May 11, 2016

A Warrior's Mother - The Moments We Stand

A Warrior’s Mother
By Karen Broadhead, Founder of Mothers Who Know:
The parent support group of Sons of Helaman and Daughters of Light.
“They had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.” -Alma 56:47

Farewell My Stripling Warrior
by Del Parson, used by permission

Under Attack:
I’ll never forget the day my son came home from attending his second week in a pornography addiction recovery group. He yelled, “Mom!” from our back entry. As he was not known to do that sort of thing, I worried something had gone wrong at the recovery group. When I came upon him he was bent over, visibly shaking with emotion - trying to compose himself enough to communicate something to me. I stood there waiting and wondering, not knowing whether to be worried or hopeful. Finally, he gave up and with more ferocity and emotion than I had ever seen, he put his hands on my shoulders and said; “Mom, I am not the enemy. I have an enemy and he’s afraid of me. He knows I’m awesome. He’s trying to take me out so I can’t become the man I’m supposed to be. I’m not a pathetic loser! I’m not my enemy…he is! He’s going down!!”

My son was learning to stand.

He was 16 at the time. We discovered his addiction to pornography and masturbation at the age of 13 and were devastated to realize it had been going on for two years. We were afraid when we realized how far things had escalated and were shocked that our noble, good son was in the bonds of addiction. The shame I felt as a mother was overwhelming. I was tormented with thoughts of blaming myself for his addiction. I had so much to learn about my son, myself and especially the power of Jesus Christ.

I was beyond grateful to have found a program that would train my son to “win his battles” and eventually, win the war. I thought my role was to jump in with more intensity than ever and do all “I” could do for him, help him fight by getting completely involved and watching his every move. I can remember asking myself, “What can I do to make sure he doesn’t ever do this again?” I worked really hard to insert my love, my discipline, my encouragement, my new boundaries for him, and my determination that “NO MATTER WHAT, I WILL SAVE THIS BOY!”

We were at war and I was going to make sure he won.  I watched, prayed, bossed him around, checked on him all the time, made charts, developed rewards and consequences. Every time my son fell down in battle, I would beg him to stand back up and keep fighting. In my mind I had to hoist his bruised body on my shoulders and swing his sword (the one I had just sharpened) at every temptation in order to ensure his victory.


The Fall:

I was the mother of a warrior, who was fighting valiantly for his life but because of my lack of knowledge and my great fear of failure, I found it impossible to trust his efforts. It had been devastating to find out my son was in the bonds of addiction; it was debilitating to finally realize that I was powerless to heal him no matter how much I tried. I wondered where God was and why he wasn’t helping us. My belief in the power of the Savior to heal was affected.  

I started writing letters to God, one of the techniques my son had learned in the Sons of Helaman program. I wrote down my concerns, fears, and questions about how to help my son, and when an idea would fill me with peace, I wrote the answer God was whispering. In doing so I remembered something in the spirit: my son already had a Savior, and it wasn’t me. It is God’s job, His work and glory to save, not mine.

I was making it difficult for God to do His work with my son. I was losing hope and confidence in myself AND my son. I began to realize as a "mother who knows," I too had an enemy who was trying to take me out and decrease my confidence. I needed the Savior to save my son and I needed Him to save me from my false thinking and broken heart. I realized I had to get out of the way and start asking how I could help support God in His work with my son.


The Stand:

I approached Maurice Harker, the director of the Sons of Helaman program, in tears that were evidence of my overwhelmed heavy heart. I asked him if I could do anything to help because my “mother energy” was on overdrive and I needed to do something. He put me straight to work on quality control issues in the office but I was terrified to talk to other mothers who had a son in the program. When I did, I found that they were either in such a place of shame and pain that they didn’t know how to talk about their son’s addiction OR they were so happy to have someone to talk to they would go to town and spill it all. The isolation we were all feeling was feeding our shame and pain. I was not the only one who was exhausted...everyone was going through the same thing and life looked sad and scary at their house too. There were others mothers who knew exactly what I was going through! I again approached Maurice and asked to create a support group for mothers/parents, and Mothers Who Know* was born.


The Victory

Being supportive of my warrior looked a lot different than I had thought; it started with my own healing…not with healing my son. It became clear that the best way to support Parker was to let him see that his mother did not doubt God’s power to deliver him. To truly be magnified as a mother, I needed to be filled with God’s love and partake of the grace he freely offered. To me, this meant “staying by the tree” of life at all times where God’s love could change me.

No matter how long it took my son to make it to the tree, I had to stay put and beckon from where I was. I cheered, testified of the Lord's power, and when my son was in battle, pointed him to his Captain and Champion, Jesus Christ. I prayed, I believed. I handed him water bottles, helped him shine up his armor, made sure he was wearing his helmet and then sent him into battle with his God. I praised him for protecting me, manning up and fighting for himself, for me, and for his future wife and family.

