There is no greater pain to me as a mother than to feel rejected and unloved by your child. I know that I have made so many mistakes in raising my children but you always want your child to love you. You don't have to always agree or see eye to eye but you want to love and respect each other.
By the time that my son left home two weeks before graduation...I was angry. He was "acting out" and "rebelling" against everything that we tried to stand for...he wouldn't have nothing to do with it or us...at that point. There was very little communication between us during those last two weeks before he graduated from high school.
He and I are so much alike...maybe that is why we would butt heads as often as we did. I am very independent...so much so that my mom tells me that when I was just a "tot"...I didn't know who to tie my own shoes but I would refuse to let anyone tie them for me cause I would say "me do it myself". Brandon is just as bad as I am in that area. Plus, we don't like to be told that we "can't" do something or that we're not going to do something!
He had a drama skit thing a couple of nights before graduation...I found out about it the day of and made sure that I was there to support my son...regardless of the "feelings" between us at the moment. He was my son, I loved him and it was his senior year...how could I miss anything that he did? I couldn't. I got there and waited for their skit, they performed and during their break...he came over to my table to thank me for coming.
Boy, was I in for a shock....his hair had been dyed...fire engine red...or better yet...Patriot...red! It was 2 days before graduation!!!! I was about to die! I asked him what on earth he was thinking...he said...well, I always wanted to see what it would look like red...but this wasn't exactly what I meant. Yeah, right! I think it was more like...can I shock her anymore? Can I get another jab in on her? Can I make her any madder at me? I wanted to stangle him!!!!
Needless to say, I told him that it had better not be that same color graduation night! Ok, so I was a little irritated...ok....I was pretty ticked off!
Thank goodness...graduation night...it was not that color and I was happy about that. I was very proud of him and honored to be apart of his graduation celebration. We were all there...me, Roger, Tyler, his Nanny, his father and his little sister.
After graduation, things went down hill from there. He stayed with those same friends for a few weeks, moved in with another friend, moved to Memphis, changed apartments several times over the next couple of months, needed money to pay his rent (I said "no"...so hard as a mother to do), didn't have much communication with his through summer and the fall, he didn't show up for Christmas (said he was sick and didn't have a ride...he didn't ask me to come pick him up...which I would) and we had it out. I told him how I felt about him not coming for Christmas, not calling, being selfish, irresponsible...I was hurt and angry. This was the first Christmas in 18 years that I had not spent it with my son. He was on his own and he didn't have to take anything off me anymore...or that is what he thought...not much respect at this point...he told me what he thought of me and Roger.
He needed my help about 3 weeks later...he was in a very bad situation. I had to check my spirit and make sure that I said "no" for the right reason..."Tough Love" rather than anger or revenge. That was absolutely one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do...I felt like I turned my back on my son. In a way...I did for his own good...not out of anger or bitterness though.
Then the pain of a breaking mother's heart began...he disappeared. I didn't have anyway to contact him...no cell phone, no internet access, didn't know any of his friends...nothing. I went from February until July 14th...not knowing where my son was...if he was dead, alive, injured, in the hospital, in jail, homeless, hungry...nothing. I had no idea where to even look. That was absolutely the sickest feeling that I personally have ever felt.
I knew that he was not doing things the way that I know was pleasing to God or pleasing to me...but he was learning life's lessons...one by one. Brandon is so strong willed and driven...he has to learn the hard way...he has never been able to learn from someone else's mistakes...he has to suffer the pain to learn that something is not right or he is able to pat himself on the back when it was the right thing to do. I have to give him credit...he has made it own his own for 4 years. He is a very determined and resourceful young man!
All I could do was to pray and pray. I would plead the Blood of Jesus over him each day, prayed that he would hear when he was awake, asleep, working, playing...everything that he ever learned in Sunday School, church, youth, church camp...how much God loved him and died for him...plus, he could not get my voice out of his head. I prayed that he would remember the good times, the quality family time we spent together as a family, the love that we showed him, the words...I Love You!...would ring in his head and ears...day and night. I prayed that God would bring healing to his emotions...heal the hurts from the past...caused by his father, me, Roger...anything that made him feel less than special and geniuinely loved.
July 14th 2005...on Tyler's 11th birthday...his brother called to wish him a "Happy Birthday". I can't begin to tell you the joy that I felt knowing that he was alive and well. The relief that I felt just hearing his voice. My son...my first born...my precious son...who I love more than my own life was on the other end of the phone. I LOVE YOU, BRANDON!!!!!!!!!
