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!


Faith said...

I watched The Cross and The Switchblade late last night, it was on TV. It is a total 70's movie with Eric Estrada pre-CHiPs tv show. Anyway, it is about how Teen Challenge came apart. I thought of you, and am praying for you guys. Praying for you all, for the strength and courage to stand strong. Love you!

sheri said...

Will be praying for Spencer and you and the rest of the kids. Teen Challenge has an amazing program. God is in this even though it's hard to see the big picture. Hold on tight.

Jenny said...

I can't imagine the tears that came just in writing the words here. You are giving him your best, even though that means he's not home with you for now. Praying for him. And you.

Not Just A Birth Mom said...

"Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

I know it's beyond hard for you and your family right now, but don't give up! You have done all the right things. God will work it out for the best, it just may take a little time.

Mary Craig said...

I hurt for you as I read this, but I know that your faith will get you through this and that Spencer will be getting much needed help. Our prayers are with Spencer as he goes through these challenges, and for you and your family as you face days without Spencer at home. Let me know if there is anything we can ever do for you. Love you!!

A Life Being Lived said...

Keeping you and your family in my prayers...I know you did the best for him and what he needs right now. May God watch over him and help him learn and heal how he needs to.

Anonymous said...

Gina, My heart breaks for you! We have been there many times with our son, but with slightly different circumstances. Spencer has been in my prayers since I saw your first post when he was in rehab. I have really enjoyed your family - first getting to know you when we worked Hospice together, working with your husband when I worked ER, and then later meeting Hannah, Spencer and Sterling through Wells Community Theater. I will continue to pray for him and your entire family. Will he be able to continue posting on Facebook? If not, please be sure to let him know that he remains in my thoughts and prayers. I have messaged him a few times to let him know he is still in my prayers. May God Bless you and your family. Doreen

Aerika Gerber said...

Pray for you and ur family Gina in this very difficult time!

Tari said...

I am hurting and aching with you... Gina I have cried that deep from the depths of my toes cry... I understand... Stay focused on the grace of God and the fact that HE loves spencer more than you( I know... dess not seem possible) and HE wants Spencer BETTER more than you and Kevin do!! I know that 15 months sounds like an eterity but ..... 15 months will transform his life story!! I wish you were closer I would hug and squeeze you all and walk along side you and your precious family thru this troubling time!! Please know the OKEYS WILL PRAY FOR SPENCER !!!! I mean it... you can count on Us!! My you feel HIS presence overwhelmingly!!

Deanna Brinneman said...

Oh, Gina and Kevin and family - my heart aches for you right now. I can't imagine how hard that decision was to make. I will continue to hold all of you up in prayer. I love you all!

rachel said...

keep the updates coming - it will help all of us to know how to pray for spencer more specifically. God is good. We do not understand His ways and provisions. I am so sorry you are hurting. thank you for reaching out!

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