I was on the front lines of faith in my son’s battle reminding him that I could do some things for him, but ultimately, God could do all things for him. “Go find God, you can trust Him, He will teach you how to fight, He will teach you how to win, He will change your desires, He will help you carry your burden.”

I feel so privileged to be his mother and to have gone on this journey with him. After years of struggle and fully armed with the tools he acquired in the Sons of Helaman program and a testimony of His Savior, he went on to serve an honorable LDS mission in Peru. He married a wonderful woman whose testimony of the Atonement has been such a gift to our family. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple and have two beautiful children. My son is respectful and protective of his wife and they have open check-ins for her peace of mind. He feels extremely blessed to have been trained with tools to overcome this addiction and even more grateful to have a personal testimony of where healing comes from and how that happened for him.

If you have a son or daughter struggling with addiction or other challenging issues, please know there is always hope. Align yourself with the Savior and focus on fighting your own battles. You will become a stronger, more confident, peaceful warrior mother even as your child heads out to war. In the end, because of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, both you and your child will win.


This article was originally posted on the blog: The Moments We Stand.

Mothers Who Know* (formerly Mothers of the Sons of Helaman) provides free education in an online format. In order to stand strong in the opposition of our day, we shine light on the tactics used by the adversary to discourage women and threaten families. We specialize in supporting mothers whose son or daughter is dealing with an addiction, self-destructive behavior or any issue that requires therapeutic intervention.  Read more about Mothers Who Know or the Sons of Helaman/Daughters of Light offered by Life Changing Services. Contact Karen at wearemotherswhoknow@gmail.com.


A Mothers Who Know original painting by Judy Cooley, created especially for Mothers Who Know.  Available at Altus Fine Art

December 24, 2015

What is a Warrior Mother?

sons Helaman warrior armorA “Warrior Mother” is a mother like YOU. She loves her family, loves the Lord, and is seeking guidance for a child who is facing tremendous challenges. Some of these challenges include addiction to pornography and/or sexual compulsions, addiction to illegal substances, eating disorders, self-harm, and any other issue requiring therapeutic interventions. We have faith in the divine plan of our loving Heavenly Father and we do not doubt that our Savior Jesus Christ has the power to heal our families and ourselves. We bring together other mothers who feel the same.


I created Warrior Mothers Who Know (formerly Mothers of the Sons of Helaman) as a place to where mothers facing similar battles could support one another, ask questions, and learn from each other’s insights. Warrior Mothers Who Know creates an atmosphere where mothers feel supported and empowered to find the healing they need and the resources to help their loved ones.

When I first found out my son needed lots of help I was an ugly mess (kind of like the one on my kitchen table right now...but much worse). I didn't even think of fighting...in fact, it wasn't until we found the Sons of Helaman program that I even began to put the blame where it belonged...with Satan. I was just feeling scared, worried and upset with and about my son. It's sad to admit now...but I went from thinking he was the coolest boy around to wondering how I had been so deceived. Are you in a fighting place yet??


Have you realized that there is nothing wrong with your noble son? Are you to a place where you can wrap your brain around the fact that the enemy is the sick one and your son is a victim who is learning how to win? Have you realized yet that the fact that your son is man enough to attend a SofH group and get help makes him AMAZING? Do you realize that your son is in a program(Sons of Helaman) that has the potential to make him the most incredible warrior...an even more valiant man than you ever dreamed!? Did you know that when your son learns how to kick the enemy's trash(in a flash...I might add) he will have so much light, so much knowledge, and so much desire to do all he can to be a warrior for Jesus Christ? Did you know his number one priority will be to protect the women in his life not hurt them? Do you see that the negative thoughts you have in your head about your son are lies...satan's tactic against you to make you cry?


OK....breathe....Hummmmm.If you know what Warrior Chemistry is...I just had some there.


Here's what I know about you...You are a fighting mother, even if you don't feel like it yet or you wouldn't be on this site reading this right now. Fighting mothers know that being brave enough to ask a question is helpful to other mothers. She will contribute to the healing of others by commenting and adding her thoughts and insight.

She's the kind of Mother who realized Satan isn't whispering...Why are we???


It’s time to “MOTHER-UP!” (Kind of like "man up", only cooler.)

It’s an honor to fight alongside courageous Mother’s like “YOU.” Join us every Tuesday at 10:30 MST for our free Warrior Mothers Who Know class or listen to past recordings. Receive the Mothers Who Know newsletter.

Yours in the Fight, 

Karen Broadhead
Vice President of Quality Control at Life Changing Services
Founder & Director of  Mothers Who Know

November 19, 2015

A Mother's Hope: Fighting Pre-Mission Porn Addiction



http://ldsmissionaries.com/a-mothers-hope-fighting-pre-mission-porn-addiction/
Courtesy of LDS Missionaries

On a recent trip to the temple, a newly called missionary and his parents sat a few rows ahead of me in the chapel. The young man slid over so his parents could sit next to each other and then waited reverently for the session to begin. As I sat by myself in an otherwise empty pew, I was surprised by the picture that came to my mind. My son would someday sit in that temple next to me. My son. The one who is addicted to pornography.

