Ever so gently

We went to therapy yesterday.  We went to give boy 2 a place to process.  He gets stuck often and we simply do not know how to help him get unstuck, and so naturally we turn to our amazing therapist.

When he is stuck he suffers, and when he suffers the whole family suffers.  We all hate to see him in pain and we hurt when we cannot reach him even though we all try.

Our boy is a mystery.  His depth is unknown to all.  I see him battle, by himself.  I see him go of into that world of loneliness. Even his brother cannot help him, after all they have different stories and with that come different pains.  I can imagine our boy feels utterly alone and unsafe.  And I… understand.

The reality is so different though.  We chose him, we wanted him, and boy 1… he wanted nothing more than have his brother back in his life.  But the past has taught him, that in fact, he IS all alone.  How scary for a child, a child!

And I look at myself and my struggles.  In my core I feel utterly alone.  The rejection in my life that is still current keeps stabbing at the deep wound.  The healing is painfully slow, and also a mystery.

We have a similar wound, that boy and I.  I do understand.  I thought I had no tools, but in fact, I like no other, I know the tool. I cannot fix this boy, I cannot heal him, but I can SEE him, truly see him.  He will know when he is seen, and THAT is healing.

We went to therapy to help him get unstuck, now I see we went to understand him better, to learn how to better care for his heart.  I need to be a lot gentler with him. Oh the gentleness his heart needs.  My voice needs to be softer because the loudness of my voice brings him into a dark place.  And we need to be less direct.  And when he goes of to the furthest corner of the living room, I can sit with him and read my book, I can give him my presence.  And the eye contact, I need to remember to always make the eye contact, a look accompanied with a sweet smile.  When he asks, I need to gently applaud that like nothing else.  It is all about answering his every need, about affirming him in every state, and cheering him on in the simple day to day.  The fast that he is, is amazing and he needs to know that.

I have a new mission: To find his depth, his soul and hold it ever so gently.

So as we came in with the hope he could and would process, I walked away with so much more.  I can’t believe parents send their kids off to therapy as most work IS for the parents.  If parents do right, the child can feel safe to break and heal.  It’s not about changing our boy or working on behavior, we are here to guide the healing!


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He watched us well

The boys were going at it yesterday.  I looked out the window and saw it all unfold.  It was ugly.  It was physical, words back and forth, and at some point the middle finger went up.  Of course I was excluded from the content of it since I was witnessing it all from a distance.

It was clear feelings got hurt because when we were all inside their faces said it all.  They refused to be in one area, and they were not speaking to one another.  It was serious.  And in the midst, I see boy 1 do something amazing.  He served his brother.  In the midst of anger, of: “I am not going to talk to him for a longggg time” he still did good.  He carried his brother’s laundry up from the basement to his brother’s room.

It was an amazing sight because have we not done just that with both boys?  We kept serving them even though we were so hurt, in the midst of anger, and definitely when they did not deserve to be served.  It made me quite proud of that boy.  He watched us well!  This is such an important attribute to life, we serve.  And when we serve those who deserve it the least, we love deeply those who need it most.


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Coffee for the Heart is a place where we just see ourselves sitting down for coffee and sharing, accept it is on the internet, never the less it is very real.  Go HERE for more stories!


Lord, I love doing this with you

It was over onions in the food.  I normally cook 2 portions of dinner: one without onions, one with.  But tonight… I just forgot. Blame the exhaustion.  No big deal as the boy is allowed to pick out the onions, which he does when he happens to eat other people’s meals.  Just tonight… it did not go over well.  Anger came at me, a foul mouth, the looks and then finally the laughter indicating this was some sort of mean game and as if going ‘Nahnah nahnahnahhhhh’.  It was bad enough that, after the warnings of course, I took away the one thing most important to him… basketball.  And the light went out. Screaming, yelling, kicking furniture and doors, throwing things around.  And I let him.  I knew whatever was in there had to come out.  He had to sink deep.  And he sunk deep to his broken truth.  Yelling the ugliest words ever.  Accept, I knew they were not for me.  The screams were no longer screams, they now came from the top of his lungs.  Running out the door, coming back in, going around in circles showing whatever he was feeling, it was too much to bear.  The cries were no longer just cries, they now came from the pit of his stomach.

Our other boy was now affected.  How can one handle seeing his brother suffer and not be affected by it?  Well, not our boys. They are ‘too’ connected, they care ‘too’ much.  Though separated at some point, the bond between them never faded.  It probably got stronger because of it.  So now this boy cries the same tears as he begging-ly looks at me: ‘Do something! Please do something!’  But I can’t, not in the way he is hoping for.  So I hold, I just hold.  And I speak the words that come to me.

