We all have stories and, since I stand with you based on my experience, my heart has a particular ache for the families of folks who have failed in a sufficiently spectacularly way to run afoul of the legal system. As a parent I have seen all my children struggle with various challenges in their lives, but only one has done it sufficiently publicly to get his failings published on the web for anyone who might look. I was not surprised to find many folks in prison ministry who had developed an appreciation of the ministry when a loved one had been incarcerated.
But this is what my heart wants to say to your heart. Don't despair! Don't give up! Don't keep trying to do it the same way that you have been doing it because it has not worked! So where does that leave us?
It leaves us learning something new. If you are a person of faith, deepen that faith so that you stand more solidly and confidently. If you have not been talking to God, pour out your sorrows, your fears, your longings to your God who longs to be in conversation, in relationship with you. If you have allowed your fears for your incarcerated loved one to damage other relationships, reach out. If you have allowed your anxiety for your loved one to decimate your financial life, please stop. If you feel you can't function because of choices made by your incarcerated loved one, seek a good counselor to work with.
Are you seeing a theme here? I hope so, because this is huge for your loved one as well as yourself. TAKE CARE OF YOUR SELF. Most of the people I have talked with enmeshed in the legal system are woefully aware of having damaged their families. For you to continue on your own self-destructive spiral that ends in your bankruptcy, failed health or death will in no way be helpful. The ones who are still so self-will-run-riot that they have no concern for the well-being of those who love them, well, continuing to feed that particular illness will not help either you or them.
And I'll bet there are other people who long to be loved by you -- other children, grandchildren, your siblings, parents and friends -- that feel abandoned.
Take a step today: send a note, make a call, set an appointment. And to the extent that you can do that without an anticipated outcome, so much the better.
Almighty God, whose Son submitted to a corrupt legal system even unto death, help me to find my way through this great sorrow, crushing sadness, breath-taking anxiety. Help me to learn how to focus on You rather than my fears, trust You rather than my schemes, live a life that might attract my beloved one to Your light, hope, and love, might lead to his/her redemption, renewal and a life of purpose. AMEN
Mark 9: 17-18a, 20-27
A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid...
So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.