When it all falls down.

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So that’s me. No make-up. No frills. Why?  Because today I’m going to be talking about the naked truth. The ugly truth. Parenting is the best job in the world and the worst.

In earlier posts, I bragged about how well my kid was doing. How well we were doing as a whole. The summer was fantastic. We explored new places. We spent a lot of quality time together. I felt like we were building a solid relationship. I felt like she was making huge improvements. She was making good choices, she was doing so well. And then… School started.

We are only 3 months into the school year and already things have been nothing but ups and downs. I thought the issues that we are currently dealing with were things that had been resolved but I find us back-sliding into the past. She’s back to focusing on,”they have, I don’t”. She’s back to being all about image and self. She’s back to being  defiant at every turn.  I feel like I’m living last year all over again. But this time she tells me she no longer feels “safe” in our home.  A statement immediately followed by she “doesn’t have to do anything I say.”  I’m at a complete loss.

At no point has she been not safe in our home. I don’t know what her motivation was for saying that. It wasn’t a statement she said to me but one of her mentors from church. She told her that we said we no longer love her and she doesn’t feel safe here. Her saying that completely broke my heart. An argument about respect and obeying the rules of our home, devolved into her telling someone she no longer feels safe in her own home. Now before this, she did tell me that she no longer wanted to live here (keep in mind she’s 12), so perhaps in her mind, the easiest way for her to leave was to tell someone she no longer felt safe. But can I tell you, I still feel the knife in my heart twisting from that statement. Just writing about it makes me want to cry…again.

Her mentor and I had a conversation afterward. She asked me if she could take my kid for the weekend, not only to give us all time to calm down and reflect, but also so she could take my child some place where hopefully she would get the wake-up call she needs. I told her okay and she came and got my kid yesterday. I heard from her mentor but I haven’t heard from my kid since she left.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad at this point, but I know it hurts. Dear Lord, parenting is the hardest job ever. It cuts your heart out and stomps on it. It really does.

I have been praying since she left. I’ve been praying for miracles. I been praying for revelation. I’ve been praying for conviction. I’ve been praying for a hedge of protection. Ive been praying for changed mindsets. I’ve just been praying. I need God to take away this anxiety and fear and gut wrenching sadness. I need God to bring about healing because honestly after this, it’s going to take a lot of healing. It’s most definitely going to take time.

Normally, I try to end my blog posts on an inspiring or hopeful note, but today I just don’t have one. But if you will pray, send positive thoughts, whatever your belief system dictates, I would be forever grateful.

Reflecting

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:13-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬ 

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Today is my birthday. I’m 36.

Today I’m sitting and reflecting on not only the past year but my life up until this point. Today, I am the same age my mom was when she passed away. I always told myself that I wanted to live longer than my mom. I wanted to be there to watch my kids grow up. It was such an odd thing to watch my kids grow past the age of 6. I was 6 when my mom passed. So not only am I the same age she was when she passed but this year will mark the 30th anniversary of her passing. Weird right?  It feels weird. So on a day where I should be celebrating and rejoicing, I’m just feeling rather blah.

I wonder what kind of advice my mom would have given me through out this year. I wonder how she would have reacted to the things my oldest went through, what our family has gone through this year. According to my Gramma and her siblings my mom was an outspoken wild child with a naughty streak a mile wide. Yeah that is so not me. My mom was probably a really fun person to be around and I honestly feel that I am so awkward. According to the kids I work with, I’m awesome and cool. According to my kids I’m a dork, so who knows right. But I feel awkward-sauce most of the time. (There I go making up words again…”You’re not that cool mom”)

I’m also nowhere near where I thought in was going to be at this point in my life. I never thought I would be a mostly stay at home mom to two girls, living in Colorado. Anyone who knew me in high school knows that I had dreams to become an actor. Heck I flew from Hawaii to California my senior year just to audition for theater schools. I even met John Ritter and his son Jason at the NYU auditions. That was always my dream. And who knows maybe someday God will bring me back to that.

Even at 36, I still don’t know what plan God has for my life. I don’t know where He plans to take me and what he plans to do. But whatever it is, I hope it’s amazing and I hope that it’s long-lived and I hope to make a difference in at least one life outside of the church.

Not Against Flesh and Blood…

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  

Ephesians 6:12 NIV

So this post is going to have absolutely nothing to do with my kid. Well, mostly. This has to do with me.  Are you familiar with the show Ghost Adventures? I love the show. It’s a guilty pleasure of mine. I love the interaction on the show.  I love the people on it.  I love the locations they visit.  A lot of which are on my bucket list.