I go back to our other boy.  It’s time to calm him down and help him out of this war.  I walk towards him, I try to have the gentlest eyes ever, and he runs into my arms, holds me so tightly crying “Mom, mom, mom.”  And he chants: ‘I am so sorry, so sorry, so so sorry.”  I repeat over and over again that he will be ok, that we will be ok.  After a bit I bring the boys together in a room and honestly, I am empty.  What else can I do?  How can I make sure healing takes place?  I hold one boy, or two. We even hold one another.  I pray silently.  And as I pray I hear a song in my head: “Lord, I love doing this with you.  How I love doing this with you!”  And as I praise God with that sentence, I realize healing IS taking place.

This journey is so draining, so painful.  So very difficult.  I even tell the people around us that our life is no fun right now.  It really isn’t.  We wrestle through each week and keep telling ourselves that a year from now, we will be in a better place.  But how amazing, in the midst of ugly truth and lives broken, I see God.  And my prayer is that we will be in a better place around this time next year.  That life will be back to having joy in it.  But more so, I pray for our boy’s futures.  How I long for them to pass on the healing they have received.  How I hope they will not just go after good paying jobs, but instead truly understand the miracle in their lives and live to pass it on praising God saying: ‘Lord, I love doing this with you, I love doing this with you!’


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Oh that boy sees, and he blesses me


24 hours have passed.  It’s time to do a family check in.  Where is everyone at?  How is every feeling?  Do we need another 24 hours of rest, or are we ready to talk?

I go last… I know I am not ready to talk and I know some others are.  I am about to call out more uncomfortable time.  I have to let it be ok that I am not ready when everyone else is.  I know the boys will be angry with me, and I have to let it be ok.  I know my husband would rather us move on, he is uncomfortable with it too, and I have to let that be ok.  I am nervous about the dinner time we are about to have…

And then something amazing happens.  I take my turn.  “I am not ready boys.  I am still tired.”  I look at boy 1 and I tell him I am still angry with him over last week.  He does not pull his eyes away from me, instead he listens intensely, and he knots his head.  “Boy 2, I still so hurt by your actions towards me, or lack there of.  My tank did not fill up enough yet.  I am afraid I am still able to fire up easily, and I need to work too hard to self-regulate.”  When boy 2 rolls his eyes at me I continue… “And I have to be honest with you guys.  When I see boy 2 rolling eyes at me, when I see that he’s not gotten passed the fact he can’t be on his device, it’s really hard for me to get rest.  Because the rejection continues, the anger at me continues… you are all resting but I still get this treatment.  I still get to be tense.  And boy 2… you do not share anything about where you are at.  You are just angry.  So I just have to breath through this, but also give myself more time.”

Boy 1 steps in: “Can I please respond to this?…  Today has been good for me.  I have been writing and thinking.  I have had good talks with my brother and he’s helped me today in processing things.  But of all things, I have wrestled with the question: “How is it that mom loves me the way she does when she is so angry with me?  How does she do it?  I don’t understand.”  He went on to explain about Monday, when we came home from therapy… “I was still set on being angry with you guys, I was still set on making you hurt because… well… I hurt.  I decided I was not done being defiant and stubborn.  I was not going to listen to anything you had to say.  I was not ready to let go, and the therapy session showed it, I stuck my ground and kept calling everything unfair, without listening to what the adults had to say.  But then we drove home, and we all realized we had nothing to come home to and mom happily offered a trip to the library.  Why would she want to take me to the library and serve ME? And when it was time for dinner, I saw mom make our favorite family meal.  I also know I don’t like the broccoli that comes with that favorite meal and usually mom makes a separate dish for me, with my own vegetable.  I told little brother that dinner was going to suck, how mom usually makes it different for me but there’s no way she would tonight.  I was going to hate dinner.  Then we sat down… and mom actually made me my separate dish just like she always does. It got me quiet, and it made me think. I don’t understand where it is coming from.  How does she do it when she is angry?  I have not found an answer but mom, I want to applaud you.  In my time alone today I have come to realize dad is right when he tells me what a strong woman you are.  You tell me you are angry, you have every right to be, but you just tell me you are, and then you go about life.  You don’t yell at me, you don’t stop loving me, you don’t reject me, you don’t ignore me.  I want you to know I see.  You are a remarkable woman.”

As our boy speaks I let the tears roll down my cheeks.  I grab my husband’s hand.  He knows how hard this week has been and boy 1’s words are healing for my heart.  In that instant I realize it’s all worth it.  In that instant I see what God is doing… He is healing our boys.  He has given me an amazing gift: Hurt, hurt for these boys and show them how you heal.  Love, love these boys and teach them what it truly is.

