated the boundary and had to experience the consequences. But in her writing and reflecting, she told us that was one of the most loving things we did, and she doesn’t resent us for it. She appreciated it. As a young boy, my father worked a lot. And he wasn’t in the home a lot. I knew they loved me and stuff like that, but I missed having him around. And I wasn’t the best of kids either. But, you know, if they didn’t discipline me, I began to wonder if they loved me or not because I think love does speak words of discipline at times.

Well, one of the things I got from this journey, fathering a prodigal, was gained a sense of humility. You know, it’s easy to be proud Out of everything’s working right, and you think, Hey, I’ve got this. But there was a deep sense of humility and added compassion for people walking through painful journeys. Unconditional love, you know, is the verse that God manifested His love for us and that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. Christ didn’t wait for us to clean up our act, didn’t wait for us to earn or deserve it. He gave it unconditionally, without concern about our response or lack of. So I think that love needs to continue to be there for our children; just as Christ loved us, we need to love them. Then I believe not to isolate, please, please don’t isolate. That’s the tactic of the enemy. God wants us in the community. That’s why He created the body of Christ, the church, and we’re not perfect as the body. But that’s the place to be supportive, other people who understand and will walk alongside you without criticism or judgment.

About Tom:

Tom and his wife, Dena, have spent the latter part of their lives with a ministry called. “Hope for Hurting Parents. They offer all kinds of resources and small groups. They have helped so many parents that have prodigal children. Please visit their site today.

Here is the link to the ministry: https://hopeforhurtingparents.com/
Here is the link for his book: https://amzn.to/3xR5T9K

Tom has also just released his amazing book, Moments of Clarity: Wisdom from the Father of a Prodigal. In this book, he shares the moments of clarity and wisdom from God he received. At the same time, his family endured the tumultuous journey through the mental illness, addiction, and self-harming actions of a rebellious teenage daughter. Each chapter contains hard-fought moments of clarity that are like refreshing therapy sessions, providing a much-needed deluge of grace.

I pray that this helped us all see deeper into a father’s heart facing a prodigal child for many years. Tom gave us insight into his parent’s broken hearts as he watched his daughter head down a destructive path in life. Yet, God’s redemptive hand moved through him and his daughter, and victory was found.

LINKS & RESOURCES

WEBSITE: https://www.LaineLawsonCraft.com

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Unsuccessful Suicide Story

Unsuccessful suicide attempts are a tough topic to talk about. We have been discussing suicide and suicidal thoughts in these last blogs and Warfare Parenting Podcast. Today, Lori Wildenberg shares her personal experience with her daughter’s unsuccessful suicide attempt.

This is Lori’s story.

Lori shared, “You know this, this is a tough topic. In the last episode, we talked about some of the signs demonstrating that perhaps the depression is getting deeper and could lead to suicide. And my daughter had some of those signs when she was younger, in middle school; she wrestled with an eating disorder. By the time she went to college, I had thought she was emotionally healthy. She started well. Then there was a lot of pressure with the particular major that she was in. It was a high-pressure major. So she had all the stress of the workload of college. She was also working a little bit, earning some extra spending money. She had some friendships that were getting somewhat difficult. All of those stressors started to keep piling on and piling on. 

Then the feelings of I would say she was feeling alone, or even feeling worthless, or perhaps feeling like she wasn’t ever really loved. All of which, I mean, if she were to stop and think about it, but your brain isn’t right when you’re going through these things, right? So she was wrestling with a lot of things and it started to get too much. When I would call her, at first, I could hear the sadness in her voice. Later, I found out that she was crying like every night. I didn’t know this. When we talked, she was four hours away, so it wasn’t like we were close. But we still had the phone, and I could hear the sadness in her voice. 

But, then I have to tell you, the scariest thing was hearing her voice void of emotion when I talked to her. That scared me. It was like my daughter would be like, I don’t care if a good thing happened to me, it doesn’t matter if a bad thing happens to me, I don’t feel anything. This was incredibly frightening. Well, after one of those calls, I got pretty scared, and I made a plan to go and see her, and I was going the next day. 

Well, the night before she attempted to take her life, she ended up telling me later. But I didn’t know that she had an unsuccessful attempt at the time. If you read my book, you’ll learn a little bit more about that. But I’d instead not get into that part of it. It is in the book because my daughter describes her own experience, and I leave that up to her. The book’s title is “Messy Hope Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression or Suicidal Ideation”. 