Now the big question. Do I believe in ghosts? The answer is a big, fat, NO. Do I believe their show is real? Absolutely!  So if they aren’t interacting with ghosts, what do I actually believe is going on? Well… see the quote above? That’s pretty much what I think is going on.  So if I believe that they are interacting with principalities and spiritual forces of evil, why do I love the show so much?  Other than the reasons stated above, God has put it into my heart to pray for them.  I don’t know them…well not exactly. But with everything they deal with and used to invite in, I worry about them. Yeah I know it’s weird to worry people I hadn’t met before.  But I do. God has put them in my heart for a reason.

Now recently, last week, they were in Colorado doing a lock down and guess who I ran into at the gas station?!

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Dude!!  First of all, can I say that I hate my multiple chins in the picture.  My oldest took it and said,  I looked fine.  So not trusting the judgement of my 12 year old again.

Now I always imagined what it would be like if I ran into anyone from Ghost Adventures.  I imagined how smooth I would be. The things that would say. I would tell them that I loved the show.  I would tell them that I pray for them regularly.  I would tell them that their last Ghost Adventures episode, The Domes, hit home in a way like no other. I would ask if  I could pray over them. I would talk to them about my theories. I would tell them, how their show has made me a stronger Christian and a better prayer warrior. I had it all planned out in my head.  Unfortunately, I’m awkward-sauce (which my kid informs me is not a word and I’m not cool enough to make up my own words, so I should stop) and well… I forgot everything I wanted to say.  I made small talk with Jay.  We talked about Colorado, how he filmed a movie out in Oregon last summer, etc.  I’m sure my awkwardness was VERY apparent. He and Billy were fantastic though.  Really nice people. I felt kinda bad that we were interrupting Billy because he was on the phone but they were great. They made my 9 year old’s whole year by taking a picture with her and signing a shirt she had on her. And the 12 year old was just being her angsty self (she really really wanted to meet Zak, I think she has a crush). They didn’t take it personally, I hope. Again, just really nice people.

But I truly feel like I wasted an opportunity.  I wasted what was probably a once in a lifetime meeting. I’ve seriously been having anxiety about it.  I’ve been in constant prayer for peace over my mind (since Thursday!). But you know what, if God wants me to tell them my story, then He will make a way.  He will make the impossible, possible.  He will make the unsmooth, smooth.  (Is unsmooth even a word? Spell check says it’s not.)  It will happen, if He wills it.  So I’m just going to attempt to sit back and let it go and just be amazed at the fact that I actually met them. I’m still rather giddy about it.

**If you need prayer for anything, it will always be my privilege to pray for you. Leave a comment and I’ll add your needs to my prayer list.

Its been a while…

It has been a month I tell you what.  First I didn’t update because of writers block.  I honestly had no idea what to write about.  I started with fantastic momentum and then bleh. Then I didn’t update because well… life.

School is over for my kiddos and can I just say, “HALLELUJAH!!” It has been one hellish year. My oldest’s first year of middle school ended in a bang, almost literally.  Someone decided to make a threat against the school on the final two days.  Can we say anxiety? It was crazy and I did not want to send her to school. She went, everything was fine.  The police stepped up their presence because of the threat from within the school and that robo-call that was happening across the country. It was insanity.

On top of all of that, I got rear-ended last week.  We are fine. No one was seriously injured, thank you Jesus.  The other parties insurance covered everything and I now have my yellow beast back.  Yes, I so drive a yellow SUV.  It’s my bae. Don’t judge me.

I’m hoping now that summer is here, I’ll have more interesting and inspiring things to write about. I want to take you all along on our summer adventures and continue to update you on my kiddo’s progress.  I should actually have another update shortly.  I was inspired to write it today.  It’s another one of the things that I don’t always talk to people about because I know exactly the reaction I will get…”You’re a Christian, why are you so into that? The bible says…” I know. Well you’ll see in a few.

Fear and Trust

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“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭56:3‬ ‭NIV‬

When we trust completely we do not fear. Yep you read that right. Its something that I have a hard time with. Trusting completely. Oh sure, I can say that I trust in Him. That I will lean not on my own understanding. But at the end of the day, I’m a control freak. It’s so against my nature to lay down my self and trust. To let go of fear and just say, “Lord Jesus, you got this.”  I’m the one white-knuckling the tube because I don’t trust the life vest to keep me afloat should I fall into the water.  It’s especially hard to completely lay down the fear when the world has hurt me and taught me that trusting is naive.

But we aren’t supposed to live by the world right? I mean I said that in a previous blog post. I want my child not to define herself by the world.  But it’s a constant battle  to ignore the teachings of the world and remember the teachings of God.

