When all you should do is watch your child hurt

Our boy is in darkness.  And we’re getting worried.  It started 3 weeks ago and lots of it, everything actually, makes perfect sense now.  It started with bad behavior to the point it was hard to like him, to the point it was hard to be around him.  The anger coming out of him, at unexpected and ‘unreasonable’ times, was hard, because it was constant.  With very direct arrows at the people around him, ouch!  The boundaries we set up were disregarded.  And then we saw him get dark, truly dark.  He could no longer care.

And I was reminded that our boy is not a boy with behavioral problems.  He is in pain!  And I became aware I need to rise above my own feelings, my anger, and my exhaustion.  This boy needs someone, please someone, to see past his behavior. And we are there now.

And we pick our words carefully, and just repeat them multiple times a day.  “You can be in a foul mood, that is okay.  You can be angry, you just can’t hurt people in the process, okay!  But we can give you space.”  And: “You will get better.  You will be okay again.”  And: “I am so so sorry you are hurting my boy.  It is so hard to watch but this will come to pass.  I am right here.” and when I say those words, I always cry.  Most importantly, I sit with our son.  I just sit with him as he is indifferent.  I just sit with him as he is dark.  I hug him, knowing I touch his soul even though nothing tells me any of what I do enters him. But I know God, I know LOVE, it will not go unnoticed.  God’s love always finds a way, in His timing.

And the few sentences that are spoken by our boy, they give us a lot of information.  Worrisome information.  Yes, there is very deep pain.  And we are concerned.  He is 16 years old and it’s not even been 2 years since he’s been with us.  He’s not even had 2 full years of stable life in his life.  I go back to the things I know… such pain.

The biggest gift we can give our children is to not want to change anything.  Although difficult for everyone involved, he is right where he needs to be.  This is inside him regardless.  This is the place to be right now, where healing gets room.  I’d rather him do this important part now, with us, then somewhere down to road, alone or with his spouse.  And I know what to do, I was there myself many many times.  I know what to do in darkness, I know what it feels like.  I do know what he needs. And even though he gives nothing, I love him and that is a crucial piece of information for his heart.  His momma will always love him.  That is simply my job.  Not because I am special, but because he is.


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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.


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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Love hurts…

I received a powerful lesson in love a few weeks back.

For the purpose of winning our boy’s heart we have been challenged to let go some of the things I wanted to control, like food intake or doing home work.  Our boy wants independence, but I know he is not ready to carry certain independence. He doesn’t always know what is best for him, that is why children have parents.  I realize that in ‘normal’ families trust was built over the years and a child, to a degree, will let a parent in because there is this realization that he/she just can’t do it alone. Our boy, because of his history, likes to hold onto his independence.  But I know it is my job to help and give direction: I can explain why not eating is not healthy, why sugar can be bad, why protein is important.  I can also guide doing homework or teach how to study.  But if that help is not necessarily wanted… I need to let go, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel and no matter how big the chance of him ‘messing up’ and falling.

And that is what I have been doing, letting go.  And it is VERY uncomfortable.  So in therapy I asked for some time for me, not our situation, not our boy but ME.  I explained I was very emotional about some things and I was hurting.  I explained that I was uncomfortable with our boy not eating breakfast, or even dinner at times.  I was uncomfortable about the amount of sugar intake, knowing our boy has trouble staying on task in class, to the point of falling asleep.  I was uncomfortable following her lead in letting go.  Our therapist (who is amazing) looked at me with compassion and gentleness: “And this is called love.”  “Excuse me?” I said.  “This is called love Maddy.  This is loving your boy.  You are letting go to the point it hurts you, for the purpose of winning his heart.  And you don’t put your hurt on him, you deal with it, you sit with it, you come here.” I started laughing a bit… I thought our boy smiling was a sign of love.  Our boy being happy would be a sign of love.  Or me feeling good would be a sign of love.  And in this instant I realize pain is a sign of love.

Love hurts.  For now, love hurts.  And it’s not a bad thing.  I realize it is too soon to see the fruits of love, but what I feel is actually a sign that I love.

And I think of Jesus.  Isn’t He our great example of love?  In His love, He was willing to hurt, for the sake of others. What is currently happening in our home is not easy.  It is tough work.  It is painful.  I mentioned before that it is also an honor. I realize I have been called to love like Jesus did (we all are).  And this kind of love I cannot have without Jesus.  This love I cannot express without Jesus.  It is exceptional.  But it can be done.  And it is happening in our home:  a Love that is beyond myself.


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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!


Until they meet again

Joy comes in the morningIt may be clear to you now… God is doing a deep thing in me.  Yes there is hurt but only for the soul purpose of coming out on the better side.  Yesterday a portion of hurt was added to my life.  It is interesting how one can hurt so badly, yet be very aware of God’s work and His grace.  
Yesterday I knew I needed to hurt and feel every emotion that rose to the occasion.  There was anger, disappointment, sadness, grief.  But I also knew I would wake up in the morning and Hope would join me. Throughout the day yesterday there was never just one emotion.  There wasn’t just the pain.  No, I could clearly see my blessings and celebrate them.  That is such a neat experience.  And that is God’s grace!  
There is something very beautiful to letting yourself go ‘there’.  To not be afraid of pain.  At times, it really is good to just be there.  Period.  I have had people tell me to not dwell on the past.  When I have hurt, I have had people step in and tell me all the good things that lay ahead.  Apart from the pain, I just don’t understand why people are so afraid of it.  Why is there such a need to get away from it as soon as possible?  Do people not know there is beauty in pain?  That there is beauty in ashes?
MaddyChristine Hope Photography-0730Because it is in that pain that God can do amazing things.  It is in that pain that God can show that He truly is God and good. It is in pain that God has a way of showing Himself.  It is in pain we can show God we truly believe and follow.  In pain there is true worship.
And so today I am reminded to let His love seep into the inner recesses of my being.  To not close off any part of myself from Him.  He knows me inside and out, so I will not try to present a ‘cleaned-up’ version of myself to Him.  Wounds that I shut away from the Light of His love will fester and become wormy.  So I open myself fully to His transforming Presence.
~ Sarah Young’s Devotional ‘Jesus Calling’ ~
And as I hurt God tells me: ” Come to me continually.  I am meant to be the Center of your consciousness, the Anchor of your soul.  Your mind will wander from Me, but the question is how far you allow it to wonder.”  ~ Sarah Young’s Devotional ‘Jesus Calling’ ~  This tells me it is okay to hurt… it is okay to go there.  But as I do this, I should not shut out God’s truth.  There is never just pain.
Isaiah 55:8-9 
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts


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This was also shared at Holley’s Coffee For Your Heart.  To read more personal stories or get encouraged, go HERE