He had lived all over...from Memphis to Atlanta, to Destin, to New Orleans, to Destin, to Mississippi and back to Atlanta. I could have not found him...even, if I had tried.
He told me that day that I was driving him crazy...that for months and months...he has not been able to shut me up...my voice had been ringing in his ears, in his head and even in his sleep. I told him that God answers prayers. He never lef him ott of His sight regardless of whether I knew where he was or not...God did. He watched over him, He protected him and He loved him.
I can honestly say..."Thank you, Jesus for your faithfulness and thank you that those days are behind us now". Things still aren't perfect or a well as I would like them to be...but I know where my son is and I can talk to him or at least...Instant Message him.
He had been back in Atlanta just a couple of weeks when he had his horrible car wreck...March '08...I just found out this afternoon that he was back in our state. He is now back to being just a hour from this mother who loves her son and wants the very, very best for him.
Brandon, I want you to know how much I love you. I am still praying for you and I will never stop. I will never give up on your and like I have told you all of your life...that if everyone on this earth turns their back on you...that if you feel like you are all alone...I will always be here...loving you...when you don't have anyone else on earth there for you...I will be.
I thank you for the precious life that you entrusted me with 22 years ago. I know that I have not been the perfect mother, I have asked Brandon to forgive me for my shortcomings and repented for where I failed you as a mother. But you know, Lord...the one thing that I have never failed in is my love for Brandon.
Father, I thank you for your hand of protection that you have had on his life, as you have spared his life...not once but twice. Once in the ocean when he was so near death, but he cried out to you and you saved him and his dad. I know without a doubt that your hand of protection was on him that dreadful night in March...Your hand shielded him from death because Satan intended on taking his life that night.
Father, I thank you for the Blood of Jesus that had been prayed over Brandon so many times...Your Blood is what saved his life. I know that you have a special calling on Brandon's life and your have great and mighty things in store for him. He will be your voice to the lost and hurting young people of this world.
Father, I thank you that you knew Brandon before he was formed in my womb and you had a plan for him even then...that plan has not changed. I love you and I thank you for all that you have done for Brandon and will continue to do for him and through him.
In Jesus Name...Amen
Friday, May 30, 2008
There is no greater pain to me as a mother than to feel rejected and unloved by your child. I know that I have made so many mistakes in raising my children but you always want your child to love you. You don't have to always agree or see eye to eye but you want to love and respect each other.
Please watch this all the way through...it is just over 8 minutes long but it is so worth your time. God...the Master Designer, the Architect of our Bodies, the Creator of the Universe...How can someone doubt that there is a God?
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Have you ever been in the middle of life's journey and found yourself confused as to which way to go?
That is where I am right now in life. You pray and you pray, but it is still too foggy to see which way to turn. You can't see clearly and you are straining hard trying to make out the road ahead.
You read your Bible and you seek His face, but still...nothing. You wait and wait...still nothing...but confusion.
Do I turn to the right, turn to the left or go straight ahead? There are consequences regardless of the direction you chose to go. What do you do? Keep waiting, seeking and praying? Yes, that is all you really can do. Is it easy? I can tell you...definitely...no, it is not easy. Time is running out to make that decision, the crossroad is fast approaching.
I feel like a windsock...twisting, turning around and around in the wind...hanging out there all alone. You think one minute that you have a clear view of the road ahead and the very next minute...you don't. You think, one minute that you understand the direction that God wants you to go and the next minute, you feel like it is Satan's deception that you feel.
If you make the wrong decision and step outside of God's will, then you will pay for the wrong decision for a very long time. You're in the 11th hour....
I have read and prayed over the following verses:
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.
Proverbs 3:1-10, 13, 19-26
My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. F6 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 11 My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline and do not resent his rebuke,
13 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding,
19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; 20 by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew. 21 My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; 22 they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. 23 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; 24 when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, 26 for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.
I know that God will direct my path but I keep asking myself...do I have a distorted view of the limits to God's Will? Am I putting God in a box? Am I thinking there could only be one choice that would be God's Will? I am trying to keep my mind on God and His Will only, not to let Satan creep into my thoughts causing me to have doubts, trust God to make His direction for my life absolutely, 100% crystal clear...open the door wide or slam it shut...so there is no question as to what is the right choice.
If you have found yourself in a similar situation and don't mind sharing your experience...I need to hear from you.
