Thursday, May 26, 2016

Parenting a Rebel

My son was only twelve years old when disturbing signs of deep rebellion began to peek out of his behavior. What followed turned out to be the worst nightmare of my lifetime. This story is a very
personal account about my journey in raising my rebel son. In this writing, I will share struggles along with very important keys to making it through the chaos of rebellion. But for the Grace of God, I would have given up in despair. God proved to be my everything and as the hound of Heaven, He chased my son down. The story goes something like this: Inexplicable Joy - Brutal Pain - A return to Joy. For those who feel lost as a parent, and to those who come behind me, I hold out a torch urging you to be brave and wait on God who will never let go of your kid.

I share my journey with a desire to encourage those raising a teenage rebel.  Feel free to contact me with questions or for support and prayers.  

To Read more go to Amazon and download my ebook, My Son His Son

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Melinda's Addiction - Chapter One

Introduction

This is a new genre for me.  I appreciate you stopping by and reading this first chapter.  I'd 

really like your input as I put my toes into new waters. Thank You!  Susie

Addiction

This is the story about a teenage girl who was offered drugs by a friend's mom.
Melinda naively trusted her friends Mom because she believed all mothers were good and would never harm a child. As a result of trying crack cocaine, Melinda got hooked on drugs.
In this first chapter listen in on Melinda's inward discourse. Note the distorted thinking brought about by the drugs.

ALONE

Melinda plunked herself down at the water's edge. Although it was an
exceptionally beautiful day and the clear blue water sparkled in the sunlight; Melinda saw none of it. Her eyes were glazed over as she stared blankly across the ocean.
She was turned inside herself; enslaved to her tormenting thoughts, "I have nothing now, everyone has turned on me. My life is so screwed up, it's not fair! Why can't I be happy, own a house, be married, have kids and all the things everyone else has? What have I ever done to deserve this?"  
As her eyes filled with tears she felt the oxygen being sucked out of her lungs.  Hopelessly she grabbed her head with both hands and nuzzled it into her knees.  She pushed her head hard against her knees in an effort to stop the intrusive thoughts racing through her mind.
"Okay Melinda, enough already! It is what it is and no one cares - there is no one on this planet who gives a crap!" She felt her body stiffen as fear gripped her.  Her thoughts took on a life of their own capturing her emotions and shaping them into full blown rage and hatred.
"I HATE my life!" Melinda screamed.  As wrath claimed full residence in her head Melinda's beautiful face became contorted. "Nobody has ever been there for me!  Even my parents have turned their backs on me. When I needed them the most, they kicked me out of my own house.  I hate them!"  Melinda's small frame crumbled into the sand as sobs shook her to the core.
Lying there in a heap It seemed as if time stood still. Mentally she rehearsed every wrong ever done to her. She was intent on feeding the flames of her fury with all of the injustices of her life. "What kind of an idiot gives a kid drugs anyways?  What parent kicks their kid out of her house? .. and they call themselves Christians!" she hissed bitterly under her breath.
After a gallant and prolonged effort to vent all the hostility brewing and erupting inside her soul, a quietness settled in. She shrank back as the haunting and familiar feelings of hopelessness, emptiness and depression sank into and invaded her emotions.
Alone on the beach, Melinda repositioned herself. She sat up, her body stiff and rigid. A suffocating demonizing fog descended upon her. Impending doom fell like a blanket intent on smothering her.
Her heart began to race and then the scariest sensation, of being at death's door, hit her. She felt like her life blood was literally draining out of her body. Terror gripped her heart as the fear of death threatened to take her.  
Melinda knew, from past experience, that she would not die, yet part of her wished she could ... right here and right now. "Oh, Where can I go, What will I do, I am so lost and alone, ... is there no one who cares about me or sees my distress?

