Twice in the last week, I have heard the same alarming study. The television and news journal both telling the findings of recent research regarding the endemic rise of heroin use among younger and younger people. After hearing the details of the gateway experience attributed to this alarming trend, I was overcome with grief for the families chronicled in the stories.
My husband will explain he judges the quality of a story, movie, or commercial by my reaction. Not ashamed to admit: I am a crier. If the story causes me to cry, his judgment is two thumbs up. No emotional reaction means it probably wasn’t worth watching.
Yet the visceral response after hearing of the families impacted by heroin use, brought me to my knees in tearful praise. Tearful praise? How could that be my reaction you might wonder?
The proverb – There but for the grace of God – would be aptly fitting here. The youth in the studies had one common link – a childhood injury treated with narcotic pain-killers. I am not anti-pharmaceutical, but I remember a day when we were forced to make a decision.
Following the bus crash, one of the Sawyer’s doctors prescribing higher and higher doses of pain medications which had us questioning this line of treatment. Don’t get me wrong . . . my son’s physical and emotional pain exceeded any human scale, but my spirit was unsettled. If we continue to give him more and more of these medicines, what will happen in his future when he gets hurt?
With my educational background, I have enough knowledge of neuroscience, chemistry, and biology to understand how complex biological systems adjust to a new state of homeostasis.
Sitting in that doctor’s office hearing the physician wanted to add another narcotic to the already lengthy list for an eleven year old had me baffled. After consulting with other friends, who happen to be physicians and who shared our concerns, we changed doctors.
The first thing the new medical team prescribed was to wean off the narcotic pain medications immediately (as in do not pass Go and do not collect $200) which was acknowledgement of all my worries. I knew my son wanted to return to playing sports, and I knew injuries are often part and parcel with the sports he played. While other moms were praying for all the things moms pray, I was praying those things too with one addition, that my child’s brain chemistry would not crave medications to numb the pains.
God answered those prayers.
When I heard the news story, the vivid reminders of those prayers came flooding back. God answered the prayers of a broken hearted momma, who had nothing to offer other than open hands hoping for divine provision to fill the emptiness.
On my knees, tears flowing down. I praised him over and over for answered prayers. My heart overwhelmed with the power of what God achieved from the desires of my heart. Every surgical procedure, after the day we walked out of that original doctor’s office, we would take the powerful prescribed medications unopened to the police station for disposal.
Mightily, God answered the prayers of a mom who wanted to claim a future beyond his darkest day. Overcome with gratitude and through tearful praise, I thanked God for the provision and while I was there, I asked for his comfort for all the families whose story did not mimic ours.
My heart breaks for the families impacted by addiction, and if you have a little room in your prayers, consider praying for each of them asking God to someday provide for them a day of tearful praise.