Thanksgiving

It’s hard sometimes to be thankful. In the midst of pain, loss and depths of discouragement, thanksgiving is the last thing on a person’s mind. Yet it is something that God commands of us. I Thessalonians 5:18 “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you”;

So with everything that is going on, good and bad, I am to give thanks.

Does that mean I need to give thanks that my son no longer wants to live with me? Or that there is a feeling of loss in my heart? Or can I get away with not giving thanks for this thing, because it’s so painful?

No, I’m pretty sure that God wants thanks in everything. And the word everything doesn’t really include exceptions. So how, in a spirit of obedience can I give thanks?

I can give thanks that there is a person in my life that is willing to help with this horrid situation. I can give thanks for family and friends that offer support and hugs and most of all prayers. I can give thanks that there is a sense of peace that has returned to our home. I can give thanks that maybe I can learn something important through all this. And maybe, I can give thanks for the heart of God who sees all of this when all I can see is the tears in my eyes and the pain in my heart.

This Thanksgiving was wonderful and not so wonderful at the same time. We all missed Anders terribly, but my mom and sister came for a visit, bringing Tyler home with them. They got in late Tuesday night and stayed for the entire week. It was wonderful! The conversation, teasing, fun, shopping and hugs were amazing!

My in-laws came in Thanksgiving night, just in time for dinner. They had the feast with us and stayed the night before going over to my brother in law’s. It was fun to watch my mom and my mother in law talk and get to know one another… I think that they could be really good friends if they lived closer. We ended up having a great birthday party for Cambria and Levi on Thanksgiving night, since all the family was together. There were so many toys and so many giggles and smiles!

Then my sister had a couple of friends spend the night Friday night as they headed out for Florida and a cruise on Saturday.

It was a crazy, crazy week… the house was full, the kids got spoiled rotten, and I already miss the craziness.

If I take my time, look past the circumstances in front of me there is so much to be grateful for that it would take three posts. Family, friends, a nice home, food on the table, clothes to wear, money to shop, presents and fun for my kids, a husband that loves and supports me, shoulders to cry on, and our health.

Over this time of Thanksgiving, give thanks with me that there is always a reason to give thanks!

Philippians 4:4-7 (4)Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice. (5)Let your forbearance be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (6) In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

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Pain and Torment

I am at a place that is not easy. It’s a place of pain. A place of torment. A place of tears galore.

I haven’t written for months because of this place. I have felt like a failure, a loser, hopeless and lost. I’ve listened to the lies that I’m the worst mom ever. I’ve felt defeated every day for months. I’ve cried more than I have ever cried in my entire life.

I’ve debated whether or not to divulge… I have decided that there is no avoiding it.

Anders. My beautiful, blue-eyed, fun loving, super-hero, little boy, is not living with us anymore.

Quite frankly there is no easy explaination. When Anders first came to live with me I knew that there were some issues. If you’ve known us for very long, I’m sure you have heard some of the stories. He was they angriest and meanest 2 year old I had ever met. His anger levels have always surprised me, and for a while they subsided… but they returned in a huge way over the last year.

I began to wonder what people were thinking about the looks of my kids, and not in the “are they clean, healthy and dressed nice” way, but in the “why are they covered in bruises and cuts?” way. For clarification: all kids have cuts and bruises…  Another clarification: We never lay a hand on our kids. But every day there was another kid with a black eye, fat lip, bloody lip or something.  And behind every action- Anders.

For a long time I pushed through it. Tried every kind punishment, positive reinforcement, smiles, tears, frustration and well… everything. I read books, we talked through everything. And yet every day was filled with tears and more frustration.

I cried myself to sleep almost every single night. I was angry every single day. And my marriage and family was hurting… ALL… THE… TIME.

When my family called, it was worry in their voices. And I wasn’t even telling them everything. I was hiding it all, because only a complete loser has a family falling apart within months of a new marriage. (Even writing this brings tears to my eyes)  All this to say that about a month and a half or so ago I had all but given up and was looking at the failure of family and wondering what on earth was going to happen next and how we were going to survive it. Needless to say I was praying all the time, begging God for answers. But another victim of this mess was my heart for God.

Why? Well, because along every step, at every turn, at every possible moment I had asked for God’s direction, for his peace, for his path for my life. And I followed as close and as real as I could possibly get. Why else would I adopt three kids on my own? Why else would I volunteer to help with an orphan minded group? Why else would I give up freedom of my own life to walk the path that I was on? Why else would I marry a man, when life was easy as a single? (I know completely backwards of most mentality.) Why else? It’s because I thought, felt, knew I was obeying what God wanted me to do. But this was the result? I think I would have been better off NOT obeying.

Or at least that was what I was believing during this time.

Yes, it’s true, this fire hearted gal with a passion for God, kids and family, was losing faith in all three.

Broken.

That is my heart. Broken.

In that place a month or so ago, my family called me. I mean, my aunt, my sister and my mother, unknowingly all three called in 24 hours. And I finally told them all the truth. I broke all over them. Sobbing. Screaming. Ugly.

I told them and they listened. They prayed. They didn’t pity party me, console me or even try to give me the convenient “Christian” answers. They just cried with me. And my heart took a breath again.

My aunt, in an unexpected twist, offered to take Anders for a few weeks. For a breath of peace for the rest of us. We said yes.

We went on vacation, which was the best family time we had had in MONTHS, and then I took Anders to Michigan. But my heart knew our lives were going to change forever.

On the way home I called a friend… and as I called her I begged God for her to understand and not hate me for what had happened. I was crying before she even answered the phone. It had been months since I talked to her. Even longer since I was real with her, and who could blame her if she didn’t even want to talk to me? When she picked up it was like being given hope again. Because as I shared my heart, my ugliness, my hopelessness… she shared hers. She told me that she had been going through the EXACT same stuff and knew EXACTLY where I was, and WHY I was there. My heart breathed another breath.

Anders has decided he doesn’t want to live with me anymore. And as much as that is a stab to my heart. I understand him. And I have granted his request.

In those books I refered to earlier, one was: “When Love is Not Enough: A Guide to Parenting Children with RAD”  As I read it, I understood some of the things with Anders that otherwise could never be understood. But two of the things it insisted were necessary for a child to recover: One on One time (Bucket loads) and to never respond without anger. Those two things I could not, at this time, give him. My aunt however can.

I do not know how long it will be, how long it will take, but I do know that we are all (Anders included) getting the peace of heart and mind that we all so desperately wanted and needed. When I begged God for help, for this peace of household, this was NOT what I wanted or expected. In fact I was angry about this too. But I know that part of my anger is pride. And I have no reason to be prideful.

And it is in effort to destroy this pride that I am writing this, that I am sharing our story. In a way I am begging God to have someone gain insight and if nothing else know that they are not alone. It was the most amazing thing in the world to know that I am not alone… maybe someone else needs to know it too.

I know that this post will open us up for judgement, ridicule and maybe even angry responses. But in my heart I know that once again we have followed the path laid before us by God. And I am trusting Him to lead us through the rest of this path.