The water reached out to Melinda. It repeated its course continuously and rhythmically. The lively waves formed and curled up about ten feet out. When the waves broke, the bubbly water raced for shore and finished with a swoosh at Melinda's feet. Oblivious to the waters soothing gesture Melinda stayed focused on the battle raging within. Helplessly Hooked
Tara's Mom
Kicked Out Addiction Uncovered The Hard Decision Lost and Alone
Melinda blamed her friend's Mom for her addiction. She held her responsible for the desperate state she was in."What kind of a monster offers a sixteen-year-old crack cocaine?"
Melinda's first impression of Tara's mom was that she was on the wild side but she was also very cool. The night Tara's mom offered the drug to her, Tara and she were partying with her 'hip' mom. They had full access to lots of beer.  They all laughed together as they danced to pounding hip-hop music.  What could be better than this?
When Tara's mom pulled out the crack cocaine, Melinda stopped only a second to consider the consequences. She reasoned that if Tara's fun-loving mom was using crack cocaine, it couldn't be all that bad. But after using the crack, Melinda was helplessly hooked. "I hope she goes to Hell!" Melinda screamed out to the waters.
As Melinda rehearsed everything that happened since the day she started using, her head bent low. A flood of tears poured down her cheeks. "If only that loser had kept her drugs to herself," she thought bitterly, "I would not be in this mess!" Seven years later Melinda was still hopelessly hooked and at the mercy of addiction and distorted thinking.
Feeling the isolation creeping in all around her she dug her toes deeply into the warm sand hoping the sensation of its grains would soothe her solitude.
She wondered if anyone had ever felt this kind of pain before. The darkness continued to close in on her; She was in a treacherous place. "Where do I go? I need a safe place."
Her thoughts jumped to what happened that morning. "I was just sitting in the kitchen eating a bowl of Rice Krispies, minding my own business, when Buffy roared into the room looking like she was ready to devour me.  She glared at me as she screamed, 'You are a filthy PIG! Look at this mess! How can you just sit there and eat cereal!'  Melinda felt the familiar heat of fury rising up her neck and into her face. She spit out her venom, "Get lost you loser!"
Buffy stiffened and began to bombard her with degradation and accusations. "You are nothing but a lazy no good user. I am sick of your self-centered, wicked attitudes and verbal abuse.  Now you get your ugly butt off my chair and get out of my house."  
"Yeah RIGHT!" screamed Melinda, "Just look at you, out of control, big-mouthed fat girl - who's started this fight HUH!"
Buffy's eyes were bulging when she turned suddenly and ran upstairs. Pounding down the stairs Melinda saw her holding her duffel bag. Buffy opened the door and catapulted the duffle bag across the grass.
Melinda stared in disbelief. How dare she treat her like a child! Melinda was just about to lay into her and tell her how stupid she was but just then Buffy pointed her finger at the door and commanded, "Get out of here and don't ever come back!"  Next thing Melinda knew she was standing outside the apartment door surrounded by her stuff which had flown out of her unzipped duffel bag.
"That stupid, crazy, ugly witch!" Melinda huffed. " Why didn't I just slap her and put her in her place?"  Though she was fuming inwardly her wrath did not find an outlet that morning. The truth is that Buffy had overpowered her with a plethora of obscenities and scornful ridicules and before she knew it the door was slamming behind her.
Once reality sunk in, panic took over. "She kicked me out, what is going to happen to me?" she grabbed up her dirty duffel bag and feverishly shoved her things inside it. She looked back at the house grabbed her bag, then turned away and headed off. "Buffy is the slob; she leaves her things all over the place, it's not my fault that the place looks like a bomb went off in it - how dare she blame me!" she murmured. Walking down the desolate street she comforted herself, "Buffy's a loser anyways, who needs her!"
The woman who gave Melinda drugs opened the door of addiction. It was a destructive and horrendous act!
Her family eventually became part of the drug addiction nightmare. Melinda was the oldest child in the family.  Her Mom and Dad, Sally and Rick were great parent's who invested in their children.  As a child, Melinda was responsible and respectful. When she became a teenager she had her ups and downs but that was to be expected. She was a good student  involved in sports and busy with her friends. Her parents thought she was growing into a beautiful young woman.
Everything changed soon after Melinda turned 16. When she was home she spent most of the time in her bedroom listening to rock music. She wanted to be left alone and had to be asked several times to come to the table for a meal or to do anything asked of her. Melinda's moods were swinging from one extreme to the other.
One day Melinda's little sister, Casey, bumped into her while she was carrying a coke to the couch; Melinda turned and kicked Casey in the back as she shouted, "Look where you are going you little Moron, how stupid can you be?"
Casey screamed out in fear and pain. Her mother, Sally, ran into the room and stopped Melinda short by grabbing her arm. Sally spoke with very serious and firm conviction, "Melinda Renee, your behavior is unacceptable! You may not kick anyone in this household, do you understand me?"  Melinda's leaned forward and with a hard stare responded, "Whatever Mother!" Sally was taken aback by her defiance. She blinked and paused a moment to gather her thoughts.  Standing there, she prayed, "God please help me not to lose my cool."  
Meanwhile, Melinda pulled her arm away from her mom and walked back toward the couch. She sat down and stared at the television. "Melinda, What in the world is going on with you?" Sally asked. Stonewalling her mother, Melinda stared at the television. Sally had never seen this kind of hardness. She was at a loss and did not know what to do next. She felt a knot form deep in the pit of her stomach.  She decided to leave Melinda alone and talk with her husband Rick when he got home.
Some days later when Melinda's addiction was discovered, she tried to cover it up saying the drugs belonged to her friend. Her parents didn't buy it and persisted to drill her. Finally, she broke down sobbing and admitted that she was using cocaine.
Sally turned white and Rick's knee's buckled as the weight of Melinda's words hit them. They never thought drugs would touch their family. This news was overwhelming and suffocating. Tears formed in Sally's eyes; she felt like her heart stopped and the whole world stopped with it.
Rick went to Melinda and took her in his arms holding her close to his chest. He rocked her, as he had done many years ago, smoothing her hair he whispered, "It's okay baby, we'll help you."
Sally and Rick sought counseling, read books, consulted specialists and offered support to Melinda. They turned every stone in their effort to understand and help her overcome this deadly dependence.
They listened carefully and quietly as she ranted and raved about the injustices that life continually dumped on her. They wisely chose not to engage in an argument knowing her rage was drug related.
They waited until Melinda cooled down; then cautiously expressed their concern for her while laboring to communicate and give her a reality check. They yearned for her to open her heart to wisdom. But that never happened while Melinda lived at home.
Melinda's parents frantically searched and sought to help Melinda but after years of desperately trying to help her, they realized nothing was working.  Melinda's bad behavior continued to spiral downward.  
Melinda flew into a rage every time her parents gave her a consequence for bad behavior. She screamed at them, "I'm 19 years old, get off my case, I'm not a child anymore!"
Melinda showed absolutely no appreciation for all her parents had done for her. She grew to expect whatever she wanted and got angry if she was told no.
She knew how to apply sweet talk when she wanted something. For awhile it threw her parents into thinking that she was getting better. Eventually, they realized she was cycling between abusing and using people while feeding her own sense of power.
Melinda's parents agonized over the decline they saw in her character. Sally would often fall into a heap as she cried out, "Who is this girl? What has happened to my Melinda!" Every day they carried the weight trying to fix Melinda.
Eventually, though, they were convinced they could not fix her. They realized that she must want to be fixed before anyone could help her. The only way Melinda's parents could help her, at that point, was to cut the ties and to let her fall.
Her refusal to listen to instruction took its toll on the family. Her parents realized that the degradation and fury of her words, along with her wild and unpredictable behavior, was threatening the security and safety of their home.
A decision had to be made - it was the hardest decision they had ever made. She could no longer be trusted.  She stole money and had become proficient with verbal abuse. Melinda's parents were convinced that only God could reach their daughter
It was time to let Melinda reap what she was sowi