So when she came home with me, then the next thing was we went to the doctor. She got on a prescription to help stabilize some of the things that were going on with her and then made a plan for doing some therapy. All of those things help. Yet I think that one of the things that helped the most was graduation which was maybe six months from then. She ended up graduating from college. Then many of those triggers, the things triggering her, fell away, and she continued to get healthier and healthier, and everybody’s different. But I do know everybody needs help, and as parents, we can be a tool to provide more hope and help for our kids. God can use us in that

About two years, maybe a year and a half after her attempt, she wrote a blog about her experience and depression. She wrote it to help somebody else who may be feeling like she was, about 18 months to two years ago. The blog was a tough one to read. I almost felt like I was going to be sick, you know, to hear the things that she was thinking and the way that she even thought about herself. It was very troubling. But when I read her blog, God started to impress upon me that her blog was so important for young people to read. 

But there was another side that parents needed to be equipped. Because young people today are struggling with so many mental health things, one in four will end up with a mental health diagnosis. This is what God had; part of her healing journey was writing her blog and participating in writing messy hope with me. I have to say; I wasn’t sure about God’s plan. I was really scared about his plan because I thought, Lord, what if this because I’m asking her these questions, and she’s drawing up these past emotions? What if this puts her back into that black hole with all the layers? Right? What if this starts to heap dirt on top of her again? You know, I’m afraid to do this. And I kept checking in with her; how are you doing? Are you okay? 

Finally, at one point, when I asked her, because I was really scared, and I asked her if she was alright, she went, “You know, it’s really hard, mom, for me to relate to that person that I was then to who I am today.” Wow, there’s the victory. 

There is much more for you in this week’s Warfare parenting Podcast. Please listen here today.

You can also buy Lori’s book, which shares many applications, tools, and more. For more information, please visit her website here.

LINKS & RESOURCES

WEBSITE: https://www.LaineLawsonCraft.com

DOWNLOAD FREE: Warfare Prayers – Laine Lawson Craft

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https://lainelawsoncraft.com/warfare-prayers/

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Keys to Prevent Suicide

Today we begin the three-part series on suicidal thoughts and suicide. Lori Wildenberg is here with me for the next three episodes, helping us understand suicide and suicidal thoughts in a greater capacity. In our next episode, Lori has her own personal story that we will hear and read about. She is the author of “Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation.” I know you will want to hear and be a part of the upcoming episodes on suicide. 

Today I  pray that you find more insight and everything you need to know about this complicated subject,  suicide, and suicidal thoughts. 

The frightening stats of the increase in suicide are hard to digest. Here are some up-to-date statistics that will help us understand more:

Teenage girl’s hospital admissions that have attempted suicide are up 50%

The second leading cause of death in this age group

Young men are more successful in taking their lives in suicide attempts

In Colorado alone, the number one cause of death in teenagers and young adults is suicide

The essential part of today’s insights is whether we know if our teen or young adult may be considering suicide or have suicidal thoughts? We can look for these warning signs:

Psychological disorders like depression or bipolar

Drug and alcohol abuse

Agitated, hopeless, irritable, worthless feelings, family history, physical or sexual abuse

Some situational influences can increase suicidal thoughts if a relationship breakup with a girlfriend or boyfriend—a family who has recently gone through a divorce. We need to look deep into circumstances that could increase our teens’ anxiety, sadness, or emotional state.

One of the most significant warning signs to look for is making irrational decisions that make no sense—for example, deciding not to go back to school. If you ask yourself why they are acting like this and making this decision, an extremely irrational decision, this is a significant warning sign.

My friend Lori shares, “My youngest daughter was at college and suffered and struggled with depression. And she called me up and said that she would pack up all her stuff. She would move home, and she would commute to school, okay, commuting to school. The school was four hours away. All right now, she would have an eight-hour commute. That didn’t make any sense. She had quit her job just because it appeared to be on a whim. She impulsively quit her job, packed up her stuff, and made impulsive decisions. 

In the suicidal series episode 2, Lori shares her personal story of how her daughter had an unsuccessful suicide attempt and how they found healing.

Since Covid suicides have gone up 30%, these are frightening statistics for parents of teens and young adults. There is one essential key to knowing what your teen or young adult may be thinking.

The key to knowing our teens and young adults are free of suicidal thoughts is to ask them! And we’ve got to be asking our kids, how are you doing and specifically, How are you doing today? Ask them specifically so that they know that you’re ready for that answer. Ask them I’d like to pray for you. How can I pray? That’s another thing that could lead to more insight into their feelings, but we’ve got to start asking our kids the tough, awful question, “Have you considered taking your life?” That’s a horrible question to ask. But if you’re thinking about that, chances are pretty good that your child has already thought about it. And then they know that you’re ready to have that conversation with them, and they don’t have to protect you.

I have a passion for that question. Because if we don’t ask it, we may regret it because we feel that maybe they are thinking of it. And so I encourage everybody, if you believe your child, your teen young adult, may be thinking about suicide, ask them how you are doing today and ask the most challenging question, “Have you considered taking your life?”

