Thursday, February 17, 2011

There is a Time

Ecclesiastes 3

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What season are you in? In our family, we are mourning, healing, planting, mending, embracing and weeping.

I love this verse because it's comforting to hear that we're normal and that what we're going through has a beginning and an end. It's a part of the circle of life.

As a family we are mourning that one of us is gone from home. We can't speak to him for 2 more weeks and we're missing him terribly. I guess we're also mourning the fact that it even came to this. It's not exactly on the list of things we dream about for our children but healing is! The good news is that following mourning is dancing! I'm looking forward to that!

Our entire family is healing, which is a process. In the long run, we will be much stronger for it.

We up rooted our lives 18 months ago when we moved to MN from IN. Now we are planting new seeds of friendship, church membership, and traditions. We are also planting seeds of forgiveness, trust, hope and love.

Our hearts are mending from the pain brought about by living in constant chaos and fear of what could happen next. We are also mending relationships with each other.

We are learning to be more appreciative of one another. We are remembering to embrace more, to say I love you often. We're embracing the new "normal" and the ability for God to do a mighty work in all of us.

We've been doing a lot of weeping. In fact, this morning out of the blue, my youngest daughter who is almost 3, started to cry and said she "really loves her brother Spencer and really misses him". Ouch! It is strange the things that will bring us to tears right now, but soon, there will be a time for laughing!

It is in times of great suffering and pain that we ultimately know what dependency on God really looks like. No matter how much we don't like to be hurting, it is really that pain that can bring us to the feet of Jesus.

We can feel the arms of Jesus holding us.

Jesus, you are so awesome! Thank you for loving us, for carrying us, for teaching us, for guiding us and for giving the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Sign in the Yard

My sweet toe-headed baby boy was by far my easiest baby. As a mom with 3 boys and 3 girls I have found that I have a unique relationship with my sons, and that is especially true with my son Spencer. When he hit his toddler years, his strong will and determination began to reveal themselves. We looked at parenting him as a challenge we would gladly accept. Many times over the years I wondered why when God gives us a child, they don't come with a manuel specific to that particular child. It would be so much easier that way. Sometimes the Bible, prayer and patience aren't enough. That's a tough realization. That's because of our children's abiity to make their own choices and the world in which we currently live.

The years went by and he continued to try us at every turn. Our saying was that he's like a super hero who is just learning what his "powers" are and sometimes things get broken and damage occurs. He will learn to identify these skill sets and if he chooses, can do wonderous things with them both in his own life and for others through his faith.

By 7th grade he verbalized his desire to hurt himself. As a social worker, I had taught my children that if you say those words, we would immediately act on it. We took him to the hospital and he was admitted to a psychiatric unit. I remember doing the 'ugly cry' which felt as though it was coming from my toes.

About that same time there was a boy in our small town with the same name as my child, who was diagnosed with cancer. It was customary to place a sign in your yard in support of someone who was sick. There were signs everywhere that said 'Pray for Spencer'. They didn't mean my child. Depression and mental illness is a health issue that many families suffer with in silence. My heart hurt to know that we were fighting for the life of my child but very few people knew and most people just conisidered him a 'problem child.'

Fast forward to 2010. When we moved to Minnesota, Spencer got in with the wrong crowd but they were the ones who readily accepted him. He began using drugs at school during the school day. We noticed changes in his behavior. There was a lack of peace in our home.

Spencer went into a drug treatmemnt facility in June of 2010. He completed a 30 day program and when he returned home things were good....for a while.

Slowly he began reverting back to his old behaviors. It's hard to be uncomfortable in your own home. It has taken a toll on the whole family. The choas and discord in our home has become unbearable.

Our hearts are breaking. I love my son more that I can put into words. I love adjectives but there aren't any that can properly express the depth of my love for him. My husband and I have tried to teach him, lead by example and given him so many chances.

Kevin and I, in partnership with God are doing our best to provide for our children a foundation on which to build their faith. We acknowledge that we are not perfect and that being a teenager is just plain tough. There is so much temptaion around our kids each and every day.

We are now in a situation where we are truly fighting for the life of our child.

For this reason we have chosen to send Spencer to a Teen Challenge military-style boys ranch in another state. This is a 15 month program.

I am already missing Spencer, but in truth, I have been missing him for quite some time. The Spencer I know is fun, sensitive, talented, intelligent, and has a heart of gold.

I left my son in the care of many Godly people today and I trust God to protect him. I am hurting in a way I have never before experienced. I know it is the right decision for him in the long run. Right now it feels like I'm going to die, and that "ugly cry" has returned. It's a good thing I'm a long way from home and no one knows me!

Today, there's a virtual 'sign in my yard'. I'm asking you, my friends, to please 'Pray for Spencer'. I can't wait to see what God will do in his life in the next 15 months and beyond!