ng. She was only 19 years old but it was clear that allowing her to live in the comfort of their home while abusing the family was not helping anyone. As long as Melinda had this safe place to live there would be no motivation to change.
They had to stop rescuing her and propping her up time and time again. They were convinced that if they enabled Melinda; it would be detrimental and to her own ruin.
One night Melinda's parents called her into the living room. Their heaviness hung thick as her Dad began to speak, "Melinda, We have hit a brick wall in our ability to help you. We love you with all of our hearts but we will no longer tolerate your abusive words and reckless behavior. Though we have offered you many options to help yourself - you refuse them."  Steve continued by telling her that the privilege of living in their home was no longer an option for her.
An agonizing process preceded this event. What parent wants to kick their child out of their house? Though they were fearful for her safety they were more fearful of her continuing down this road. The Lord convicted them both to release Melinda to Him.
Melinda was incredulous and stunned listening to her Dad. She melted into a puddle when she realized that her parents were serious. 
The confrontation was the most upsetting and painful experience of their lives. Steve stood firmly. Sally latched on to her husband's shirt as she grieved over her daughter's pain-wracked face. After a torrential flood of tears, Melinda's hurt turned to rage and she cussed them out with bitter and revolting words. Sally shook with fear then turned her heart towards God with a cry for help.
In Melinda's mind, her parents had dumped her. In her mind, she had done nothing wrong. No, nothing was ever Melinda's fault.
Although her parents made a hard-hitting decision and they knew it was the only option they had, they carried a heavy weight ... a weight that only a parent of a rebel knows. Day and night they prayed for their daughter. Their hearts ached with longing for Melinda to return to them.
After leaving home she nursing her pain with crack.  Melinda's cyclic and rash thinking mode grew into a firm belief system.
She believed she was the victim. Her delicate face grew hard as paranoia, hatred and revenge took up residence. Her mind had become as a villain destroying her from the inside out. Melinda was right and everyone else was wrong; End of story!
As the years passed Melinda experienced pain and torment beyond her comprehension. Her distorted thinking patterns had taken full control robbing her of any possible hope of friendship or a long term relationship. She was devoid of joy or contentment. She was now in a very dark and sinister place.



