Oh behalf of guest post writer Terri Myers
Monday, May 20th
‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” Romans 11:34
So many prayers went up for our son, Andrew. Our entire church, our small group, everyone I knew, even strangers. This went on for years. I begged God to save him or to take me. I experienced death early when my mother died at 39 (alcoholic) and my brother shot himself with a shot gun in his thirties. I knew God would spare me the death of my youngest child. After all, hadn't I suffered enough and lost more than my share of family?
My parents never took us to church and I have no idea if they had faith in God. After my first husband deserted me when I was pregnant and had a one year old child, I left Chicago and moved in with my parents in New Orleans. My step mother insisted that I attend her church where I was baptized. I realized I was an alcoholic and got sober. I remarried and became pregnant with Andrew and we eventually ended up in Tennessee. We found a church home and my husband, Andrew, and my daughter all were baptized. Life was good for a couple of years and then when he was 15, Andrew began to gradually change. We found out that he had tried marijuana and like many of his friends, he sometimes drank. We would ground him and he would stop but drink at parties. He still attended Youth Group and played sports. He had a lot of friends and was mostly a good kid.
He went to UT and joined a fraternity. This is when he really started to change. He only came home on holidays and we seemed to always be giving him money. After his junior year we brought him home and insisted that he work. He isolated a lot and told us he had a gambling addiction. We got him a therapist and a psychiatrist but he got worse. Things and money started missing and all of a sudden, for three days, I got his text messages on my phone. It was God letting me see that Andrew was doing drugs. I had him arrested for theft
and he spent some time in jail. He was on probation and mandated to half way houses and had to work. He could not stay sober and the court allowed us to send him to rehab. He was there for a month and then was sent to a half way house in Florida. He was clean for a year and worked but when he left the half way house , he started doing drugs again. He would deny he was using but kept asking for money, even though he had a good job.
We got him into detox and when he got out he was fine for a month. Then 18 months ago, his girlfriend found him, overdosed. It was the thing I feared most: it was "the call”, The worst day of my life. Mothers of children who have died from addiction have had to experience stress that is unlike any other situation. We run along side our kids, trying to keep them alive, to help them not use. These kids become so different that they lie, steal and only care about getting their drugs. It is truly evil and there are no clear answers to this disease. Plus you have the stigma surrounding drug use and people judge your kids and your parenting. Churches, for the most part, have failed to be of help.
The parents feel alone and isolated.
So after Andrew's death, I am changed. As my emotions became "un numbed, I doubted everything and everyone, especially God. I have been so angry- I still am. The stages of grief: shock and denial; pain and guilt; anger and bargaining; depression,reflection,loneliness; acceptance and hope. I didn't experience them in order. Sometimes I have them all in less than a day. I quit going to church and have isolated from my friends. I cannot let them see the depth of pain and distrust I feel.
My husband stayed faithful to God and said he would go to different churches with me. So we went to a few and one day we "happened"upon this tiny church called "Hope" church. When the pastor asked for prayer request, I blurted out that I was mad at God and shared Andrew's story. In front of strangers and they responded with such compassion. I told them I wanted to start a support group for parents who have lost a child to addiction. They immediately got behind me and offered a room there for my meetings. A few of us started to meet and God brought us a man who wanted to video mom's sharing our stories that we might help stop this epidemic. He felt that God was telling him to do this and he has filmed movies like, "Priceless" for King and Country and is volunteering his time!
We named this mission, "OD Hope". Of course, you can see God's hand in all this. Even through my anger and unbelief He is still there for me! All is not perfect, we had a couple of mom's that we filmed drop out (one of them did not like our focus of "Jesus is the only answer") and no one showed up for my first Support group(except for a mom I met online who is co-hosting this meeting with me, her name is Tammie). Oh ,and another God touch- Tammie's son died the same day, same year, same cause (fentanyl) as my son!
I have accepted that God is God and I do not have to understand why he took my son, Andrew. I have that "mustard seed" of faith and all I have to do is show up.
Additional verses: Romans 8:17 amp; Psalm 17:15 Nkjv
Dear Holy and great God, I thank you for forgiving us and pursuing us, at our worst hour. Help us to trust and follow You all the days of our lives and to know how much You love us. Amen