By Kathryn Barney
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. . .The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain (The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, p. 17).”
This imagery is powerful: Sorrow carves into my being. It can be a very deep crevice at times.
Like most (if not all) people, I have had some deep, heart-wrenching sorrows and heartbreaks in my life. Sometimes, in the midst of them, I am not sure I will survive.
They bring me to my knees. They tear my soul apart. There is a physical pain in my heart.
I’m sure you can relate.
One of these heart-wrenching sorrows in my life has been my son, now 17 years old (and doing so much better), who has struggled with mental illness and rebellion. He is the youngest of 7 children (a blended family), and has been my heart since he was born. He and I have a really special attachment and a deep soul connection.
Around age 11 or 12, he started pushing away and choosing a darker path.
Thus started five years of deep trauma. We had multiple run-ins with the law. We visited with many therapists. We tried different medications. We changed him to new schools. We attempted changes in living arrangements. We hired parenting coaches to come to our home. He spent four months in a residential treatment center. He went missing for eight days and was registered as an endangered child with NCMEC.
I could write chapters about all the things we tried and experienced.
And things got worse and worse.
The hardest part of it all was the vile hatred he had toward me. Not toward any of his other parents (his dad and two step-parents). Just me. It nearly killed me.
The sorrow that these years carved into my soul was completely unbearable. I’m saying that now, on the other side, because it absolutely was. Thankfully, I knew to turn to the Lord, because that is the only thing that got me through.
The Law of Polarity states that everything has an opposite. From all of this came some incredible blessings.
As I studied the scriptures over those difficult years, I started seeing them as a parenting manual of the highest sort. I have marked more than 620 passages that speak to me directly about parenting, setting our Perfect Parent as an example.
This completely changed me. It changed my relationship with Heavenly Father. It changed the way I see my children. It changed my nature to one more calm, more peaceful, more loving, more patient, more Christlike.
And I feel compelled to share it.
As we have come through the storm and find ourselves on the other side, I have started writing a book about using the scriptures as a parenting guide. Along with the book, I have written the outlines for several courses and have a new website to start a coaching business. With my son’s permission, I plan to share with others the great blessings that can come to a parent who is guiding a struggling teen through his journey.
Because everything has an opposite, the joy I feel in my newly restored relationship with my son, and the blessings that have come from the sorrow, balance (actually, far outweigh) the challenges of all those years.
And I can now honestly express gratitude for going through those hard years.
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