The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:8
I’d say I’m your typical Christian wife and mother, blessed with a loving husband and four amazing daughters. Life’s had its ups and downs, but God’s been good to us.
Until a phone call threatened to destroy everything I thought I believed.
My husband walked in the room with a terrified look on his face. Our smart, beautiful, compassionate twenty-five year old was in a hospital two thousand miles away.
In medical detox for drug addiction.
She’d checked herself in. Too afraid to call us. Too ashamed to reach out.
We were in total shock. Paralyzed with fear. Through rivers of tears I frantically searched for the next flight to get us to her, and…then what? We weren’t sure. We’d never dealt with anything like this. She was a good girl. College educated. Responsible.
This couldn’t be real…couldn’t be happening to a “good” family like ours.
As the minutes ticked by, shock exploded into anger. Not towards my girl—but towards God. I blamed Him for not taking care of her, despite a lifetime of earnest “mama” prayers. I screamed, “I’ll never trust you again!” I may have even uttered some unspeakable blasphemies. Yeah…I’m pretty sure I did.
My anger melted into repentance and desperation the moment I saw her, fragile and pale, lying in that hospital bed. Sedated, confused, but alive. I realized this was a battle for my daughter’s life—between the prince of darkness and the God of light.
Seven days of detox, and many pleading prayers later, she agreed to go straight to rehab. A ray of light in the blackness.
Hugging her and leaving her at that treatment center was one of the hardest moments of my life.
Returning home, I couldn’t focus on anything. Weak from exhaustion, eyes blurred from crying, simple tasks overwhelmed me. Cooking dinner, paying bills—how’s a mom supposed to act normal in a situation like this? Unhealthy thoughts consumed my crushed heart.
Would tonight be the night we’d get a call that she’d walked out of rehab? Would the light she once carried for Jesus ever burn in her again? Would our family become stronger through this crisis, or would it destroy us?
I went on like this for a while. Relieved every night she phoned, telling us her day had gone well, that she was learning a lot in therapy, that the withdrawals were subsiding.
I started reaching out to other parents of…addicts. The term reluctantly becoming part of my vocabulary. I spent a lot of time on the internet. Too much time. I listened. I learned. And I prayed. Oh, how I prayed—because this disease is rooted in deception and evil, and it is relentless in its pursuit.
About six weeks into her rehab, I was invited to attend a small gathering of godly praying women. I felt safe with them, and I shared my heart that day. We travailed together for my daughter. We proclaimed the Word, and my spirit soared as I claimed God’s promises. She would be set free! She could overcome this battle, and I did have the strength to fight alongside her, no matter how long it might take!
The following Wednesday, I returned. Our little band of prayer warriors quietly listened to worship music in preparation for our prayer time. As I mediated, a Word came to mind. I wrote it in my journal.
“For I am bringing her out of the darkness and into My marvelous light.”
Something deep within me lit up. The song ended, and I smiled. The next song started and a chill went up my spine. It was the song my daughter played daily on her guitar back in high school. The song she sang with sincere adoration to the Lord—the one she once performed for the Bible study I led.
It was “our song”.
I burst into tears, listening as joy filled my starved soul, incredulous that the Lord used that specific worship song to minister to me that morning. I thanked Him for His gift of hope. And then something even more mind-blowing happened.
I saw a vision.
As clear as a movie playing before me. And I wrote these holy words from Psalm 23:
Though prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
I saw a long wooden farm table in a field of wild flowers. The sun shone gloriously, the breeze blowing softly. My daughter sat at the head of the table, alone. She was still, her eyes fixed on nothing in particular. She sat peacefully as Jesus walked carefully and slowly around her, setting a fork on her left, a goblet on her right. He was in no hurry. The love and care He demonstrated as He set her table exploded in my heart for her. She seemed unaffected. As if she couldn’t see Him there. Yet Jesus was at peace with her. He didn’t mind that she was unaware of His presence.
Dear friend, words cannot describe what went through my mind! Jesus, her Lord and her Savior, was preparing a table. A table of blessings, a table with a future and a hope—a feast of peace and joy and freedom from guilt and shame!
All while the enemy watched within striking distance.
The enemy, who had stalked her and nearly stolen her away watched as Love served His grace and mercy like honey to her lips. Jesus—her ever-present help in times of trouble was not intimidated that the enemy prowled nearby in the tall grass while He prepared this beautiful table. Jesus was in command!
From that moment on, I was a changed woman. A changed mama. A changed believer.
We are not out of the woods. The physical and psychological battle continues. But every time worry and fear rise up within me, waking me in the night, or threatening my peace, I close my eyes and feel that breeze, smell the wild flowers, and whisper thanks to the Lord, who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that I may ask or think.
Today marks 90 days since my brave girl checked herself into that hospital, nearly dead from heroin and meth.
She’s finished the first phase of treatment and is now living at an extended care facility for women in our home city. We had lunch together today. We laughed, we ate hot wings, and we felt pretty normal. I saw a glimmer of spark in her eyes. She hugged me goodbye with emerging confidence. Today was a really good day.
Dear friend, I am broken—and I’m okay.
“Brokenness is the condition whereby our will is brought into full submission to His will so that when He speaks, we put up no argument, make no rationalizations, offer no excuses, and register no blame, but instead, instantly obey the leading of the Holy Spirit as He guides us.”
Rev. Charles Stanley
Karen Pashley is passionate about wading deep into the rivers of God’s Truth. Called to inspire women to live radically for the Lord, she writes and speaks whenever and wherever doors are opened. Her first soon-to-be published novel addresses the hidden thought life of a prominent Christian wife who faces an unimaginable dilemma when her husband’s pregnant mistress is diagnosed with a terminal illness and has no one to care for her. Karen hopes her work will steer women towards the hope that only Jesus offers. She’d love to hear from you. You can connect with her on Twitter at @K_Pashley or http://www.karenpashley.com/