Have a blessed day!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Are you having fun riding the roller coaster ride of our blended family? Well, I certainly hope so because the ride is not over yet!
Brandon lived with his father (I don't feel that "daddy" is appropriate for him because daddy is also a term of endearment, so to speak...over and above being a biological father...he wasn't) for just over a year but things weren't rosy there either. His father didn't really care where he was, who he was with, when he came home or even...if he came home at all. Now this would seem like every teenager's dream world but I'm quite sure that he would tell you today that he hurt him deeply to have his father act like he really didn't care. He was more of his "buddy"...not his father. Even though, at the time...I was the evil mother because we had boundaries, rules and expected a lot from him...in his grades, in the form of respect and just personally. It wasn't to be mean or punish him...but because we loved him and wanted the very best for him.
During his time away...I feel, shaped many different things in Brandon's life that might have been different if he had ONLY HAD A LOVING FATHER...his biological father...the one that he longed for and desperately wanted his love and attention. My heart breaks every time I write about this subject and it still makes me furious...all at the same time. My son deserved so much more!
His father brought him to our house on afternoon after having another one of their explosive episodes...he was having just as hard of a time handling him as I did. It wasn't as easy as he thought it was going to be but you have to take the role of parent...loving, firm, rule setter and enforcer...not his friend. After they had it out in our driveway...his father threw his stuff out of his truck and said "here he is...you take him...I'm through'. Well, you know, you have to actually start something before you can be finished with it. Anyway, that day...Brandon moved back in with us.
We had moved since he left home to go live with his father and this house only had 3 bedrooms. I had taken the job of insurance billing for the OB/GYN that I still work for...from home. The 3rd bedroom was my office. We had his futon already in there...so we shared a space for about 8-9 months...during his senior year in high school.
This time was not completely smooth but it did seem to be better than before he left just after he turned 16 before. We bought him a little car, got him a cell phone and got him settled in to finish school, then it would be off to college. That was our plans......
He drove like his mother...fast! He got one speeding ticket in the school zone that I got him out of, at which time...I told him that it was his ONLY get out of jail free card...anymore...he was on his own. It wasn't long and he got another speeding ticket in town and we made him go to court. Of course, he was a minor and I had to go with him plus I knew the judge...he ended up with 8 hours of community service and driving school. He also had to "be good" for 3 months and it would not show up on his record. Ok, you would think that he had learned his lesson...right?
WRONG! He knew how much trouble he was going to be in if he got anymore speeding tickets, being that he was on our insurance and the car was in my name! It was only 4 months later...I get an envelope in the mail from the juvenile department in Memphis. I thought that was weird and it was addressed to Brandon. I called him on his cell phone and told him what I had received. He said he didn't know what it could be and to open it.
Guess what it was? It was another speeding ticket doing 50 in a 35...however, in Memphis...if the driver is a minor, they have to issue him a juvenile ticket...not an adult ticket. When the ticket was turned in by the officer and processed...they realized what had happened...changed the ticket to the juvenile department, reissued it and mailed it to the house. Needless to say...he had to park the car. We made his get a ride to and from school or his mom would drive him and his little brother to school. How humilating is that for a senior to be dropped off at school by your mom? He wasn't even allowed to drive to his own prom...she drove.
Sometime over the next couple of weeks, I was talking to his father and telling him about what had happened. We were comparing notes because he said that Brandon had told him that he got a ticket but he couldn't tell me. He said it was on the interstate and I said "no, was in Memphis". He said that it was a state trooper and I said "no, it was a city police officer". Things were not matching up. Finally, his father said "you better call municipal court and see if he has gotten another ticket that you don't know about".
I called and guess what????? You got it! He got another ticket 4 days after the one in Memphis except this time....he was doing 102 down the interstate in a Geo Prism!
Oh, my goodness....I was livid!!!!! I called him on his cell phone and told him that he had better come home at lunch, removed his new CD player out of the car because I was selling the car. I told him that he was not going to kill himself or someone else in a car that was in my name. Not to mention, everyone is sue happy these days...I didn't need to be sued because of his recklessness.
He came home at lunch, got his CD player out of his car...I had already removed everything else from it...I was still furious. We had it out again...it was not pretty, to say the least. That was 4 tickets in 6 months time...the last 2 were 4 days apart. Good grief!
