Prayer for my Lost Boy.

Do you ever feel like when you take two steps forward, you take fall three or five steps or even a whole block backwards? This weekend has been like that for us, as an entire family. Each of us have struggled with something. There have been some really great things too. It is the proverbial roller coaster that life seems to follow.

Our son had an altercation with a neighbourhood family; a family that we have come to really love.  It’s been difficult to watch our son struggle with the knowledge that his relationship is forever altered, and at this point, non-existent…try explaining that to a nine year old! We all respond differently to situations; I have to respect their wishes and teach my son to respect them as well.  My son continues to deny some of the allegations, so we are walking him through this with as much grace as we can.

We kept to ourselves this weekend, spending time together as a family. There were some tears of frustration, tears of laughter, chatting about God and forgiveness and the consequences of our unwarranted behaviour. The kids asked a lot of questions about God and what it means to be a Christian. Steve and I spent some time correcting some of their assumptions, teaching them the best we can, equipping them with the biblical principles that we have grown to love. We have allowed them the room to question, exercising “faith like a child” by firing hard questions one after the other.

This circumstance has left a void in my son’s life. I hurt for him, I long to make things different for him. I wish I had a wand to change some of the circumstances of his development, things we didn’t have control over. He was behind the 8 ball before he ever took his first breath, and life will continue to be difficult for him. We will teach him ways to somehow cope with his challenges but he will always be different.

I struggle because I’m painfully aware my son has made mistakes, his track record for behaviour sucks. We know he isn’t easy; that he can be a trouble maker. We live with him, what you see or have experienced with him is only just a small fraction of what we deal with on any given day with him. I understand how other parents feel, and they are justified in feeling the need to protect their children; it’s the same need I have for my son.

I find myself wondering if he will always struggle, is he to become an outcast in society? Who will he play with in September once school starts? Many neighbourhood families have written him off already, and he’s only nine. My heart aches for him because I know he deserves a second (third and many more) chance. When he behaves this way, it’s not from spite or a mean spirit. It’s because he got the short end of the stick. He knows he’s different, and as he gets older he is realizing it more and more. As a parent, it is so hard to see him sad and angry with himself because he can’t figure out why kids don’t play the way he always wants to or when doesn’t realize he’s gone too far. His disability is invisible.

He doesn’t “get away” with things. There are consequences and he knows it. He’s worked hard this past year, to become a better kid. To stop and think before he acts. Yes, he gets carried away. Yes, his mouth could make a trucker blush. BUT he has the biggest heart, he looks out for his family and friends, fiercely devoted to them. He is such a deep thinker, ahead of his time but his understanding is behind. He wants help, he wants to change and his tears of frustration and sighs of exasperation are heart wrenching.

How do I walk my son through this? What more can I do to let him know how loved he is, how much God loves him. How do you change the mind of a boy who believes that he is “bad” and won’t ever be a Christian because he’s made poor choices. His spirit is broken.  Will you join Steve and I as we pray for our son? That he may one day see that it doesn’t matter what he’s done before that God is with him.

His suffering is so real. He’s learning first hand how cruel life can be. At nine, he is cynical of God and the Help that God can provide because he feels his prayers are “unanswered” because he’s still this “bad boy”. There are no momma hugs that are going to heal him, maybe a bandaid but the wound is festering. I pray that one day soon God will envelope our son, with love and grace and mercy and freedom. I pray that our son will hear God’s beckoning call.

My journey to Hope.

Beauty in chaos

That has been the general theme of my life, one that I cling to in even the darkest of times.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I have depression and with periods of deeper depression.  On June 15, 2015 I lost sight of my theme, my mantra.  The darkness of my storm had overtaken me; I could no longer see a life worth living. I lost all hope. I left my home after an intense time of arguments and heightened stress, tears running down my face and drove to “my spot”; a quiet spot by the river.  Only this time, it was invaded by the darkness. I found no solace, no hope, I’d hit my rock bottom….again.  Suicide was on my mind and I drove to the store to find something to end my life.

