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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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DOWNLOAD FREE: Warfare Prayers – Laine Lawson Craft

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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

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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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What to do when your dreams are shattered?

What do you do when a door closes? When your dreams die? Amy Joob went from triathlete to model, then to an author. Amy Joob shares how she was made “new” after her dreams crashed.

God sometimes allows things for a season, and then when a door shuts, another one opens. BUT in the transition, you grieve, and you feel lost. But God won’t leave you there!

God brings you to places where you never dreamed you could go!

Amy shares she had a troubled childhood and had to learn how to fight through it. She had to learn and survive in difficult times. She shares that struggles helped her know how to start over.

In 2009 Amy had a second baby with special needs and had many medical conditions – again, all of her dreams were put on hold while she took care of him and her other child. But she did finally write her book, Unstuck Step into the New: A 40 Day Prayer Journal. 

Amy shares in this Christian devotional how an intimate prayer life and Christian principles have helped her process and overcome her son’s rare genetic disorder diagnosis, financial challenges, and unexpected career path changes. She will encourage you to embrace the difficulties by pressing into God through praying, seeking support, and finding community. Amy will help you outline the steps to get unstuck and move forward into God’s destiny for your life. Amy likes to share personal stories and inspire her readers to find and fulfill their purpose. She believes “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”

How do we start over and start new? Here are a few steps that we can take to get unstuck and dream again:

  1. Know that God has a plan, He will never forget you, and that no matter how much the world may be shaking your world, God is right there with you!
  2. Seek God first and allow Him to show you the next right step because He will lead you.
  3. Wait on God His timing is perfect.
  4. Don’t give up on God because He won’t fail you.
  5. Let go of the old, surrender to God, and stay in God’s presence and in God’s word for your strength!

Keep moving forward and you will move closer to your destiny and your dreams!

Podcast Details: LISTEN HERE!

Guest: Amy Joob

Website: AmyJoob.com

Book:  Unstuck Step into the New: A 40 Day Prayer Journal


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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When the Worst Happens Unexpectedly What Do You Do?

When the Worst Happens
Today’s inspiration is helpful because we often don’t know when we get bad news or something terrible happens unexpectedly. What do we do when the worst happens?
Tricia Roos shares her extraordinary story about when the doctors told her that the baby she was carrying would not live. Three months pregnant and afraid, she began a journey against the doctor’s advice. She resolves to have her child. The ending is the same, but the story changes everything.
She has walked out with blind trust and showed us that hardships could end in hope. What do you do when our wishes change?
When the Worst Happens

Tricia shares some real-life applications to help us in the hardships of life:

  1. God separated day from the night so that we could have rest. Do all that you can to rest.
  2. Replenish yourself for the next day.
  3. Learn to live without planning so that your trust in God grows.
  4. Learn to give it to God, everything, every day, and rest in Him.
  5. Try to avoid the “what ifs” to keep anxiety away.
  6. Pursue this mindset every day; God has got you, so don’t worry so you can rest and figure it out later.
  7. When it is out of your control, let go and live in the moment.
  8. Lean into your trusted friends and be a friend to others.

Listen to Tricia’s story right now.

https://plinkhq.com/i/1516858414?to=page

Tricia shares the journey of how she held and loved the daughter who wasn’t supposed to live. In six days of a brief and remarkable life, Annabelle Roos rewrote the medical chapter on a chromosomal condition called Trisomy 18—giving life to a story that galvanized a large high school, a big city, readers of When Wishes Change, and audiences nationally. You can visit her website too and purchase her book When Wishes Change.
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 email, and I will pray with you. You are never alone.