Brandon didn't like to be told what to do, controlled and he still doesn't...so he told me that he was leaving. He also told me that the only reason that he was living with us was for the car and if I took that away from him...then he didn't have any reason to stay here any longer.
It was 2 weeks before graduation! Believe me when I say...it only got uglier from there. It was a battle of the wills, who's in control, who was going to tell who what to do and who was determined to win. He thought he had all these rights as a teenager and I was determined to show him that he didn't. Everything that he owned was given to him by us and they were all in our house. Well...the police were involved before it was over. He lived with two friends and their stepmother until graduation.
This should have been one of the happiest times of our lives...our son's graduation from high school, going to college plus we were renovating a rent house in Memphis for him and a friend to live in while they were to college there.
I did tell him when he left that day that if he chose to leave then he was on his own. He would not have a car, a cell phone, a permanent roof over his head, college paid for and I would not support him financially either. He was angry and so was I...he said that he didn't care and left.
Did I handle everything correctly? No way! I was so angry and hurt...at the time...more angry, but the hurt and pain were hidden beneath the anger in the moment. When the anger subsided...this mother's heart was broken! Can you say...FAILURE? That is what I felt like once again. It wasn't the way this mother had dreamed her life with her precious son would turn out to be.
The old saying...What doesn't kill you, will make you stronger...is the truth. Brandon and I both are stronger, smarter, wiser, appreciate and love each other more since then...but it has taken quite some time...a couple of years after he graduated in 2004 to reach that point. He is still my beautiful, precious son...who I love with all my heart...in spite of all the pain that we both caused each other...in the learning experience of raising a son, a teenager and watching him grow into a man. Man, if only children would come from the womb with an instruction manual in their tiny little hands! Life would certainly be much easier...but each one of our children are unique, different, special, precious and we wouldn't want it any other way.
Next Entry: The Pain of a Mother's Breaking Heart
Saturday, May 17, 2008
I have a slideshow of pictures from this time in our lives...I hope you will take the time to watch it and get more of a visual picture than just what our words can paint for you.
I want to share a very frightful, unforgettable, heart stopping but yet very praise worthy time in our life.
It all began on our annual trip to the beach...we had gotten to where we would go to the beach every year for Thanksgiving. Normally, we went alone...just the 4 of us and spend Thanksgiving in Orange Beach, Alabama on the beach. It is the best time of the year for us to go because the condo rent (3 bedroom) is less than a hotel room, the weather is perfect (around 75 degrees), the beach is less crowded and we both usually had 2 days off already for the holiday so we took less vacation days which made it a long and enjoyable holiday "week".
However, this year we talked my mother into going with us to the beach and leaving the whole family Thanksgiving at Mom's in the dust. My brother-in-law is a football coach and was in the playoffs...so they couldn't come, my brother was going hunting and wouldn't be there....so why not? She agreed and we headed for the beach.
Now, all this sounds like the "perfect" family vacation, right? Wrong! It started much like all our other family trips....fighting to the point of explosions long before we got to the beach...so bad that Roger threatened to turn around and go home. Actually, I think he said that he would find a way home and we could go without him. It was either Brandon and Tyler fighting or Brandon being controversial and trying to start a fight. All I know is by the time we got to the beach...I was ready to strangle him...the attitudes continued long after we got to our "new home away from home". We always tried to put the fights, attitudes and bad moods behind us and enjoy our trip.
The days on the beach were like they had been in the past...sleep in, get up, head to the beach, come in for lunch, hit the beach again, come back in and get ready for dinner. The temperatures during the day are extremely pleasant but the water is normally too cold for me to get it. I had a scare during my childhood with a shark, Brandon and Tyler both have had terrible experiences with jellyfish stings...so...actually, getting in the ocean is just not something that I cared that much about doing anymore. Now, don't get me wrong...I LOVE the beach, the sound of the waves crashing into the shore, the smell of the ocean in the air, the atmosphere that revolves around the whole "beachy" feel...but I don't like the salt water in my eyes or the sand in my bathing suit!!!
On Friday, Brandon wanted to get in the ocean with his body board and ride the waves. The waves were unusually big this year for the Gulf of Mexico...so, he hit the waves. He wasn't in there very long and Tyler got in to ride the waves also but closer to the shore. They were having a blast. Then, Brandon talks Roger into getting in with them. Roger being the "big kid" that he is...got right in. It wasn't long and Tyler said it was too cold and he got out. My mom and I were sitting on the beach in our nice, warm and sand-free chairs watching them. The waves were huge to us and it was very, very tempting to get it. I could hear the waves calling..."Jennifer, come on and get it...it is so much fun...remember how much fun you used to have when you were a kids and loved to ride them in..." Well, I said tempting....but way too cold for me. The water was about 50 degrees that time of year. Needless to say...I didn't get it.
