It was a sunny August day and I was out shopping when my phone rang – it was my husband Fred telling me to come home. He wouldn’t explain why; just that I needed to come home. I didn’t think anything would be wrong, but as I walked into the house I found Fred sitting in my living room with two men I didn’t recognise. And that’s when I heard the words: “I’m really sorry, your son has died.”
Those are words that no mother ever wants to hear. What do you do when your child has died? Who do you turn to? How do you react? Where is God in the situation?
Fred and I married when I was 19 and by the time I was 22 we had two sons; Brian and Paul. That was a tough time for me. I was suffering with post-natal depression and juggling two young children with a big move from Scotland down to Staffordshire. I wasn’t a Christian then but when the boys were invited to a local Sunday School class, it meant I had to go with them. They loved it and over time I started to attend church more regularly. It was when I gave my life to Jesus that everything started to change – I have such happy memories of those days.
As Paul grew into a teenager, it was clear he was the life and soul of the party. He was naturally outgoing and had a big circle of friends. However, when he was 14 I got a call from his school telling me that he and his friends had been caught trying to break into a shed. I had to go to the police station and sit there for hours while he was being interviewed.
It then got a lot worse. The police informed me that Paul had been taking cannabis, which meant he would now be expelled from school. How could we not have noticed? I tried every way I could think of to get help. I wasn’t looking for someone to wave a magic wand to fix everything; I just wanted someone to tell me how we should handle it. But there didn’t seem to be much support available, and Paul now had a lot of free time on his hands.
On another occasion I was called to the Police Station, I remember being so angry with Paul that I just wanted him out of my sight. In that moment I felt God say to me, ‘Love him, just love him’ and I realised how far away I was from that place. I had been tolerating Paul and feeling angry at what he was doing to himself, but God reminded me that of course I loved Paul fiercely. Paul knew that I would always be there for him.
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