Fear and Trust

feartrust2

“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!”.