Advice to My Younger Self
Soon you will take a journey that will forever change your life. You will feel very alone and scared, but I promise that as you yoke with the Savior, you will become strong and will better understand the far-reaching effects of the Atonement. The fear will totally overwhelm you as you watch your boys spiritually die, and you will learn that faith truly is the opposite of fear. As you put faith and confidence in Heavenly Father and the Savior, you will feel Their loving power. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what is right, but do it with love. The Spirit cannot coincide with contention. Your sons will feel your testimony as you express your love for the Savior. You will try all the punishments of grounding, begging, controlling, and taking away privileges. That will fuel the fire. Please turn to the scriptures. We read in 3 Nephi 18:32, “Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them.”
I know you love these boys, but Heavenly Father loves them more than you will ever know. It is your job to love them and stop the fighting and lecturing. They will return because the Lord will heal them. Don’t just believe in the scriptures; believe what they say. You need to personally know the Savior and understand that agency is a gift. As you turn your will over to the Lord, you will find strength, comfort, and peace. Natural consequences are important, so let your sons experience them. This will let them know and see what lies ahead of them.
The LDS Addiction Recovery Program will be a valuable tool for you. You will come to love the program and enjoy helping others come to Christ. It is truly an inspired program, and you will gain a strong testimony of its teachings. Change will come as you turn your heart to the Savior and rely on the atoning power to bring peace and happiness back into your life. You will have to mourn the loss of the little boys you used to know and learn to love the boys that will struggle in addiction.
I still don’t know when they will return, but you will come to see that these trials are a gift as you understand that the Savior is carrying the burden. Know that the Savior knows and loves your boys. He will search for them and will carry them home. Only He knows when their hearts are ready to turn to Him. As you relax and have faith, your boys will feel your love and know that they are safe with you. The Lord loves you more than you can ever comprehend, and He wants all of His children back. The sealing power is strong, and you will feel the angels in heaven wrap themselves around you and your family to bring you all together again in love.
Remember: “Pray always, and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good, if ye walk uprightly and remember the covenant wherewith ye have covenanted one with another” (D&C 90:24). These covenants are binding and the promises are real.
Love them. Pray for them. Focus on your own spiritual progression.
Have patience with the process, and always stay close to your Heavenly Father and the Savior.