In light of this advice from Ernie…
It’s the “what ifs” that plague me. I know the ‘right’ thing is to leave it in God’s hands. I know that. But what if I should do more…or at least do different? What if what I thought was one thing…really isn’t that thing at all, but something entirely different? What if in my attempt to leave it in God’s hands I am simply absolving myself of what I find too hard or confusing to do? It is hard (for me) to find the balance of letting it go and doing what I could if I were braver or smarter or something. Perhaps when I can’t find any clear path to DO, that is when I should let go? I know it is my minuscule faith and overblown sense of self that causes this quandary…but I’m trying to do the right thing.
Lest I be too obtuse, I’m going to go ahead and ‘write hard and clear about what hurts’. I just found out that one of our kids in back in jail today. It’s not his first time. It is, in fact, his fifth time. Most of the problems he has had…legally…involve possession of a small amount of marijuana. He uses to self-medicate. He gets a fine. He sits out his fine. He gets out and the cycle starts over again.
For the record…none of these arrests are his fault. He was holding for a friend. He didn’t know there was alcohol in the vehicle. He wasn’t the one who stole the item. Sure, he did take the item but it was hardly any loss for the business. If you have ever watched the show COPS, it’s exactly like that.
The last time he was arrested I found a shelter with a treatment program that fit within his budget, ie: free. He agreed to go to treatment. I drove 6+ hours to pick him up and over 8 back to deliver him to the shelter. During our drive he said several times how he hoped this shelter didn’t make you leave during the day to job search and not be able to return until dinner time. Good news! The new shelter has no such policy! Instead, you check in at the desk at 5:30am and get your ‘job’ for the day (sweeping, mopping, folding sheets, etc.) and you work 7am – 7pm.
That news brought on the downward spiral in attitude. He physically deflated and began to sulk. He started shaking his head. He started mumbling under his breath about how stupid it was. That’s when I knew. I knew he wouldn’t stay.
I still got him checked in, he went with a guy to get some clothes and I cried as I left. Just because I can draw a line and hold it doesn’t mean it doesn’t break my heart to do so.
The next day I texted to ask how things were going and got more attitude. That was the last I heard from him until today when I heard about him. My gut was right. He didn’t stay and he likely had no intention of ever entering treatment. He simply did not want to be where he was and said what he had to in order for me to come get him. I know that. But I am only responsible for my actions. I did what I could.
So now, he is back in jail for things that appear to be worse than some crumbs of weed in the bottom of a baggie. I don’t know what will happen from here.
So it seems pretty cut and dried, right? Kid breaks law, kid gets arrested. Typically, kid learns lesson. But sadly, it isn’t cut and dried at all. He is diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder. He likely has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. His brain isn’t learning the lesson because his cause & affect thinking is impaired.
Here is where my heart gets torn. Does he truly comprehend that the things he is doing are wrong and he absolutely cannot do them even if he can justify it in his own mind? I don’t think he does. He never has. From the get-go when he arrived at a decision where the choices were to do the right thing or do what he wanted to do, he 100% of the time choose to do what he wanted to do. And he justifies it 1000 different ways. Most of them don’t make any sense but he is immovable. When confronted with facts that defeat his reasoning, he shakes his head and smirks. How stupid that I would try to convince him he is wrong. He tells me I am crazy. Anything he does not like or agree with is crazy.
So, it’s hard. It’s hard to know if leaving it in God’s hands is just a nice-sounding choice that is really just me giving up. Am I taking the ‘easy’ road by ‘leaving it in God’s hands’? Do I have the responsibility to do more for him because I knew the risks of adopting an older child? Is it my plight to forfeit the rest of my life trying to help him and make up to my other children all the time and energy that they missed out on because of him?
I feel defeated and it hurts.
Ok, so what are my choices now? Is there any clear path that I can take to actually help him? I don’t see one. What I do see is that God offers me comfort and hope.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
2 Corinthians 1:3
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.”
Romans 4: 3-5
“Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us…”
And not only comfort and hope for me, but for my child…my children. I can give it to God and He can handle it. I can be mindful of what HIS word says and meditate on it. I can listen for any prompting into action from Him. But I cannot fix his hurt. I cannot fix his heart. I cannot fix his brain. I cannot fix the hurt or anger my other kids feel because of the drama and trauma that was a way of life for so long.
I can’t. God can. My heart is still going to hurt. He is my child, after all.
I think I am certainly not the only one walking this road. I have friends who are. I suspect there are many more who simply don’t feel they can talk about it. It’s embarrassing. It makes me look like a failed parent. It shows our family in a poor light. But you know what? So what. Life is messy.
If you are hurting today because your child is not fitting well into that perfect Facebook status update mold, come over here and sit by me. We can remind one another that we are loved by God…and so is our child. We can prop each other up when the bad news comes. We can cry when we get sucked into worrying that it is all our fault and remind one another that it isn’t. Let’s join hands and support each other rather than pointing fingers. Let’s love one another like He loves us. The hard things don’t seem quite as hard when you are not alone.