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Life is Hard but God is Good


Hearts are Fragile - Handle with Care

God Never Wastes a Hurt

Hearts are Fragile - Handle with CareThere are times when life hits us hard. We are just going along minding our own business when BAM out of the blue tragedy strikes us or someone we love.

How do we handle life’s surprises?

Life is Hard but God is Good 

Monday, November 16, 2009

Not my Will

Many of you have grown up in less than perfect circumstances.  We have all been influenced and shaped by the people who surrounded us during our formative years.  I was raised in an alcoholic home where no mention of God existed except as a swear word. I have learned that people who grow up in an alcoholic home have control issues.  We seek to control because our home lives are so chaotic.  The child of the alcoholic seeks to bring order and stability (control) to their own lives.  I am no exception. 

As a teenager, bedtime, for me, was not an opportunity to wind down and drift off to sleep.  No, for me bedtime was a series of little trips sneaking out to the living room to check on Dad.  You see my father would go to sleep each night in a drunken stupor.  I was always afraid that he would burn the house down by dropping a cigarette on the floor as he dosed off.  Many nights I would find a cigarette still burning on the carpet beside him.  After my Dad was in a deep sleep I would take his wheel chair to him (a story for another day) lift him into it and put him in bed.  Only then could I sleep.

My life and future seemed hopeless to me.  When I was 15 I heard the story of a God in Heaven who loved me so much that He gave His only Son to die for me.  When I accepted God's gift of eternal life my whole world changed.  I had purpose now and I knew God had great plans and a wonderful future for my life.  For the first time I finally felt  loved, protected and accepted.  I wasn’t alone anymore.

God directed my steps to Cornerstone College after high school where I met a wonderful strong man who would become my husband three years later.  We entered the ministry together with a heart full of hopes and dreams.  I believed that if I did everything right and controlled the circumstances around me, my family would be protected from harm and our home would always be filled with happiness and joy.  This unrealistic, idealistic belief almost ruined me.

