I was visiting with two wonderful friends a couple of nights ago. Eventually, our conversation turned to our children and our families. We discussed our dreams and hopes for them. One friend fretted over a teenager who has chosen to drop out of high school to follow some friends. She feels that nothing she says to him is going to make a difference. She’s worried that he’s made even worse choices. My other friend doesn’t have children of her own yet but she is deeply saddened by the path her younger siblings have chosen thus far. We shared regrets over missed opportunities with our children and loved ones – things that we did that we shouldn’t have done as well as things that we didn’t do that we should have done.
We all have someone in our lives that we worry and pray about from time to time, if not all the time. We despair over a wayward child who disregards all the values and beliefs that we hold dear. We hurt when a sibling appears to go out of their way to ruin their lives. Our hearts cry out for family members or dear friends that have succumbed to addiction of any form.
What can we do? Is there anything more that we can do? If you’re like just about everyone I know, you’ve already tried everything. You’ve talked to them, counseled with them, reasoned with them, and prayed and fasted for them. You’ve cried, you’ve begged, you’ve threatened, and cried some more. You’ve sought help from within the family and from without. Perhaps, you’ve even tried bribery. You’ve tried it all, everything and anything!
Is it time to give up? No! Never, ever give up!
We still have love. We still have hope. No matter how dark and desperate things may seem, we always have hope, always. A portion of the 13th Article of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reads, “We follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things.” When all else has failed, hang on to hope. Hold on to hope because we really don’t know how things will turn out. They may have a change of heart tomorrow, or next month, or next year. Perhaps, a change of heart may never come. But we just don’t know that. So, we keep that hope burning bright even if no one else does.
Elder John K. Carmack of the Quorum of the Seventy offered this counsel to parents but it can apply to anyone with a loved one in this situation:
Despite our best efforts to raise children who love the Lord, follow His commandments, and live happy, productive, and healthy lives, our sons and daughters sometimes go astray. Straying can mean involvement in drug abuse, criminal activity, immorality, and even abuse of parents and others. Other forms of drifting, perhaps less serious but nevertheless troubling, include underachieving, dropping out of school, and finding little purpose or happiness in life…
Never Give Up. If you cannot seem to reach your daughter or son now, you can at least keep trying and keep loving him or her, for the very will to reach out, nurture, and extend help to another is an act of love that does not always go unnoticed.
The adversary is cunning. He is everywhere. He is known by many names; Satan, Beelzebub, Lucifer, the Destroyer, the Deceiver, and the Evil One to name a few. He exists to bring about misery but he cloaks and disguises it so well that he sometimes manages to fool and attract our loved ones. He revels in destroying anything that is good and honorable. He degrades and demoralizes.
Don’t give him any more power than he has already taken. If he has triumphed over a loved one, fight back. Don’t give him the satisfaction of winning everything, even if the only thing you have left is Hope. Don’t quit on your loved ones. Don’t let the adversary have that pleasure. Never, ever give up. When it comes to our loved ones, there is no “right” time to give up!