Abiding with Jesus in the Chaos

Sherri Miles | Relational Discipleship Network

Abiding with Jesus in the Chaos: Navigating Addiction, Parenting, and Faith

“What is that annoying sound? Why won’t it stop?” I look at the clock, it’s 2 am. My phone is ringing and it’s an unknown number. My thoughts are racing, and my heart is pounding. I frantically grab my phone and sit up in bed…”hello…hello”…silence. “Hello? Mom…I am going to kill myself”…click. The phone disconnects. My head is spinning, and my mind cannot comprehend what is happening. I have tried to prepare my heart for this, but everything is spinning so fast I can’t breathe, I can’t think…then the tightness in my chest intensifies and the sobs and tears start flowing. I’ve got to find her, but where do I even start? I fall onto the floor weeping, begging God to show me where she is, to save her from her own self. Interceding in prayer and cutting through the darkness of the spiritual realm with every ounce of energy I can muster. Calling on Jesus’ name to fight against the hold the enemy has on my daughter. The hours go by slower than ever. It feels like time has stopped.

Life often throws unexpected challenges our way, and for my family, it came in the form of a 16-year struggle with our daughter’s drug addiction. As leaders in various ministries at Real Life Ministries, my husband and I faced the daunting task of balancing our roles as parents, mentors, employees, and disciples of Christ. Reflecting on those tumultuous years, I realized that modeling a “Healthy Abiding” relationship with Jesus wasn’t about rigid routines or spiritual checklists but about finding Jesus in the messy and chaotic moments of life.

Defining “Healthy” Amidst Chaos

In the depths of our daughter’s addiction, there were no set schedules or structured spiritual disciplines for me to follow. Some days, just getting out of bed was a victory. Yet, amid the chaos, I discovered that assessing life in seasons—quarterly, and sometimes even daily—provided a more realistic perspective. Life’s unexpected trials required flexibility and authenticity, challenging traditional notions of what it means to lead a healthy, abiding relationship with Christ.

Unpacking John 15:1-17

In John 15:1-17, I found practical strategies for cultivating peace, strength, and authenticity in the chaos of addiction and the responsibilities of raising a family.

The Nitty-Gritty of Abiding in Christ (John 15:1-4)

Let’s be real! Abiding in Christ isn’t always about serene moments of prayer and meditation. It’s about finding Jesus in the messiness of everyday life. So, while you might not have an hour or even 30 min for quiet reflection, invite God into your daily chaos. Share your concerns, your frustrations, and your joys. Authenticity is key in building a genuine connection with Christ.

Bearing Fruit in the Trenches (John 15:5-8)

I get it; life is tough. The concept of bearing fruit might seem like an unreachable ideal when you’re just trying to survive. So, start small. A smile, a patient response in the face of chaos—these are fruit too. Celebrate the tiny victories. They matter! My tagline in life is “Forced Joy is better than genuine depression!” It’s a reminder for me to celebrate the journey, even in the face of adversity, and that with Christ I have the power to overcome the enemy and kick the devil’s butt!

Finding Real Community in the Chaos (John 15:9-12)

Amid life’s chaos, genuine community doesn’t always resemble a flawless church gathering. It’s the candid dialogues with friends who’ve weathered similar storms. It’s the friends who don’t hesitate to sit in thunderstorms at midnight at a drug stakeout or just listen to you cry. It’s those who will love your family unconditionally and will call CPS and then a few years later turn around and throw a baby shower for your daughter and your next grandchild. Seek out those who won’t judge, those who will intercede in prayer and point you to Jesus. Authentic relationships with imperfect people can be a lifeline and last a lifetime.

Love that’s Tough and Unpolished (John 15:13-17)

Loving unconditionally doesn’t mean plastering on a fake smile. It means showing up, even when it’s hard. It’s about setting boundaries, speaking truth, and saying, “I love you, but I won’t let you destroy yourself.” Real love is messy, and sometimes it hurts. Embrace the discomfort; it’s a sign you’re doing something right.

 

Modeling a healthy abiding relationship with Jesus in real life and amidst chaos requires flexibility, authenticity, and a deep reliance on Christ in every moment. As our family navigated the challenges of addiction, we discovered that true discipleship is not confined to the neatly organized routines but is found in the messy, unpredictable moments where Christ’s love and grace shine brightest. I am happy to celebrate that our daughter has custody of both of her children, a full-time job at a hospital, and is celebrating 5 years of being clean on January 12, 2024. All glory to Jesus!

 

By

Sherri Miles
Relational Discipleship Network
rdn.org