My son is a warrior so I must be a warrior’s mother. I am a Warrior Mother.


What, you might ask, is a Warrior Mother? She’s a mother like YOU, who loves her family, loves the Lord, and is seeking guidance for a child who is facing tremendous challenges. She is a mother who fights for her family.
Have you ever wondered if your son is battling an addiction to pornography and/or sexual compulsions? This is a scary thought and a very lonely one. You are worried that your son may have his mission delayed, or worse yet, be unable to serve a mission entirely. Looking a few years ahead, you—ten times more than his father or your bishop— know how much pain it will cause your son’s wife if he doesn’t overpower this addiction before he is married.  Most of all, your heart aches for HIM.

What did you do wrong? NOTHING. What is wrong with your son? NOTHING!


Instead, think of it this way. Your son has been correctly identified by the adversary as a “noble and great one,” a future leader in the Kingdom of God. A battle with pornography is a sign of how big an army Satan is sending to thwart the Plan of Salvation in the last days. Why is he attacking your son? Because he is afraid of your son’s potential for good. Your son is a WARRIOR who is facing the battle of his life! YOU, his dear mother, are a Warrior Mother, a “
Mother Who Knows.” You have taught your son about the redeeming love and mercy of Jesus Christ. All you want to know now is, “What can I do to help my son?”

Please know you are not alone. You are not the only mother who is worried, your son (or daughter) is not the only one struggling. I invite you to learn how you and your child can fight back…and win.

My son is enrolled in an online
Sons of Helaman program through Life Changing Services. This service has been an answer to my prayers. My son’s heart is changing as he has learned tools and techniques that train him to fight back against temptation “as if with the strength of God” (Alma 56:56).

Picturing my son in the temple was surprising not because I could picture him there, but because in picturing him there, I wasn’t surprised.

There is hope. If you are looking for help for your son or daughter and don’t know what to do, start with one of the
ten things I have been doing with my son. Perhaps you will find hope and healing through the programs offered by Life Changing Services just like we did.

Yours in the Fight,
A Warrior Mom

 

January 1, 2015

Hope & Healing: Lisa's Story

When I found out that my son was struggling with an addiction to masturbation and pornography, I was devastated. I felt desperate to get it fixed right away. I felt like a terrible mother. About the same time we had an older son choose to turn his back on our beliefs and live his life exactly opposite in every way from what he had been taught his whole life. I must have done something wrong to have 2 sons in trouble.


I was so desperate for our son to get fixed that I would sit up at night with him so he wouldn’t "lose". I would sit in with him on his individual counseling sessions. I was afraid that if I disciplined him in any way he would get angry, act out and lose and it would be my fault. I was just plain afraid. I was a good mom and I would prove it by being there and healing my son. I was a wreck. This went on for about 3 years. When we enrolled our son in Sons of Helaman, I still felt very desperate to be a part of my son getting better and held on to my former habits. I would also call the clinician and question him about my son’s fighting methods or about his progress.


After my son had been in the program about a year, I began attending the Warrior Mothers Who Know classes. There I gained some valuable insights. I learned that this was my son’s battle because Satan feared him. I learned that I was getting in the way of his healing and my own healing. This was very important for me to understand. I learned that right now does not define eternity. I learned that when I felt afraid that I should express confidence in his ability to be a man and overcome, rather than express my worry for him and baby him. I learned that I needed to cheer him on from the sidelines rather than be in the fight with him. I learned to encourage rather than worry. I learned to give him opportunities to brag or show his increasing confidence. I learned that my husband needed to be involved in the battle alongside my son. I learned that Satan wanted to make me cry and be afraid and weaken my family. When I learned that, things changed for me. I was not going to be made to cry.


Satan would not destroy my family. I would do what it took to become strong and to strengthen my family. I have come to know that if I want warriors for sons, I must be a warrior’s mother. I need to be strong. I must teach my children to rely upon God and the Holy Ghost for guidance and to put the atonement into practice each day. I must also rely upon God and my children must witness my reliance. I have come to know that though the battle may be difficult, God has promised a way to overcome. There are times that I feel worried or afraid. I have learned that I can share those with my husband or a trusted girlfriend. That helps me work it through so I can treat my son like a man.


I am so grateful for all of the things that I have learned and continue to learn. I am grateful for the things my son has learned and for the warrior he has become. It took about 18 months for my son to graduate. On Mother’s Day this year, he will have been clean for a full year. I can honestly say that even though this has been a most difficult challenge, I would do it all again to have the results that have come from it.


There is hope. There is recovery. There is relief from the pain. Heavenly Father loves my son and he loves me. He knows me personally. He knows how hard this is. He also knows that when we go through hard things, we will become better, if we allow it to happen. I have learned that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior. He understands my pain and he knows how to comfort.
-Lisa P.