And with that we did extend our family rest with another 24 hours…


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Our Family Rests

IMG_8348We are in the middle of a very hard patch.  During our vacation in NC last week things did not go well, and I mean, did NOT go well. And so upon return, we knew our place to be: this week alone is filled with 8 hours of family therapy.

We are tired.  All of us are.  And in this moment we do not know how to get passed things.  If I speak for myself, I am still feeling very angry about the things that have happened the past week, and I am also still getting very hurt by actions of boy 2.  All that is hard to take in, it’s hard to process.  So I am in no place to start talking, especially if the talking I do is met with anger, resentment and without any sense of wanting to get better.  Boy 1 is tired and he expressed it in therapy: “I am not sure we should be talking.  I am so tired from trying to be good, and mom and dad are so tired of having to deal with my behavior.  It seems we need to take a break and rest, to not talk until we are more ready.”

And so our amazing therapist asked our boy what people do when they are tired.  They sleep, that is right.  “So yes, I think you all are tired.  How about a 24 hour rest period?” she asked.  And together we put a plan in place.  We go to bed early, no late nights just because it’s summer vacation.  No sleeping in, that only causes you not to be ready for normal bed time, routine is important.  No date night for mom and dad.  No children asking to go out to spend time with friends and no ‘going to the movies’ requests.  And most importantly: NO talking about any of what happened.  This time is to rest and to focus inwardly.


It was time to pull a few other important things, and we knew this was not going to be easy on the boys, in fact, it would make them MAD!!  There is a huge need for us to go inward.  What happened last week?  Why?  How can we understand better why we do what we do?  And so we also called in a media fast.  No devices, no tv, no electronics.  If we spend this rest time being on devices, watching tv… we’d learn nothing.  We can indulge in snapchat and it’s great how numbing that works. Sure we can hang out with friends but then we are not dealing with any issues on the inside, we are just walking away from them. It was time to get uncomfortable.


It’s time to face our pain, past and present.  And with that our therapist gave us an exercise.  An exercise I will not get into right now, but the exercise is hard work.  It takes huge effort.  It takes looking back, sitting with the past, feeling the pain of it, and learning about our believe system today because of it.

So here we are… the home is very quiet.  I catch boy 1 on the porch with his note book, working hard to go there.  To go to that place hidden deep within, and I see him hurt by what he discovers.  I have to let it be ok.  He is hurting but I have to let him be.  I see my husband having a longer ‘daddy time’ then usual.  Boy 2 is mainly struggling with not having his device, he is angry.  I know he has a long way to go.  I have to let him sit with the anger.  I can’t help him.  I see boys reading books.  I see boys picking up jobs around the house.  I even hear boys chatting about important stuff, deep stuff and it happens without anger or fights.  And me… I mostly watch our family do this.  Being this uncomfortable is not foreign to me.  I have learned in life that I can’t control things, that I can’t walk away from pain and I know it is important not to get into someone else’s pain.  Sometimes you just need to let someone be there.  And watching that hurts, but I am ok with it.  So me… I write, I pray, I cry, I do this very difficult exercise, and me… I go deep as well.


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Here we go again…

Rejection, unkindness, silent treatment, rolling eyes, even nastiness… all coming at me once again. It hurts, and I have been told that because I can let it hurt me, our match was successful with boy 1. Our match will also be successful with boy 2.

But it really does hurt and it really is not an easy thing.  And the next months will look just like that.  But it will come to pass. Our first boy worked through it in amazing ways and we find ourselves now having fun, joking around and spending one on one time together.  We long for that now.

Why are my emotions necessary?  The boys need to see me connect with them even if I hurt because of them.  I express my emotions healthily, they do know when I am hurt by their actions, yet I do not walk away, withdraw or get mean in return.  For some reason this is intricate to their healing.  Healthy, but difficult bonding!

I get through it because I have friends who will always receive my texts about the heaviness of it all, no matter how many of them. I get through it because Tim and I will take breaks. I get through it because friends will happily take our boys for a bit. I get through it because we did it once before, and we can do it again.  I get through it because God is not silent.

One day, we will have two boys who are better at trusting people, one day we will have two boys who know what true love is, one day we will have two boys who will return home after college because bonding did happen.  It is not too late and we pray God’s mighty power over all of us.  We all need healing, we all need to trust, we all need to know love in better and true ways.


I love that you are here and I certainly would love to hear from you.  To leave a comment go HERE !

Coffee for the Heart is a place where we just see ourselves sitting down for coffee and sharing, accept it is on the internet, never the less it is very real.  Go HERE for more stories!