The ringing phone shattered the stillness, as I fought my way from a deep slumber.
“Hello?” I shook my groggy head, while trying to comprehend what my caller was saying.
Hanging up, I sat in a daze. I’d thought he’d be okay spending the night at his friend’s house.
I glanced to where my husband should be and knew I needed to call him. Why did these things always happen when he was away on business?
Another call completed, someone else’s sleep disturbed, I waited for my son to get home. I’d built up a good head of steam by the time I heard his car on our gravel driveway.
“You were held at gunpoint?” I shrieked, waking both my sleeping daughters to my nightmare.
I really tried to listen to his side of things. I was so beside myself that it took the better part of an hour for our angry exchange to settle into an intelligible conversation.
“Son, don’t you see what’s happening? The enemy is trying to take you out. He wants you dead, and it’s only by God’s grace that you aren’t. Tonight was another wake-up call.”
Though he listened, his dull stare made it clear he wasn’t hearing me.
Jacob had been on a bad path for the past year, and this was just one more futile attempt on my part to reconnect. Talking, yelling, pleading, threatening – all were equally ineffective. He’d been grounded, had things taken away, and performed various demanded behaviors, but all were pointless. Our dance on the altar of PC (politically Christian) child training was over. We prayed endlessly, yet we’d managed to raise a heathen. What had gone wrong? What kind of parents were we anyhow? That’s the unspoken question we saw in so many eyes.
Three months later, on Mother’s Day, Jacob’s car wasn’t home when I woke up.
“Did Jacob say he was spending the night at Mark’s?”
“No,” came my husband’s sleepy voice.
I fought back tears. “He didn’t come home last night.”
Both contrite and defensive, Jacob showed up that afternoon with a bouquet and a card. It was a hollow sentiment.
We were losing him. He was a drowning boy/man, yet he repeatedly refused the life preserver we tossed to him. We were left to stand by and watch him drown.
A few days later, I entered Jacob’s room to put away some laundry. The notebook lay open, facedown, on the floor. I stepped over it, put the clothes away, and turned with intent to leave.
The words blurred as I read them. That’s what you get for snooping, I chastised myself, trying to swallow past the boulder in my throat. Anguished, I prayed.
God, what now? What do I do? This confirms what we already suspected, but… Do I confront him? Pretend I didn’t see it? Just pray? What?
We’ve talked until we’re blue. We’ve tried to control him, tried to change him… Sometimes it seems we’ve bludgeoned him to death with the Bible.
Nothing works. I give up, Lord. You’ll have to change his course, because I can’t. I’ve tried. He’s yours. I can’t do this anymore. I’ve failed. I can’t see how he’ll ever make it out of this wilderness he’s chosen.
WRITE HIM A LETTER.
My tears stopped.
WRITE HIM A LETTER AND LEAVE IT IN HIS BIBLE. YOU JUST TOLD ME HE’S MINE NOW, BUT HE’S ALWAYS BEEN MINE. I’VE HEARD EVERY PRAYER. I’LL MAKE THE WAY.
God told me to write this note and leave it in your Bible. I have no idea when you’ll get it, as I doubt you open your Bible much these days. But I believe when you do, you’ll be at a crossroads in your life…
As I wrote, I surrendered my son to his Creator. And I surrendered myself. Jacob wasn’t the only one in the wilderness. I’d been lost in the desert of performance and self-sufficiency, trying to prove my worth to the One who gave me worth in the first place.
The crossroads came sooner than we expected. Six weeks later, Jacob totaled his sister’s car while under the influence. We gave him an ultimatum: Get help; or get out.
Miraculously, he chose to get help. As a family, we drove him to Teen Challenge, a faith-based drug recovery program, where he made a voluntary commitment to stay for one year.
The first night there, he opened his Bible…
Author’s note: This is a true story. Our son “Jacob” surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus Christ, in November 2006, and was baptized. He is still completing his time at Teen Challenge.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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