But God….

God can get your attention in the most obscure ways.  It was 35 cents short for a purchase that would have ended my life or in the very least left me severely maimed, 35 cents on the eve of my 35th birthday. As I ran out of the store, full of despair and deepest sorrow, a spark flickered in my soul, I drove back to my spot and cried, hard ugly crying. I had said my goodbyes already, asked people to look after my family.

but God…

God spoke into my life. I could see where God had held and carried me through to the other side of the pits of my despair, met me in my mental chaos. I recalled my last breakdown. God helped me realize that I wasn’t alone, even though it felt like it. There were people who needed me and my story. Others who would come into my life, “for such a time as this”. Others who loved and valued me as a person.

I drove myself to the hospital that night. I was admitted straight away and I stayed for 2 weeks.  I wrestled hard those two weeks; to find hope, to find strength, to find the courage to face my depression and the work I needed to do in order to become more whole, to somehow reconcile my faith with my current state of awareness or lack there of.

but God….

God met me in a hospital chaplain who spoke into my life, who was gentle and kind. She encouraged me, recognizing the work that God was doing in my heart. She led a spirtual therapy group on Hope, and there I found and heard a quote of what I needed to hear in order to reconcile my faith with my current state of unbelief.

Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul and sings the tune with out the words and never stops at all.

Emily Dickinson.

There was always hope, always something in my heart guiding me to make the right decisions, even in the darkest storm of my life. The Holy Spirit singing over me, songs of love and peace, songs of grace and mercy.  That even though I thought I did not believe, God knew my heart and continued to stay with me.

I’m currently involved in a day hospital program. It’s an intensive program to help me find ways to better cope with my depression. I’ve since been told that I suffer from PTSD; with depression and anxiety as manifestations. As I look up more information, I can see the symptoms in my life. I can see the road ahead for healing; the valley up ahead as I know one day it will come.

but God….

God is greater. Greater than PTSD with depression and anxiety. Greater than my desire to end my life, to end the suffering. God is bigger than the storms of life, stronger than the winds that try to knock me down. God is God and will continue to strengthen and uphold me in my darkest times.  God will use my story for good, because it is the work of the Holy spirit, without it I’d have lost this battle many many years ago.

Dear Anonymous Caller

I’m struggling as a parent, it’s true. I’ve made some terrible mistakes.

I have mental health issues. I’m broken. I’m tired. I’m a 24/7 caregiver to everyone in our home.

But I’m still approachable.

My heart is aching. You make phone calls to authorities without knowing the truth. You don’t take the time to knock on my door and talk to me. Maybe you don’t realize the circumstances or maybe you don’t care. You seem to know a lot of our situation, enough that we’ve spoken but not enough to know everything.

I am doing the very best I can to raise my children. Nobody could have shown me what life was going to be like, to raise this motley crew of a family that we have. The stress of raising kids with special needs, to have the stresses that we do. You have seen first hand what our son is like, you must have. We can be loud and ugly. It’s a hard load to carry.

I do not claim to be perfect, nor do I claim not to make mistakes. This road is rough terrain. I’ve been bumped around and have lost my cool a number times. I’m not making excuses, I readily admit that I’ve done things I shouldn’t have. I said as much to the people who came to ask me about it. I did not hide, I told the truth.

Our life is difficult enough right now. If you’re that concerned about our kids, knock and offer help. We need it. Respite time is few and far between. Now that we have no full time income, we can’t afford it anyway. I promise we won’t turn away help. If you really want to make a difference, be a part of our lives. Please don’t hide behind the phone anonymously anymore, you’re doing more damage and making life more stressful for us.

I know that you are only doing what you think is best. But I promise you, a knock on the door will suffice. In the future I hope you remember that. If you need more information on what we deal with please look up RAD, ADD, Destructive Behaviour Disorder to name just a few. Again, I’m not making excuses, but I want you to understand what we deal with on a regular day to day basis.