This morning, I was so determined to respond again to the daily prompt. Today it’s Beach. I have this gorgeous picture of my girls walking our dog along the beach in Coos Bay, Oregon (when we visited last summer). I had no idea what I was going to write about but I wanted to use that picture.  But you know the saying, “You make plans and God laughs.”?  (Although in my house it’s more like, you make plans and the kids laugh) Well that’s what happened this morning.

My oldest is sick today.  Again she’s 12 so even if she was to stay home, she could do it by herself.  She’s rather self-sufficient. A 12-year-old can make themselves lunch , use the bathroom by themselves, call 911 if they have to.  She’s not so sick that I honestly couldn’t leave her alone for the 3.5 hours I would have been at work. But I called in and let them know I wasn’t coming. Why?  Fear and lack of trust. I will state it here, I still don’t trust her and I’m afraid of what she’ll get up to when I’m gone. Yep, I admitted it. I confessed my sin. To the world apparently because it’s on my blog for the entire planet to read.

It all started with the beginning of our journey. The reason she started therapy to being with was that she made some rather poor choices via texting and social media (which she wasn’t supposed to have).  She had a “friend”, and I use that term so loosely. God has given me discernment to an extent. I’m a fairly good judge of character and this girl set off all kinds of alarm bells in my spirit. Anyway, this “friend” decided to end their friendship because my kid wouldn’t give her another kids clothes. Oh yes you read that right. That is the most asinine reason ever to end a friendship. I mean really who does that?  But as I’ve said before, my child defined herself by her friendships. This girl was popular and her BFF so this was devastating for her. Her response was, “you hurt me so I’m going to hurt you.” She chose to do that in the least constructive way (for herself) possible.  Lets just say what she was posting and sending was so concerning that counseling was not an option it was mandated by mom and dad. We, well I, literally took her there kicking and screaming.  She was going to get help because what she was choosing to do was not healthy and we didn’t want to see it escalate.

The thing is that she looked me straight in the face and lied to me about what was going on. She completely denied what she did and what she sent until she was presented with evidence to the contrary. We took her phone away we limited her time on the computer, she was only allowed to do school work. We put all these restrictions in place and then she seems to be doing better.  She seems to be making better choices.  She’s not talking to the girl that ended their friendship. My husband decides to give her the cell phone back. That decision had nothing to do with me. He felt she proved herself and could have it back.  She got it back and it started all over again. *Deep breath* She started this constant cycle of lying to my face and then going behind my back and doing whatever she wanted to do.  She lied about what was going on at school in regards to her missing assignments and failing grades.  She lied about cutting, until we body checked her.  In fact she lied to my face two days ago and made me look like an idiot when I emailed her teacher. So you can see why I have trust issues when it comes to my kid.

It hurts your heart when someone you love so much and would do anything for straight up breaks your trust over and over and over again.  It sucks

But the Lord says that we are supposed to trust in Him.  He doesn’t say to trust in this world. He doesn’t say to trust in our children. He doesn’t say to trust yourself. He says to trust in Him.  When we are afraid, we trust in Him.  When we trust in Him, He will be our refuge. He will bring us joy. He will deliver us. If we trust in Him we will not be shaken and endure forever. If we trust in Him, He’s got this!  Wow, right?

I gotta confess this morning, I’m trying. I’m trying to let go and let God.  I’m trying to put all my trust in Him and not in the past.  I’m trying to see past the cycle and see what God is going to do. I’m trying and I will. I will because no matter what God loves my crazy mess.It may not happen today. But it will happen.

(References: Psalm 37:5, Nahum 1:7, Psalm 125:1, Psalm 22:4, Psalm 86:4)

Hope and a Future…

I log onto WordPress this morning and I see that the Daily Prompt today is Hope. Do you know how stoked I was to see that? (Yes I said “stoked”. I grew up in the 90s. I also say “dude” and “cool beans” and “twinsies” instead of “twinnies”. I’m completely aware of how not cool I am.) I was so excited because that’s what my blog is about. It’s about giving hope to those parent out there whose kids are dealing with depression and anxiety. To say that you aren’t alone when you’re sitting in your car in the Sam’s Club parking lot crying out to God about why this is happening and telling Him to just take it because you can’t do it anymore. It’s about loving and thanking through the turmoil. It’s to say that you are loved and no matter what circumstances look like now, it will get better.

In my bible reading this morning I ran across this verse. And yes, I totally used my concordance to look up “hope”. Look up the word sometime and you will be amazed at how much it’s used in the bible.

