Monday, February 7, 2011
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!