They were having so much fun and I had forgot to get my video camera when we came back down that afternoon...so I told my mom that I was going to run back upstairs to get it. We were on the 11th floor and had a great view of the ocean and the beach. When I got back to our condo, I grabbed the video camera but I went out on the balcony first before heading back down because I wanted to video Roger and Brandon in the water riding the waves from our balcony. The people were so small from there that I had a hard time finding them...I video someones family and still not sure if it was my family or not. Then I headed back down to the beach before they decided to come in because it was getting late and the temperature was starting to drop for the evening.
When I got down to the boardwalk and was walking as fast as my legs would carry me...I met Roger coming up the boardwalk with sand all over him, towel wrapped around him and looked like he was pretty shaken up. I asked him what was wrong and what he told me next of the events that had just happened...sent me into panic mode first, take charge mode next and when it was all over....then I broke down.
Roger said...we almost drowned...both of us...I thought I wasn't going to be able to save him...I was going to die with him before I let him drown alone! I was panicked but asking who are you talking about? Where are my kids? Roger....where are my kids? He said their still on the beach with Nanny (my mom) and their ok. He looked terrible and he said "I think I'm going into shock, I can't feel anything, it was so cold, I was so scared....I think, I have hypothermia. I immediately kicked into take charge mode and rushed him...pulling and pushing him up the boardwalk to the outside shower to get the sand off him. You will have to imagine him...6'2", very athletic guy, very strong, dark skinned.(Indian blood in his veins), like a rock...covered...I mean, literally covered in white sand. There was so much in his black hair that he nearly looked blond, his shoulders, chest, back, arms and legs were covered. His chest, arms and back were red from the abrasion of the sand while in the water.
Now, Roger's story...I was watching Brandon ride the waves and I began to think...he is getting out too far and needs to come back. I yelled at him to come back in some but he didn't seem to hear me.
Brandon was still trying to ride the waves in and he wasn't successful. With each try, he was getting further out. He called me and said that he needed some help and I stated toward him. He called me again in a voice that only a parent would recognize as to say "help me, Dad...I'm in trouble". I looked back toward the shore to find his body board that he had been riding but I didn't think that I had time to get his board and get back to him. I started swimming (Roger is a very strong swimmer) toward him while letting him know that I was coming to get him and he was going to be ok. When I was almost to him, I could tell that he was scared and very tired. I tried pushing him toward shore while riding the waves but that was not successful either. I looked to the shore, tried to signal for some help as I was getting very tired myself but I couldn't get any one's attention to help us. So, I began to pull him parallel to shore to get out of the riptide, only to find out later that I was going in the wrong direction. We did this for 3-5 minutes but it seemed like eternity and still no one noticed that we were in trouble. Even though, Nanny and Tyler were on the beach and he was playing in the sand...she was watching him and would look up to watch us as well...she never notice that we were in trouble either. I knew it was up to me to save us both or we would both drown.
I began to realize that I was losing my strength, was becoming extremely exhausted and we were both going to be in trouble. So, I stopped again to try to get someones attention on the shore, but no one even noticed. I was getting scare myself and wanted to let someone know that we were going to drown right there. I grabbed onto Brandon and tried to keep him by my side. I was too tired to go any further and I was hoping that someone would see us. I looked back, saw a wave coming which broke right on top of us, breaking my grip that I had on Brandon and I lost him. I looked around and he began to yell again for help. I knew that there wasn't anything that I could do because I was exhausted, I knew that I was going to drown but I had already decided that I wasn't going to leave him by himself out there and I would drown with him. Regardless of the many problems that we had over the past 10 years, he was still MY son and I would die with him rather than come out alone without him. I had hoped that we would be side by side because we were too tired to swim anymore but that is when the wave hit us, separated us and I went under. I remember the sand and water around my face like I was on the bottom of the ocean. I knew in my mind that it was over...this was the end and I was going to die. When I could get my eyes open...I was on my knees in shallow water with my head up out of the water, close to the shore and Brandon was walking toward me.
