Do you ever venture down Memory Lane? Where does it take you?
I spent this past week with my parents in my hometown. It was such fun, visiting some of my favorite places and connecting with friends I haven’t seen in a while.
I was able to grab lunch at Yum Yums with one of my college friends and walk through campus enjoying their amazing ice cream as we walked. My mother and I celebrated her birthday at one of my favorite lunch spots, Liberty Oak.
While I was in town, I had the opportunity to connect with a former second grade student of mine. His family became very near and dear to me after teaching him and then tutoring him years later. When I left North Carolina I lost track of them. A few years ago he tracked me down on social media and we’ve been chatting about life off and on ever since.
This visit was a hard one, because he shared how he was struggling with addiction. He was afraid to tell me the extent of his poor choices until I assured him he couldn’t shock me. I told him I’ve spent the last five and a half years walking life alongside survivors of sex trafficking in various stages of their recovery. After he picked his chin off the ground, he became an open book.
Living six hours away, I knew I couldn’t play a key role in supporting him in his recovery. I also knew I could do something.
I made several phone calls and found a great organization willing to walk life alongside him throughout his recovery process free of charge. When I reached out to tell him about it, he didn’t respond. I texted him several times, and received notice the text messages had been received. After multiple tries, calling and texting him, he disconnected his phone number. He was avoiding me.
It was obvious, after 19 days of being clean, he was using again.
It broke my heart. I was desperate to help him, and he walked away. I was reminded of something I say to my girls coming out of the life,
I can’t want your healing for you more than you want it. It just won’t work.”
So what do you do in those situations? How do you handle it?
- Pray. You can’t ever pray too much for someone trying to break away from a destructive lifestyle [James 5:16].
- Keep the door open. Make yourself available when they finally reach out. It may take 2, 3, or even 10 times before they’re willing and/or able take hold of what you’re offering, and even then there are no guarantees. Jesus never forced Himself on anyone, yet He was available to all who earnestly sought Him [Luke 19:1-6, Luke 8:40-45, Luke 18:18-23].
- Recognize that regression is almost always a part of progression out of a destructive lifestyle. We all do things we don’t want to do at times, yet we do them anyway [Matthew 26:34, Luke 22:61, Romans 7:15]
- Pray some more. You can never have too much prayer. Don’t just pray for them, but pray for the Lord to keep your heart open to them and for Him to hold yours together as you walk this journey with them.
I am praying for this young man and will continue to do so. I will reach out to him any way I can and then I will release him to the Lord. It will be hard, but its necessary. Ultimately, the Lord is the only One who can reach him.
Is there someone you need to reach out to today? Someone you need to lift in prayer? If so, do it, but then remember something that took me a while to grasp,
There is only one Savior and you aren’t Him.”
Jesus is available to your loved one and until they’re willing to accept His extended hand, He’s available to you to carry you through.