“As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭71:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Yes Lord, I will always have hope. Even when my spirit was tired and grieved, I still had hope. And especially when my spirit was tired and grieved over everything that was going on, I praised Him because I knew He was there.

And yes, recovery is a process. I’m writing this as I sit waiting on my kid at one of her therapy sessions. Recovery for her and the family really was a team effort. First she had to want it and second we had to make a lot of changes for her welfare and the welfare of my family. But if I had lost hope. If I had allowed that or my faith to die, this process would have been immeasurably harder and I honestly don’t know if we’d be where we are right now.

So rest in hope and never forget to be thankful. Because if you lose hope and stop looking for even the smallest glimmer of good on those unbearable days, the darkness wins.

I’ll leave you with this verse. It’s one that has helped me stay focused when things are insane and it feels like there is no end to the oppression.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Safe2Tell: The Good, The Bad and The Nasty

Safe2Tell. It’s an anonymous tip line here in the State of Colorado. The website says that you can “anonymously report anything that concerns or threatens you, your friends, your family or your community.”

Safe2Tell is an amazing program if used for it’s intended purposes. However, because it’s anonymous, it can be abused.

Again, my kid was a cutter. From December to March she was actively cutting  (wow, it seems like it was a much longer period of time) . Her cuts were a series of deep scratches along her upper thigh or arms. According to the counselor, that’s how cutters start and “good on you for catching it early before it escalated.” Honestly, I would have rather it never happened but I can’t change the past.

The school counselor during that time was getting reports left and right on my kid.  Not just through the Safe2Tell program, but also some of her friends at school.  Now, I love that people were concerned for my kid.  I love that they were looking out for her well-being. What I didn’t love is that I wasn’t regularly made aware of what was going on. Apparently, my kid was getting called into the counselors office several times a week on concerns that she was self-harming. I was not told about most of their meetings. What also bugs me is that the school counselor was made aware that my kid was in therapy. There was in incident at the beginning of the school year that prompted us to put her in therapy and thus notify the school counselor about it.

Now all of this anonymous reporting on her came to a head when the police department showed up at my door. Oh you read that right, the police.  They were doing a welfare check on my kid because of a Safe2Tell tip they received.  The clincher is that she wasn’t home at the time, she was spending the night at a friend’s house. Now when the 5-O showed up at my house, I informed them that my kid was in counseling.  That they had put her on meds. That I do random body checks and I’d know if she had any new marks. That no my kid was not suicidal. She was flagged by a psychologist to not be suicidal but she was diagnosed as having depression and anxiety with impulse control problems. I told them all of that with my heart racing and sweaty palms. I mean the cops showed up at my house!  That never happens to me. The last time cops showed up at my door was when we first moved to Colorado and apparently the previous occupant of our apartment was a wanted criminal. But I digress.  Did you know that because it was a welfare check that they had to see my kid for themselves? So they had to go over to her friend’s house to check on her. Oy vay!

That incident prompted me to not only call my kid’s therapist but also to email the school counselor. Police showing up at my door was the last straw. The counselor and I had already been going back and forth all week about “reporting” and Safe2Tell on my kid. I was so fed up  that I was ready to pull my kid from school and home school her the rest of the year. I honestly believed that someone was using the system to harass my kid. And as you can imagine, for someone diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, this was probably the least constructive thing that can happen.  Now I’m not a naive parent by any means. I know that my kid could have said something or done something that prompted someone to contact Safe2Tell. She could have said something to one person and the telephone game started. At that point she had healing/scabbing over cuts on her wrists and arms that someone could have seen. Who knows. But to have her in the counselor’s office regularly and then the police showing up was a bit sketchy to me. I can’t get upset for them investigating. It’s their job. If she was suicidal and they got a report and didn’t investigate they are liable. I get it.

Now the good that came out of this was that it prompted the counselor to reevaluate the way she approached my kid about the reports she was getting.  She started to call me about any reports she received and then I could handle it from there. She decided that if these reports were a product of using the system to harass my kid, then the perpetrator wouldn’t see her getting pulled out of class all the time and then stop. Amazingly once we adopted this new way of approaching things, the reports pretty much stopped. However, even with how well my kid is doing now, the reports have started up again. It started with a report a few weeks ago of my kid cutting herself from her shoulder to her wrist which was a completely false report. The person who reported it said the marks they saw were fresh so of course I freak out and immediately body check her when she gets home. She was completely devoid of new marks. So you can imagine that I was LIVID. I emailed the counselor and told her that whoever reported that was a big fat liar and how was she going to handle that. Because hello, a kid cutting from shoulder to wrist is a very severe accusation. I also informed her that two days prior to the report, she ended a toxic “friendship”. I didn’t know for sure that had anything to do with it but I had my suspicions. The counselor assured me that she would take care of it. I never heard back from her.