The view that Brandon told me at that time of what happened. He recalled the same thing that Roger has just told expect for how he got on the shore. He knew that they were both going to drown and no one would see them. After they were separated, Brandon said he was too tired to try anymore to get to shore...so, just as another wave crashed down on top of him... Brandon said that he prayed "Lord, don't let us die, help us"...he went under, he felt a huge push, that propelled him forward with a great thrust, he felt the sand scrape his stomach, looked up and he was on the shore.
Roger said that he had tried to do everything that he could to save them both, not to drown in the ocean, he used all the knowledge that he had to try and get them out, used all his physical strength but the one thing that he never did was stop and ask God to save them. He said that he was trying frantically to save them but he was trying to do it on his own...not with God's help. He said that all his life he has prayed for God to help him, protect him and his family but when the crisis hit...life or death...he leaned on his own ability to save them...not on God. It was Brandon who in time of need, knowing he was about to die...cried out to God to save them. God hear the cries of my 15 year old son and saved them both. I have never experienced such a helpless feeling in all my life...but I knew then and I still know now that when I feel helpless in my God...I'm not hopeless. Thank you, Jesus!
My story: I got the sand washed off of Roger and to the heated indoor pool where I put him the the hot tub. I sat there pouring hot water over his body while he cried...out of fear, relief, disbelief and raw emotion at how close he came to letting Brandon drown and dying himself. We stayed in the hot tub for a long time and finally Brandon, Nanny and Tyler came inside as well.
My mother and Tyler never knew anything was wrong until she saw both of them laying on the edge of the shoreline, exhausted and a big distance between where Brandon came out and where Roger came out. Brandon was closer to where she was and Roger was on down the beach. Brandon seemed to be perfectly fine, not cold but still in a little shock due to the events that he and his Dad had just survived.
Roger kept telling Brandon that he was so sorry that he could not save them both. That is when Brandon told us that he knew that they were both going to drown if they went under one more time. He said that all he knew to do then was to pray that God would get them out of this mess and save them. He just kept saying that it was the weirdest thing how he prayed, went under, felt propelled forward and the next thing he knew...he was able to stand up on the shore and start walking, looking for his Dad.
It wasn't until after we got back upstairs and I went to take a hot shower that I fell to pieces...just knowing how close I came to losing my husband and my son...when it should have been just another day at the beach. I began to cry and thank God for His mercy and grace once again in our lives. I wept so hard and for so long out of shock and out of joy. God is so good!!!! I am so thankful that God promises in His Word over and over again that He is there for us and all we have to do is call on Him.
We heard on the news that night that a father in his 30's had gotten caught in the riptide about 30 miles from where we were and drown. That weekend alone...there were 3 deaths due to the riptide and thank God...my 2 didn't make it 5. There was a strong storm brewing, the water was unusually rough with "high" waves more so than normal and I guess, we should have known better...live and learn. I can promise you that we now know all the facts about riptides and how to escape them...physically, and not just by praying. Praying is the most important but God wants us to use common sense, be aware of our surroundings and always be as prepared as possible....He will take care of the rest.
Did my family deserve to live another day, another week, another month or another year? No...no more than any other family, but God chose to save them through His mercy and grace. I know without a doubt that God wasn't finished with either one of them and still isnt' or Brandon wouldn't have lived through his car wreck on April 12th, 2008. My prayer is that we all see our potential through God's eyes, our purpose through God's eyes, our value through God's eyes and NEVER let our pain or life's lessons be in vain but that we would seek God to find out exactly what He is trying to tell us....Through The Storms Of Life.
Psalm 46:1 (KJV)
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 34:17 (Message)
Is anyone crying for help? God is listening and ready to rescue you.
Isaiah 43:2 (Message)
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end--
(NIV) When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
Romans 8:38, 39 (Message)
I'm absolutely convinced that nothing--nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, (39) high or low, thinkable or unthinkable--absolutely nothing can get between us and God's love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
Isaiah 41:10 (Message)
Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.
(NIV) So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Now that Tyler is officially a teenager...almost 14 now...things have definitely been different this time around. Who or what do we give the credit to...different genes because of a different father, different situation (both parents living in one house), both parents loving him, teaching him, being there for him, supporting him and praying over him? Maybe all the above. We tried to do the same thing with Brandon but there were things that were out of our control as you have already read about...but, the love for Brandon is the same love that we have for Tyler, Sommer and Ryan.