I pray that this helps you as a parent today of teens and young adults learning all about suicidal thoughts.

The most important takeaway is staying connected to our teens and young adults, specifically our prodigal children. These keys will help us see warning signs and better communicate with them. 

LINKS & RESOURCES

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WEBSITE: https://www.LaineLawsonCraft.com

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DOWNLOAD FREE: Warfare Prayers – Laine Lawson Craft

SOCIAL ===============================

FACEBOOK:https://www.facebook.com/LaineLawsonCraft

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/LaineLawsonCrft

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https://lainelawsoncraft.com/warfare-prayers/

About the Author:

Lori Wildenberg

LoriWildenberg.com

 

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3 Steps That Can Help YOU Prevent and Survive Cancer

Have you had cancer or does anyone you love suffer from cancer? Today, Ginny Brant shares her powerful healing story and ways that we can prevent and survive cancer starting today!

Ginny shares, “I was on a mission to not get cancer because there was so much of it in my family. And it was four months after my mother died of breast cancer that providentially, as my sister would say, I found a lump in my breast. I had just done the Cooper River Bridge run with my husband. I walked briskly, but the point is, at the end of it that night, my ring got caught in my nighty in the middle of the night, and that’s when I found the lump. So I immediately looked into it, but I wasn’t too concerned about it. I had been here once before, and they weren’t anything to worry about. But I went to the doctor, and the first bad news was, yeah, this is cancer. And then the next week, more test results came back. They told me it’s not just cancer. It’s aggressive. And then, the third week after the results of the MRI came back; they gave me the news that brought me to my knees. They said it’s not only aggressive; it appears to be in your lymph nodes and different places in your body. Wow. I don’t understand. Because I went for a second opinion in Chicago of Cancer Treatment Centers of America. And the first thing that doctors went through with me was the risk factors for this aggressive breast cancer. There were eight of them. I didn’t have one of them. So since my mother had died from breast cancer, they did extensive genetic testing that showed nothing.”

This started Ginny’s search for how she could’ve prevented cancer and how she would beat cancer!

Here are her top three revelations that she shares will help prevent and increase your successful survival of cancer:

Emotions:

Your emotions can draw illness. These unresolved emotions, things like in my case for 15 years, I took care of ailing parents, a father with dementia, and a mother with breast cancer. The point is, we were in a grief cycle we couldn’t get out of. I’ve discovered that long-term grief, long-term anger, or any long-term negative emotion can suppress your immune system. So 15 years of not being able to stop grief put my body in a position where it couldn’t heal normally and regenerate. It suppressed the immune system that God had given me.

Toxins and heavy metals:

My doctor tested me, and I had heavy metals because of the chemo. I was introduced to the infrared sauna company. I thought they would test heavy metals, which I already knew, and how we keep track of my progress. They pointed me to 15 out of 20 chemicals in that chemical profile, that red high zone in my body, and many of them work endocrine disrupting hormones, or what we call Xeno estrogens that mimic estrogen in the body. I had an estrogen-based and aggressive cancer. So when I showed the results to my doctors at the cancer center, they said, ” Oh, this is definitely one of the causes of your cancer.

Healthy Gut:

Having a healthy gut lining protects you from cancer. It protects you from brain disease, heart disease, and even severe symptoms of COVID 19. The research is clear that 70 to 80% of your immune cells are in that gut lining. And so we must keep it nourished adequately with fruits and vegetables and plants and fermented foods.

Ginny shared that she was very intentional. She was very different. She said, “You know, I just asked God to guide me as I was doing my research, and you know, like He clearly pulled back the curtain on cancer for me, and I never would know everything that was going on in my body, but I saw the main things that would give me something to work with so that I could respond well after receiving the worst chemo known to mankind. I could restore my body back to full health. And why is that? Because God created our bodies to heal on an everyday basis. It is a miracle, and when we start to remove all the things that are suppressing that, then our body can get back to healing and regenerating as God created it to do.”

About the Author

Ginny Brant website: https://www.ginnybrant.com

Book:  Unleash Your God-Given Healing: eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer

You don’t want to miss Ginny’s complete story and steps. She shares her powerful testimony and tips with us this week. You can listen to her right here on the Livin’ Lively with Laine Podcast

 

 

 

I am here for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can email me, call me at 1-833-PRAY-W-ME, or reply to this blog and we can pray together!

 

 

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Fear and panic don’t have to be your story!

Can we have victory over anxiety? Can you overcome panic attacks? Our world is so busy! We can have the peace of God in the craziness when we learn how to overcome fear and panic by partnering with God.

