Unanswered Prayers

by Carol Wilson
September 7, 2020

When first faced with the effects of addiction, my prayers were for specific outcomes. I was not “letting go and letting God” do His work in my family. I was telling Him what we all needed, and we needed it now!

Life is a series of events that we have no control over, and that’s a blessing right there. If I were allowed to determine every outcome and fix everyone I care about, I would be depriving them of their own growth and altering their journey. I would be robbing them of valuable lessons and better outcomes. Lessons come from choices that often cause regret, pain, and shame. But without those, we could not receive forgiveness, healing, and redemption.

In 2010, my youngest daughter fell prey to a dangerous gang leader. A detective revealed to me that she was being trafficked. The gang’s activities were being closely monitored by the FBI as part of an ongoing investigation. I was powerless to change the FBI’s course of action or to hasten the attorney general’s timeline. Eventually, she was rescued. What happened to her was unconscionable. In time, my Higher Power provided me with a healing perspective.

The lengthy ordeal of gathering evidence did accomplish a stiffer sentence and put the leader away for 40 years vs. 10. If my prayers had been answered during my time frame, this predator would have been back on the streets far too soon, preying on the vulnerable.

The trauma of that experience has been a major contributor to my daughter’s ongoing drug addiction. She is currently not sober, but I know her experiences have often helped others and I believe that God will turn her pain to good and her trauma to hope. I have seen glimpses of that already.

Unfortunately, the disease lured my middle daughter as well. She was in a relationship with a drug dealer for seven years when she became pregnant two years ago. They were living together when a SWAT team broke down her apartment door. The early morning raid was part of an area sting. Her “boyfriend” was charged with various counts and sentenced to five years in prison.

Up to that point, we’d had a decent but strained relationship. But that day, I made a conscious decision to change my approach moving forward. I chose to not look at the past. I could not undo his arrest or change that he was the father of her baby. But I could choose to be whatever my daughter would allow me to be. I didn’t even know what that would look like, but I knew I had the power to control and change my own behavior.

I was supportive and encouraging, not worrying about the future. I made it my number one priority to be a maternal role model and the most positive influence in her child’s life for as long as it would last. That has paid off.

My relationship with my daughter is the best it has ever been. Our adorable grandson is now two years old and the joy of my life. My husband and I live four hours away but visit about once a month and connect through FaceTime daily. She has turned her life around, and I am so grateful she has allowed me to be part of their world.

If my prayers had been answered, her boyfriend would have been gone years ago. Therefore, I would not have the same grandson I have today or maybe any at all. I would have missed out on this precious angel who has showered us with countless blessings. My daughter would not have had the need to FaceTime with me each day, and this incredible bond would not exist. I thank God for those unanswered prayers!

We all just want what’s best for our children, but we don’t always know what the process of getting there is supposed to look like. So, whether I’m faced with devastating circumstances or everyday concerns, I now pray for virtues like courage, patience, wisdom, and discernment, instead of specific outcomes. I leave that to my Higher Power.

I don’t know how life will look when the baby’s dad returns from prison. I don’t need to have that answer right now, and it no longer concerns me. I’m living in the moment and taking it one day at a time.

Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you.

 Aldous Huxley (paraphrase)

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Carol Wilson

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  1. Thank you for sharing.
    I too think differently about how l pray.l know that God loves my kids more than l, and that He is in control.Your story is conformation to pray for Gods will in their life.
    I have two adult boys who are heroin addicts.Its been a roller coaster ride for about 10 years.lm learning to love them where they are at, with boundaries.
    Thanks again for sharing your heart.

    • Hello Christine, I’m glad that my share was able to confirm with yourself to pray for God’s will in your boys’ lives and yours. I have to do that on a daily basis because it’s not easy. I’ll share with you that since writing my article, my youngest daughter made a decision to go to a detox facility in Florida, and will begin rehab today for an undetermined amount of time. I had nothing to do with her decision. But her addiction has been 13 years of many arrests, incarceration, rehabs, psych wards, etc. And the last two years she has been in a very dark place. For a long time, I have forced myself to believe that God is working in her life (even when I can’t see it) and that he will heal her, but that it might not be in my lifetime. So her latest decision is Huge. I am so grateful for today, and will hang on to this feeling even if she leaves the program tomorrow. I have come to view “Hope” as wishful thinking, but instead, “try” to live by Faith — believing in things unseen, unknown and which transcend all human understanding. (Philippians 4: 4-7) I will pray for you and your sons.

  2. Such an inspiring story of hope. I too am learning a new approach with my son who is currently clean but also struggles with anxiety and depression. These days with the help of people like you who share their personal stories I am striving to be that encouraging mom…not the mom who has to control and fix everything for my adult son. Thank you

  3. What a wonderful perspective from a parent who had every reason to fear for her daughters’ lives. Indeed, our wishes and prayers are not always played out on what we feel would be the best timelines. We are not in charge. Thank you for sharing this with so many Carol. 🙂

    • Thank you Sarah for all your years of encouragement and giving me the courage to share my experience.

  4. Oh Christine, you have my heart in your pen! What a real and uplifting story. Not because everything worked out perfectly, but because you have survived with such grace. We could all learn from your experience. And, as with my grandchildren, nothing can take away the daily joy you are receiving from that precious grandson. I know you will relish it and enjoy the time you’re having with him and his mother. Substance use disorder is such a thief, and any time you have with them is a true blessing. I pray for you that you always remain in their lives. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    • Thank you Marilea for your beatiful comment. You put things so eloquently. I Loved that you said your heart is in my pen. I feel the same of your story. I was very moved and enjoy your gifted writing skills. I am ordering your Stepping Stones book today and look forward to hearing more from you.

  5. Thank you for your honesty and your perspective. It is hard to see my own daughter suffering at times and like you I used to pray for specific outcomes, but you remind me we can’t see the big picture or the restoration, hope, justice, even joy that may spring from the bleakest times. I really appreciate your sharing this.

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