This is actually round #4 with the exception that the girls lived with their mother during the teenage years. Ryan moved in with us at the beginning of her senior year and what a blessing she was to have around. I wouldn't trade those days for anything in this world. Brandon and Tyler both loved having their big sister living with them and we did too.
I believe in the following creed that states that children really do learn what they live...
Children Learn What They Live
If a Child lives with Criticism, He learns to Condemn.
If a Child lives with Praise, He learns to Appreciate.
If a Child lives with Hostility, He learns to Fight.
If a Child lives with Tolerance, He learns to be Patient.
If a Child lives with Ridicule, He learns to be Shy.
If a Child lives with Encouragement, He learns Confidence.
If a Child lives with Shame, He learns to feel Guilty.
If a Child lives with Approval, He learns to like Himself.
If a Child lives with Fairness, He learns Justice.
If a Child lives with Security, He learns to have Faith.
If a Child lives withAcceptance and Friendship, He learns to find love in the World.
I believe that our children do learn what they live. However, does that mean that if we teach our children to be positive that they will never be negative, does it mean that if we teach our children to have morals and values that they will never make choices that are not morally right? No, because the Word of God states that we are all sinners with a sinful nature. We are not perfect adults, we are not perfect parents and we do not have perfect children.
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
The silver lining to that verse is that the Word of God says that we are to train up our children in the way that they will go and when they are old...they will not depart from it. I am hanging on to that scripture for dear life right now for my children. Each one of our children have been brought up to believe, serve, fear and love the Lord. They have been taught right from wrong, good choices from bad choices, morals, values, to believe in theirselves, to love theirselves, to be the best that they can be and we will love them no matter what.
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Tyler has just entered the beginning of the teenage years. Right now, he is loving, sweet, considerate of others, cares about what his dad and I think, makes A & B while taking advanced classes in the 8th grade. I am saying that he is perfect...absolutely not! He gets an attitude, has a smart mouth from time to time, gives those dirty looks and rolls his eyes when he gets told things that he doesn't want to hear. He is still easily corrected, disciplined and very forgiving, loving and easy going child. I know that there are rough years ahead even for the easiest going children but that too shall pass.
We love our children for who they are and we are very proud of each one of them as individuals. They are each completely different from each other in many ways but yet share some of the same amazing qualities...regardless of who is who's parents.
If you have a teenager and are struggling to survive this stage of life called the teenage years...well...this too shall pass! If they are too far out of your control or getting close...seek help because these years are very important in the development in who they will turn out to be as a young adult woman or young adult man. We owe it to our children to do the very best that we can in giving them all the support, love, understanding, guidance, training but more importantly...BOUNDARIES..certainly not what money can buy in material things.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Teenagers! Where do I start on this subject? My, oh my...that was a roller coaster ride time in our lives.
Brandon was definitely a handful as a teenager. The emotions and hormones were running rampant during that time plus all the damage that his father had already done to him mentally and emotionally.
There weren't too many days that went by that the fireworks didn't go off at our house for one reason or another. The tension ran very high from day to day depending on the subject at hand.
The rebellion and anger grew more and more with each fight. Roger and Brandon didn't get along the majority of the time and that put a strain on my emotional and mental state plus my marriage. There were many times that I wanted to put my son out in the street and there were times that I wanted to put my husband out in the street. Not to mention, all the times that I wanted to run away from home alone!!!
Roger and I nearly divorced several times during the teenage years...more so than all the other years combined. I just go so tired of the fighting...all the time. There were times when I would tell Roger...don't make me choose between you and my son because you will lose everytime. I told him that God gave Brandon to me to raise and he came before my happiness or marriage. I don't know if I was right in my way of thinking all the time but he was my son and what kind of life would he have or what kind of man would he turn out to be if I sent him to live with his daddy.
It seemed that nothing ever made Brandon happy and he was determined to do things his way, on his terms and it seems like he chose to do anything that went against what we wanted him to do...90% of the time. He would suffer the consequences and he would adapt to any punishment that you gave him in order for him to do things his way. Rebellion...seems like an understatement during those times. Bull-headed, stubborn and strong willed were accurate descriptions of Brandon during those times. I told him that those things weren't bad if he would only channel them in the right way...if he put as much energy into setting his mind to achieving productive goals in his life as he did into trying to make my marriage miserable...he would be President of the United States right now! Brandon admitted to both of us in the past two years that his goal was to break up my marriage to Roger and have me to himself again. He nearly succeeded many times. Regardless of how angry and hurt we were...we NEVER stopped loving him...no matter how hard he pushed us both away...we NEVER stopped being there for him. Yes, we have exercised "Tough Love" so much over the past 4-5 years that it has hurt me so bad to say "no"...learn from your mistakes.
