God, you’re so good. You create the most beautiful things out of such wrecked ugliness. 

I grew up with a brother who has been a drug addict the majority of my life. He has either been in prison or is going to prison. It’s so painful to watch someone you love hurt themselves, and others, so significantly.

It leaves you feeling hopeless. You want to fix them, but it’s not your role. And you want to stop the pain, but you can’t. You feel anger, betrayal, hopelessness.

Something amazing, God-amazing, happened this month.

For my birthday God explicitly told me to write my brother a letter before my birthday, so as a procrastinator I did it on my birthday. I posted the letter on my blog and titled it “The Beginning” because I knew God was creating something. God doesn’t tell you to do something without showing up.

I sent off the letter trusting that God would move. And He did.

My brother has had a real encounter with Jesus. He is being transformed. Through our correspondence this month I see my brother with such clarity like I’ve never experienced before. The bulk of our 20s he has been in prison. In fact, the last eight Christmases he has been behind bars. I’ve received phone calls, letters, etc., from him and they are always from an addict. He talks the “God talk” because he knows that will gain him favor with me, although he stopped doing this years ago when I was so hurt by him that I let him go. Nearly three years ago. Communication cut off.

Then he began writing me letters beginning in August. It was an addict letter. Asking me to do things for him, contact so-and-so, send him this, do this, do that, take, take, take. And then this month something had changed. It’s wasn’t the addict. It was David, my brother.

Of course, I am fighting cynicism. Can I trust this? Is this really the truth? Is he going to get out in 16 months and go back to his old life? I don’t know. The answer is I don’t know.  But I have learned something recently — I want to feel all the feels. Be excited. Be disappointed. Because my hope and trust is in Jesus. I can handle the ups and downs because God is my constant.

Praise God!

2 thoughts on “The One About Hope

  1. Thanks for sharing. I too have a brother who is an addict and my mother is codependent on him. Their issues and unhealthy relationship has hurt me a lot over the years and right before Christmas I found out that he had physically abused my mother pretty bad. This news and them both contacting me and also my mother choosing to still allow my brother in her life has caused me a lot of anxiety the last two weeks or so. I am working through it. Trying to decide how to be in relationship with them. Thank God I now live in another city. My mom says its different now. That he will not live with her ever again and she won’t be alone with him ever again. I want to believe her, but the truth is I just don’t, not completely. I’ve been disappointed so much. I am pushing into God, trying to fight through some anxiety and even a little depression. I need to know my faith is in God, not in what they do or don’t do.


    1. Hi Emily, thank you for sharing. I am so sorry about your family. That’s incredibly hard and painful. My parents have definitely enabled my brother and has hurt themselves and the rest of their family by doing so.

      I have learned through my experience that God is faithful. Continue to go to him with your pain and your frustrations and your anxiety. That is where true healing is, right?

      I have been going through “The Christian Codependence Recovery Workbook” by Stephanie Tucker and I must say it has had a huge impact in my life. I am setting up healthy boundaries, going to God for my identity, and understanding others who are addicts and enablers.

      If you haven’t read it, I recommend it. It may help you navigate through this painful circumstance.

      I just prayed for healing for you and your family, and for you to experience God’s love deeply. Remember that there is always hope. God bless!


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