1. Tell me about your newest book, Letters to God, on a Prodigal Son—Overcoming Addiction Through Prayer?
This power packed journal and guide was birthed from the painful passage I experienced while navigating the minefield of my son’s addiction. I kept a diary that contained many insightful prayers, letters, and scriptures that I thought would help others navigate the turbulent waters of a prodigal’s addiction, so I worked on transforming it into a book. I added two sections, Lessons Learned and Suggestions that I thought would further help others to avoid some of the pitfalls I experienced, while offering a lifeline of hope. At the time my son was going through this terrible ordeal, I couldn’t find any Christian books on the subject that gave practical and spiritual, not textbook, advice. Letters to God, on a Prodigal Son was designed to fit this need. It’s filled with the heart-felt letters and prayers of a mother, key spiritual insights and practical advice. My desire in writing this book is to help others and minister to them though this true life story.
2. What are some of the pitfalls you experienced in dealing with your son’s addiction and in writing this timely and powerful book?
It is sometimes very difficult for a parent to recognize the warning signs of an addiction in their teenager, especially in this culture today when drinking is so accepted. This was my downfall. I kept thinking my son was just going through a stage, especially because he would repent when something bad happened, like losing his license for a year or failing out of college. He would turn back to God and do what was right for a while, but then he’d fall again.
One of the pitfalls in writing the book was trying to figure out a way to take my personal experience and help others learn from it. I didn’t want to offer just another informational or book of advice on addiction, so I kept it in a journal format. I wanted others to see that God held me thought this very difficult time and that He can do the same for them. I also wanted to be very honest and real because as Christians we sometimes think we need to cover up our pain and even try to keep it from God and fellow believers. I wanted to show people that you can show God your pain, cry out to Him and go through different stages with Him right alongside. The last thing you should do in a crisis is stay mad at God and stop taking or communicating with Him.
3. What did you learn from this experience?
I learned that God is faithful even when we’re not, even when we get mad at Him and don’t understand what he’s doing. God wants us to draw near to Him and cast ALL our concerns, cares, worries and anxieties on Him. He has very big shoulders to carry our burdens and for us to lean on and even weep upon. I also learned that God is true to His word. You can believe His promises as long as you understand them, have faith and continue to trust God with the outcome. I also learned that it’s very important to surrender your prodigal to God. That’s the best place for them.
4. How did you get to that place of complete trust in God.
First, you have to have a personal relationship with Him. One is which you communicate and pray every day. A distant relationship with God will not carry you far. At first I didn’t understand why God allowed this in my son’s life. I was disappointed in God. But as I began to read the Word more and search for scriptures that spoke to my situation, I was able to apply the promises to my son. I began to press into prayer and God’s Word like I had never done before. Prior to this, I considered myself a prayer warrior, but my son’s addiction brought me into a deeper understanding of God and prayer.
5. What are some key excerpts?
I think there are many of them, but here are just a few:
Suggestions: It is difficult not to be consumed with your addicted child, but you must not put him or her first. Your marriage and your own physical, emotional and mental stability are very important in order to be able to see things from a clear perspective. While you can pray fervently, don’t let the child or problem consume your thoughts and your time. Make time for you and/or your spouse, your other children and yourself. Spend time in prayer for other’s needs as well as your own.
Life Changing Promises:
During this time I really learned how to pray the scriptures and promises. I needed encouragement everyday and some promises that I could hold onto continually. Here is one more that I clung to:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalm 46: 1-3 NIV). I drew on this verse for God’s strength. I tried not to be afraid, but I had a lot to fear for Ben. I tried to steel myself against the inevitable. My son was going to fail the drug test and be kicked out of the program. Even if this were so, the world would still be intact. I certainly would be shaken, though it wasn’t what I wanted to happen
Suggestions: Find some scriptures and promises of your own that ring true to you and your situation. Write them down, memorize them and quote them frequently when doubt and fear overwhelm you.
Here’s two excerpts from the chapter “Glimmer of Light”
Jesus doesn’t want us to put any relationship above Him and get our peace and joy from them. These words pierce my heart, for this is the work God is doing in my life. I cannot depend on anyone for joy or happiness. I must rely solely on Jesus. He must be my source. It’s not that I can’t receive joy from others, but Jesus needs to be the root of my joy.
Later in that chapter:
I believe God spoke a clear Word to me to continue to come against Satan as Moses came against Pharaoh. Satan does not readily let go of what he perceives to be his. Even though Ben is God’s child, as the nation of Israel was the Lord’s, Satan is reluctant to let go of what he thinks he possesses. Pharaoh needed to be confronted time and time again, and kept relenting on his promise to let the Israelites go.
6. What is the takeaway value of your books and of Letters to God… in particular?
All my non-fiction books and articles are written to either help Christian’s grow in their spiritual walk with God or to reach those who are hurting and hurl them a lifeline in their storm. My books lean heavily on the power of prayer and God’s amazing compassion, mercy and love. I want others to intimately know the awesome God I know and the power of praying His promises. I want to alert Christians to the enemy’s tactics so they can avoid his traps and use prayer as a powerful weapon. All of my writing is geared to coming away with a fuller understanding of God, His promises, and the transforming power of prayer.
In Letters to God, on a Prodigal Son I want those who are watching a loved one caught in the blinding windstorm of addiction to understand that God did not want this for them and He invites them to dialogue honestly with Him. I want parents, family, relatives and friends to be equipped with spiritual tools for coming against the powers of darkness involved in addiction. My desire is to help guide them on this dark journey and lead them into the light of God’s presence.
7. What one issue ignites your passion?
Prayer and an intimate relationship with God are my two deepest passions. I want others to know how much God really cares for us and wants to know us. He gives us so many great gifts nestled in His promises. I want others to know how they can avail themselves of these treasures and go deeper with God. It is my desire to help others who face life’s challenges to know and understand how they can be victorious—in Jesus.
8. Where can you buy your books?
You can buy this book and any of my others at http://www.anitaestes.com/ For a sneak peak of Letters to God, on a Prodigal Son go to http://tinyurl.com/3pmzusd
On Tues NOV. 8TH ONLY I’ll be having a book launch for Letters to God… and you’ll be able to get a lot of FREE Gifts when you purchase the book on that day. You can find out more about the launch on my web-site, http://www.anitaestes.com/ or this direct link http://www.anitaestes.com/landing-page.html