When Brandon turned 16 years old, things had gotten pretty explosive many times but we kept pushing forward. We tried to set boundaries and get by everyday without too many explosions.
I went to New Mexico with a friend of mine for some girl time and while I was gone...all manner of crud broke loose. I got a telephone call the day before I was set to come home from Roger telling me that Brandon left and his daddy picked him up. They had an arguement and I don't even know what it was about anymore but it became explosive. There was two different stories as to what happened that night. He went next door to the neighbors, asked to use their phone, called his daddy and had him come pick him up. Brandon moved out and when I finally got him on the telephone...he told me that he was leaving and I couldn't make him come home. My immediate reaction was..."watch me!", "oh, yes, I can" and "I have full custody and I can make you do whatever I tell you to do!". I was so angry with Brandon and Roger too. I leave for a mini vacation once in our marriage and actually, once in my life for some girl time and they couldn't get along for four days. I was furious!
By the time that I got home, I had calmed down and decided to let him live with his daddy rather than making our lives even more miserable by forcing him to come home. I decided to just back off. Our lives...mine, Roger and Tyler's settled down for once in a very long time. Don't get me wrong...I loved Brandon then with all my heart and I love him today with all my heart but that didn't always make our lives a bed of roses.
It was one of the hardest decisions that I had to make during his 18 years of life with me. I wanted to control the situation, him and I wanted to make everyone happy...I wanted to fix it. This was one of many things that I had to resign myself to that I couldn't fix the situation nor could I fix him. It was bittersweet during that time...there was peace in my home but turmoil in my heart. I knew that his daddy would let him go to places that he didn't need to be, go with people that he didn't need to be with and get into things that he didn't need to be into...just to get him out of his hair. He hadn't ever been a daddy to Brandon and I knew that he was not about to start then.
I decided to go to our juvenile court and enter Brandon into a program...FIN...Family In Need program. He was assigned a juvenile officer and caseworker. She was appointed as his counselor, caseworker and supervisor. He was told that he had to see her once a month, stay within the rules set by the court or he would be sent to juvenile hall or boot camp. This worked for a short time but even with any good program...it had it problems too. I knew in my heart that Brandon would eventually see his father for what he really was and come home. Which he did...about a year after he left.
Next Entry: Brandon's Return and His Exit Again
Sunday, May 4, 2008
I went back this afternoon to my mother's house to take my sister a huge ice chest, ice and lunch meat. The power is out and is not expected to be back on until Wednesday. My mother is still at her sister's helping care for her after her emergency surgery last week. I am very thankful that my mom left home last Thursday morning and didn't have to ride out the storm at home alone.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
I have been gone for the past 1 1/2 days to my hometown...born, raised and lived there for 28 years. It was hit by a tornado yesterday afternoon around 3 PM. I still have family who live there including my mom and sister. I will be posting a more detailed entry in a day or two with pictures of the devastation. My mom's house did not have a missing shingle or even a broken window....Praise The Lord and she wasn't home but at her sister's.
However, my Uncle Richard was not as lucky. He was driving back from a dialysis treatment, was within 2 miles from his home where his wife was waiting. His pickup truck was hit by the tornado, caused his truck to be thrown and rolled over and over into a field. He had to be cut out of his truck and transported to the trauma center.
He has a open fracture to his forearm, severe head injury, braining in his brain and a broken back...he is 87 years old. Please pray the God will raise him up and defy all the doctor's grime prognosis.
Earle was hit by a F3 tornado. I will try to figure out how to do a slideshow...I took tons of pictures. Roger and I helped a man that worked for my dad, then my mom (after dad died) and is good friends with my brother...try to salvage anything we could find Friday night. His house was completely destroyed. Then Saturday morning, we helped a elderly couple that I went to church with for years. They got in their hall just minutes before it hit. Their house looks like you took 4 bulldozers and pushed their house in on all sides. They were buried...she was able to get up and try to free him but the neighbor came and got him out. His face is bruised and she has a small cut under her eye from her glasses. God truly had his hand on them and this entire town. There was not one death to this point...we are praying that it remains that way.
More in a day or two. Keep my uncle in your prayers and everyone in this small town.