It hurts, I won’t lie. I’m ashamed of myself for the mistakes that I make, for the ways I let my children down. I’m embarrassed. But more than your judgement, I need a helping hand.

Sincerely,

A Broken Mom.

Timely Series- My reflections

 

James 1:2-8 (CEV)

My friends, be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble. You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything.

 If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won’t correct you for asking. But when you ask for something, you must have faith and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm. If you are that kind of person, you can’t make up your mind, and you surely can’t be trusted. So don’t expect the Lord to give you anything at all.

At my church right now, my pastor Deane Proctor, is going through the book of James. To say that his sermon series is timely would be an accurate attestation of the truth. It’s so timely that it stings a little.

Spiritually mature? I don’t know what that looks like, I’m still on the journey of having my faith tested. What I do know that God is our provider, He is the great gift giver and He gives me the portion I need to get through each and every day. It’s not easy, it does not come easy. It is only through the years of being tossed about that I learn to put my eyes on Jesus.

As I read through the last few sentences about the waves and being tossed about, to have faith and no doubt, I’m reminded of Peter. Peter is a passionate person, he is valiant and has such a good heart, but he’s also very human and plagued by  many things that we are.  We promise things, we make vows “God if you just do this, I’ll do” or “I’ll never betray you”. The fact is we are human, and we are fallen.  We make mistakes and we stumble.

As we read through Matthew 14, an amazing miracle has just happened. The feeding of the 5,000. What an amazing moment to be able to witness. Peter is right there in the midst of this and seeing the power of God first hand. Afterwards the disciples go out into the boat and a storm comes. They are up on deck, likely soaking wet, being tossed about and they look out over the water. There’s a man, it’s a ghost. No, it’s Jesus! Peter is the first one there, he’s like “I’m in! Let me walk on water too!! if you’re son of God, let me walk with you.” I think he was feeling bold from watching Jesus feed the 5,000.

He’s stepping out in faith out of the boat, then the fear hits. The waves seem to get higher.  His faith is shaken, his doubt is creeping in. A few steps in and he starts to sink. Terrified he’s crying out “God save me!!” Jesus reaches out in love and takes his hand. He rescues him again. He had knowledge to know that Jesus was the Son of God, but his wisdom was lacking in that he didn’t keep his focus on Jesus.

“Where is your faith, Peter? Why do you doubt?”

God is our provider, the gift giver, the creator of all things. Each day we witness miracles, through the birth of life, through the science of the act of involuntary breathing and the way our complex bodies are formed. There we see God’s work, his miracles. We have all this knowledge around us but as my pastor pointed out on Sunday, knowledge is not wisdom. Knowledge does not make us spiritually mature.

God’s wisdom makes us spiritually mature. God’s wisdom helps to grow our faith and diminish our doubt. God the creator of all, wants to help us. He will always help us, if we focus and put our faith in Him. Our knowledge can undermine what Godly wisdom and spiritual maturity say, we need to keep our focus and our eyes on God alone.

Rollercoasters

See that picture? That’s life for us.

Trust. Fear. Thrills. Scary. Fun. Awful. Laughter. Screams. Anticipation. Anxiety.

For some a roller coaster may represent something that is exciting and fun. Our eldest son Logan LOVES roller coasters. He’s the kid that will stay at the park until it closes and be there first thing the next morning if he could. The bigger the ride the more fun he has.  It thrills him. He laughs. For me? It’s not so exciting or fun. Roller coasters cause me great anxiety. I will ride them but reluctantly. The bigger the ride, the worse I feel. We do not get the same reaction.

Now if you put me on a ride WITH Logan, something entirely different happens. I laugh. I have fun. I enjoy it because I’m experiencing it with him, seeing it through his eyes, experiencing his joy as he laughs hysterically. When we do something together, its almost magical. We become interconnected in our emotional feelings.