Now last week, twice, I heard from the police department. I guess the deal we have with the counselor is notated in their system. So they decided to call me as well and inform me of a Safe2Tell they received on her.  Now I had just body checked her earlier that day and I told them that she was doing well.  That she had no new cuts. That her grades are up. That she’s doing so well that they are going to phase her out of counseling.  I also informed them of the false report we had several weeks prior. So now if the report deals with self harm, they call me. When I got the second phone call from the police that week, the officer informed me that he was aware I thought someone was using the system but there really wasn’t much they could do because the tips are anonymous. But he was going to get in touch with his Sargent and see if there was some sort of solution.  I haven’t heard back from him yet.

I want to make it clear that I am absolutely not against the Safe2Tell program in any way. I think it’s a fantastic program when people use it with its intended purpose in mind. It’s a program that should only be used if you have a true genuine concern for the safety of yourself or others. It is not intended to be used as a means to harass someone through official channels. The problem is that it is anonymous so if someone wanted to abuse the system, they can without the fear that they will get in trouble. The counselor may not pull my kid into the office and the police may not show up at my door, but the phone calls are just as stressful. I see my kids shoulders slump whenever I get another one of those phone calls.  It’s discouraging to her spirit.  So this is what I told her.

“Satan knows that you are on the right path. He knows that you are doing well and he wants to discourage you and break you. But instead of letting it, use this as a confirmation that you are doing everything you are supposed to. Be encouraged knowing that you are exactly where God wants you to be right now.”

 

**If you have a genuine concern for the safety of yourself or others and you live in the State of Colorado, the Safe2Tell hotline number is  1-877-542-7233.

In the beginning…

My daughter was a cutter. She’s 12.

The start of the struggles we’ve had this year, didn’t start with the cutting. The struggles we had started with my daughters poor choices with friendships. When you’re a preteen, friends are so incredibly important. My daughter’s world seemed to revolve around her friends.

As a Christian, it’s a struggle every day to remember that we are not defined by the world, but we are defined by Him. It’s a struggle to remember what and who God says you are when you are bombarded by what the world says you are. As an adult, I know who I am. I know who made me and I know how precious I am to Him. I know that I can rest in Him and find peace in Him during my storms. I know all that and I still struggle sometimes to remember that I am loved and precious in His sight (even if I flipped off that driver this morning because he cut me off). I know I’m not perfect and I know that God loves me despite my imperfections and sins. But a preteen who is just learning about who she is, is not as secure in her relationship with Him and so she seeks outside validation

As a mom I want to shake her and remind her that the world doesn’t define her.  That it’s okay to be different.  That it’s okay not to be popular.  That it okay to just be herself.  But the world tells her she needs to dress a certain way. She needs to have certain things. She needs to do certain things. It really is hard to be a kid in today’s world. The world we live in today is so far removed from the world I grew up in. Sure somethings haven’t changed. Bullies are universal. But the way kids cope has changed.  Cutting, according to her therapist, is a common coping mechanism for kids nowadays. Say what now? Yep , they said it’s common.  It’s a learned behavior.  They are learning it from the other kids at school or via social media.

These kids may see it as common.  They may see it as cool (even though it so very much isn’t). Parents definitely don’t see it that way. The first time, I saw cuts on my daughter, I flipped out. I panicked and I froze. My husband made the executive decision to take her to the crisis intervention center.  That was a long and stressful night and I’ll talk about it in another blog post. Needless to say, I needed to go out and buy another bottle of hair dye to take care of all the grays that seemed to pop up overnight. And I’ll tell you, the cutting doesn’t just leave the child in bondage, it leaves the parents in bondage too. It leaves a lingering cloud of anxiety.

But if you remember, at the beginning of this post I said she “was” as cutter. It took almost all school year, countless therapy session and medications but I can proudly say that she is better.  She is so much better.  Shes making better choices. Shes doing better in school.  Shes made new and awesome friends. She has learned better coping skills.  Shes just better. Don’t misunderstand me, she’s still a ornery almost teenager (Gah shes almost 13!!! I’m old!). But shes happier and brighter. Shes more of the kid I saw a year ago than the kid I took to crisis intervention in December.

But this is just the beginning. This is where our story starts. There are so many things that happened this year, that I could never put it all into one post. So stay tuned and see how we went from clinging to the side of the mountain during an avalanche to standing at the top and shouting, “We did it!”.