At 25 years old, Christy Boulware was so successful, but in 2011 she had her first panic attack. Her life snowballed from there- paralysis, vision issues, and she had to rush to the emergency room in the middle of the night. All the tests show that ALL is fine- NOTHING was wrong with her. She felt like she was dying. The doctor said to Christy, “You have anxiety.”

Christy was shocked! Christy had everything: money, success, children, and happy marriage.

But her anxiety got worst, and she had back-to-back panic attacks. She had to have her mom help take care of her children because she couldn’t get out of the bedroom. She then had suicidal thoughts. 

The fact is that anxiety will manifest. Stress and anxiety can physically show up: shortness of breath, GI tract can be impacted, the tension in your body, and maybe your chest tightens. There will be constant obsessive thoughts. Then, spiritually we are attacked through fear.

Christy shares that your nervous breakdown can be a nervous breakthrough!

From her own experiences, Christy shows how you, too, can find victory over panic attacks and anxiety.

The two lifesaving keys to overcoming anxiety are surrender and prayer! Christy invites you to do as she did and untie your superwoman cape. No one is capable of doing it all! No matter how highly successful we are, we must pause and allow God to take control of our lives, cry out and surrender to God. 

Christy shares that she was a fan and not a follower of God but committed to going deeper with God. This is where her healing began.

She shares that we need to pray for God to help us and line up Christian helpers, doctors, counselors, and friends. These influences will help give us strength and encourage us to take faithful steps.

We can’t get too comfortable in our pain. We need to take steps to gain victory!

God wants to help. He wants us to have victory! Fear is mentioned over 360 times in the Bible. We will face it, but we don’t have to stay in it and overcome it through the power of Jesus.

Here are a few keys to help us move out of anxiety into God’s healing arms:

  1. Surrender- allow God to be our ALL. We need to surrender everything to God so that He can lift us and heal us.
  2. Prayer- Pray- do not be anxious about anything. In the scripture, we get a prescription straight from God. Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” 

The prescription is to mix these ingredients:

-Pray and ask God for help

-Be thankful; don’t grumble and complain

– Find His goodness and grace in everything

-Ask Him to help you where you need help, get specific with your needs- then the peace of God will fill our hearts and minds

  1. Find a Christian counselor who helps you see it as God sees it, mixing theory and truth.

Remember, there is no shame in anxiety or panic attacks. Don’t stay stuck, and please take the steps needed to find the healing Christy shares that helped her find victory! Also, don’t feel like a failure if you have a setback. You will see success as you keep seeking God’s healing touch.

Christy Boulware Website: https://www.fearlesswomenstl.com/connect-christy


Laine’s Resources

WEBSITE: https://www.LaineLawsonCraft.com

FREE “IS LIFE HURTING TOO MUCH” E-BOOK: https://LaineLawsonCraft.ac-page.com/hurting

DOWNLOAD FREE: 5 Warfare Prayers for Your Prodigal: https://LaineLawsonCraft.ac-page.com/5-warfare-prayers

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Do You Need Help for Anxiety and Your tweens

Many times our tweens, teens, and young adults suffer from anxiety. Sometimes we don’t know what to do. Caris Snider, an anxiety survivor herself, has written all about anxiety and now for girls’ and boys’ tweens too!

Tweens are around the age of 8 years old to 12 years old.

Older teens and young adults who face anxiety would greatly benefit from Caris’s first book, Anxiety Elephants 31 Day Devotional!

Maybe you aren’t sure if your child is suffering from anxiety. Here are some symptoms: stomach ache, headaches, fidgety, distraction during school or sports,  crying, or getting angry. These are real symptoms, and we need to dig a little deeper to help them overcome anxiety.

How do we help our children with anxiety? Here are a few suggestions: 

Open up a conversation while distracted, so they are more likely to open up.

Start conversations with specific questions about today. For example, “How was your lunch?” instead of “How was your day?” We want the most information we can get.

Discuss some of the more complex issues with your tween, teen, and young adults to prepare and not be caught off guard, giving them a firm foundation.

These keys can help you equip them for anxiety- why wait?

In Anxiety Elephants for Tweens, you get a scripture, devotion, and a stomp step to help stomp out anxiety each day. There is also a Prayer and journaling page so that they can write down their struggles or what they learned- or even draw something- or rewrite the scripture.

Once you determine that your intuition may be correct, here are a few more positive steps to help them. Admit and acknowledge they are anxious so you know that you need the next steps. If your child had asthma, you would go to a doctor and even get medicine. So first, make an appointment with your child’s doctor and make sure there is no underlying condition. Rule out any physical problems. Then make an appointment for a counselor to help guide your anxious tweens to healing. 

Connect with Caris at CarisSnider.com

Book: Anxiety Elephants for Tweens