If you follow me at all on Facebook, you know that the past few days have held a lot of trepidation for us. Sarcoidosis, the auto immune disease that my husband has, has been in full flare. It is now in his eyes, he lost vision one morning for about 10 minutes in one eye. Saturday was full of fear and anxiety as we went from one doctor to another doctor, a specialist, on the same day. What you don’t know is that while we were at the hospital we laughed more than we ever have. We were scared together, we were together, experiencing it side by side.

Whether you are a patient or a caregiver, when illness strikes, you are interconnected to one another. You both are experiencing the circumstance from very different point of views. The same emotional connection is made. Together Steve and I were able to support one another because we both got on the ride.

Over the past few days Sarcoidosis has reared its head in other ways as well. One that will connect and change our family in a way that is exponentially more challenging. Choices have to be weighed and decisions have to be made, applications filled out and mailed. We need to all get in the same car on the roller coaster and take the ride.

We have to trust in God, that He’s got everything in control, that He will keep us safe. There is fear and anxiety, but we also have to allow ourselves to let go of that and enjoy the ride that we are on. Sometimes the drops on our ride have made my stomach turn, the spirals make me scream, the growing anticipation as we rise all together and crest the hill. But together as a family, we are interconnected emotionally: in the same car, on the same ride, experiencing this life as one unit.

We covet your prayers. We appreciate kind words and listening ears. We love that many of you have chosen to ride along and follow our lives as we ride this crazy roller coaster.

You can read along with Steve here.

New Year, New Post,

We were 11 months into 2014 before I actually wrote the year with ease. How has the year already changed? Being at home, not working is sometimes a struggle to know where time elapses to.

https://sp.yimg.com/ib/th?id=HN.608050971621524189&pid=15.1&P=0

This year, as I do every year, I have made some goals for myself. A few personal ones, a few predictable ones and one that I wasn’t really expecting to make. Goal setting is important for me, it gives me something to work towards. It’s a double edged sword though, for a perfectionist, you miss the goal and suddenly you feel like you’ve somehow failed. I lose sight of all the things I’ve accomplished and focus only on the one or two things that I didn’t.

So this year one of my goals, is to give myself the permission to change the goals, alter them if needed, or delete them altogether. I give myself the gift of forgiveness; forgiveness of myself. I’m my worst critic, as we all are.  So my goal this year, is to go easy on the expectations of myself. I’m enough, just the way I am.

The changes I want to make this year could make me better or they could become a stumbling block for my mental health should I not realize those goals. If my goals become more important than who I am, it’s not a goal, it’s a knife. One that can kill from the inside out, maybe not physically but mentally and emotionally it can be dangerous.

So as I embark on 2015, I’m going to be a better me.  Whether I stay the same or change, whether in debt or not. I’m going to be me and I’m enough.

Bravo Silverheights Community

Tonight was our school’s winter concert.  The kids all took part, each with their own classes. We were the proud parents, with the silly grins on our face, taking pictures and waving like lunatics. It was fun and the kids really enjoyed themselves.  Tonight though, that’s not what my post is about.  My post is about how thankful I am for a school community who values all peoples.

My highlight tonight wasn’t watching our kids perform (bear with me), it was watching and listening to the developmental class “air band” to their Christmas song.  Air guitar, air drums, lip syncing, dancing, smiles, off beat clapping, kids running off the stage…it was absolutely perfect.  They were themselves.  But even better than that? The crowd. There was clapping and dancing, the smaller children were enjoying themselves and at the end of their performance, the crowd whooped and hollered and gave those kids what they deserve.

People recognized their worth.  It wasn’t a pity thing, at least I don’t believe it was. It was genuine appreciation for all the kids who were up on stage, who were giving it their all. It was the loudest cheer of all the routines. The kids beamed, and as a mom with a child with special needs? I beamed along with them. I recognized the importance of this moment, of their moment to shine. And shine they did.

Well done Silverheights Community, well done.