no story too ugly…

01DB519F-2AEF-4517-A617-1AEA4B1588BEGod has used the pain of these past six years to develope in me a heart for other women—-especially moms.

I believe that as women, we need each other, and that we need to be IN each other’s lives and not settling for the answer, “I’m fine.”

i was the master of “I’m fine”.

For years, i would put on a smile, and go through the motions, and no one was ever the wiser.

at times, I don’t even think that my husband was aware of the pain i was holding inside.

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Our struggles with our oldest daughter began around the time she started junior high, and before that time, I didn’t know that it was possible to feel lonely even when surrounded by other people.

and yet, i did.

aside from my husband and i, very few people  had any knowledge of the turmoil in our home.

and even those few that knew of our struggle were unaware of the oppressive behavior that i was dealing with day in and day out.

to be honest, i think that i had just accepted that “this is just the way it is”, and i had no hope that life this way would ever change.

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There were seasons where i felt so alone and to be honest, i also felt judged.

judged by well-meaning friends and loved ones who would suggest that we parent “this way” or that we “loosen up”, and yet, they had no idea why we had to keep doing things the way that we did.

they didn’t realize that with every inch of freedom we gave our oldest came more rebellion and more attitude of entitlement.

and they had no idea of the amount of manipulation and lying we dealt with, and how mistreated our younger kids had been when my husband and I weren’t around.

There were so many things that people didn’t know and that my husband and i felt we couldn’t share.

F53220DB-A724-47C7-8FEA-F68FA99DE64FAs I’m now somewhat on the other side of that season, my heart aches for all the moms out there who are lonely and who feel that there story is too ugly to share.

and i grieve with those moms who have lost their kids—- either to physical death or to this world; for i am convinced that there is no greater pain than the loss of a child.

i wish that back in that season of my life i had felt safe enough to share the darkness that was then my life.

how i wish I could’ve opened my heart to someone, and know that they’d accept me with open arms and no judgment.

and more than anything, i wish I would’ve ran to Jesus more and would’ve allowed him to comfort me and give me hope.

God has used those dark years to grow me and to make me the strong woman that i now am.

if you remember anything about this  post, i hope you remember that Jesus loves you, and that no matter how ugly your story is, you are not alone.

much love,

patty

mothers day God’s way….

15C3321C-7302-45EA-BFE4-7483AC60990EMother’s Day.

A day that took on a whole new meaning six years ago when our oldest daughter—18 years-old at the time—chose the world over our family.

That was six Mother’s Days ago.

those first few Mother’s Days following that horrific time were filled with both tears as well as joy.

on the one hand, i was grieving the loss of our daughter, while at the same time adjusting to our “new norm” and learning how to give myself fully to my younger four kids.

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those first few years after my daughter left were filled with unending sorrow, as she made one poor choice after another, each one resulting in terrible consequences….and us left picking up the pieces.

The amount of emotion and heartbreak i experienced during that time is indescribable.  I never imagined walking through something so painful, and feeling so hopeless.

there were days when i would give anything to just hug my daughter, to feel her in my arms.  And yet, any and all encounters with her were beyond painful, leaving me crying for days at a time.

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As the years have gone by, God has brought me to a place of total surrender; causing me to realize that my kids don’t belong to me—-they belong to Him.

He helped me to see that I can’t change or control the horrible things that have happened in my daughter’s life since the day she left home, and that surrendering her to Him is the only way i will find true peace.

i can not begin to tell you how freeing it’s been to fully trust God with my kids.

i’m no longer paralyzed with fear and the need to “control” everything that happens in their lives, which frees me up to fully enjoy them.

36C97BC9-1759-4E2E-912E-9C51296FFF51Trusting God with my kids includes trusting Him with their futures as well as with the unknowns.

we haven’t heard from our oldest daughter in almost two years, and it’s been even longer than that since we’ve seen her.

to be honest, we don’t know where she lives, nor do we have a way to contact her.

There are times when i wonder if she’s even alive, and if she’s not, would we ever find out?  I have to be careful not to go down that road because it’s too easy to let fear take over.

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There was a time when i wished that things had been different and that we wouldn’t have had to walk such a painful road,

and yet, when i look at how God has made beauty from the ashes of that time, I wouldn’t trade what we’ve gained for anything.

we currently have three teenagers and one preteen in our home, and i have to say that they are the most amazing and pleasant people i know.

not only that, but we have a sweet relationship with each one of them, and our home is filled with a peace that could only come from God alone.

Maybe this isn’t the life i would have chosen, but I’m so thankful that God had other plans!

Blessings,

Patty

Christmas meanderings…

0D22482A-5A30-4742-896E-C8D5B71E5F3EEvery year, Christmas seems to come and go, leaving me breathless and wondering how the time went by so quickly.

and no matter how hard i try to plan ahead, i still find myself scrambling a few days before Christmas, allowing anxiety to slip in just enough that it threatens to rob me of the sweet joys of Christmas.

i feel like i handled things a bit better this year—when i felt the old familiar anxieties  start to flair up, I simply reminded myself to relax and do what i can, accepting the reality that the most important things will get done and the rest can be let go.

it’s actually quite crazy the things that I allow myself to get worried about; i mean, quite frankly, who really cares if we have five different types of Christmas goodies rather than eight?

5BDB62B4-B991-4988-8B3E-5F60B43BEAF3All in all, we had a wonderful, relaxing Christmas, and thankfully, we were all healthy!

i messed up on both the breakfast and lunch menus, but my family was very gracious and no one went without eating.

we ended the day by going to see the movie, The Greatest Showman.  I’m telling you, if you haven’t seen this movie, you have to go see it!  It’s phenominal!  And to be honest, when my seventeen year-old daughter told me about it, I didn’t expect to like it.  But it made me smile and it made me cry, and i can’t recommend it highly enough.

BFBAD609-DA52-449B-A80D-B5AC10D0ECFFOf course, the day didn’t go by without me thinking about our oldest daughter.  It’s hard to think that she’s out there somewhere, and i have no idea if she’s ok.  I find myself wondering if she’s safe, or if she’s even alive, for that matter.  And i cant help but remember the years when she was an innocent, sweet child who made us smile just by entering the room.

i’ve come to accept that this is our reality.  And i realize that there’s a possibility that we may never see her again.  Or that she may die as a result of the dangerous choices that she makes.

Sometimes i think i’d give anything just to hug her and pretend that our lives didn’t turn out the way they did.  But the reality is that she made her choice,and i can’t do anything about it.

and as painful as these past six years have been, I wouldn’t trade what God has done in my life, as well as in my husband and  four younger kids.

He truly has made beauty out of the ashes.