My oldest child entered into full blown rebellion at the age of 13. I was blown away.  I could not process the concept of having a problem like this with one of my children.  I raised my children in a safe home where they could be free to express themselves.  I was there to fill their love cups when they headed toward empty.  I connected with each of them and developed a deep bond of trust.  Although I am not perfect our home was a pretty good picture of stability - how could this happen?

In my disparity I pooled together all of my resources and tried to control the situation, thinking, "I can fix this!"  I was intelligent, resourceful, had many connections and I thought I had a bit of my own wisdom to draw upon.  But NOTHING helped - absolutely NOTHING!  My son just kept spiraling out of control.  He was recklessly speeding down, down a slippery slope where danger and destruction lurked.  I feared for his life, I grieved and cried every single day.  My heart was broken and the pain was unbearable but I kept moving forward doing everything in my power to fix him.

It took many years before I finally collapsed and cried out to God "Help me - please reach and rescue my son, my only son, the son that I love more than life itself.  I have no other place to turn.  I can't do it anymore."

I had finally come to the end of myself and that is when God stepped in.  When I gave up on me God took one finger at a time and released my white knuckled grip on my son.  It was definitely a God thing because I could not do it.  As God helped me release my son to His care and as I took my hands off - I saw miracles begin to take place in his life.

Recently I said to a friend of ours, "It seems God keeps bringing me back to the place where I can't control situations."  Brian lovingly said, "Susie, what do you think that means?"   HELLO ...  with that simple question the realization dawned.  I haven't totally learned to trust and release.  I read a prayer in a book called Stepping out of Denial into God's Grace by John Baker and have customized it a bit to pray over myself daily: 

Dear God, I have tried to do it all by myself, on my own power, and I have failed.  Today, I want to turn my life over to You.  I want you to be my Lord.  I ask that you help me start to think less about me and my will.  I want to daily turn my will over to You, to daily seek your direction and wisdom for my life.  Please continue to help me overcome my hurts and control issues that I might be healthy and whole and pleasing in your sight.

With a heart filled with incredible joy, I can tell you that today my son loves God with a Passion.  He has a very tender heart of compassion for people in pain.  He is wise beyond His years.  I see God's hand at work in His life and I stand in Awe.   "My God shall supply All your needs."  In order to release His Power into life I must surrender my will and inclination to control.  The process of learning to trust God completely continues to be a journey away from self-will as I move toward His will.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Potter & The Clay

God tells us that He is the Potter, and we are the clay. As I visualize the potter at the potter's wheel I see the strong hands forming and shaping the clay into a vessel that is beautiful and useful. I have to admit this analogy really stretches me as I think about what God wants from me. Clay does absolutely nothing but be clay. It does not resist the Potter and it yields totally to the Potter's hands. The Potter is in FULL control of the clay and the potters will determines what becomes of the clay.

Throughout my lifetime God has been patiently prodding me to let go of my white knuckled grip on situations and the people I love. How many times have I used my own resources, knack for networking and intelligence to try and solve issues or problems that I needed to go to God for? I'd be embarrassed to tell you how many. In so many of my life situations I have come to the end of my resources and myself and guess what? There I find Him, my Lord and my God. He was there all the time waiting for me to take my hands off and allow His miracles to take over.

I thank God that he is faithful and patient. He continues to bring me back to square one and to remind me that He is in control and I am not.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My Encounter with God - Who is God?


It has been said that a person's opinions and views about God are closely associated with their relationship to and experience with their earthly father. If you were raised in a home where your Dad had a relationship with God, you were most certainly blessed to see God's attributes being lived out daily in your fathers life. But for those of us raised by earthly fathers who had no use or time for God; our picture of God may be warped by an internal impression shaped by how our Dad lived out his life. In God's word, the Psalmist gives us a snapshot picture of the LORD God, the one who loves us beyond our wildest dreams, hopes and expectations.

"The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:8-14)

When I heard the incredible news of a Father in Heaven who really cared about me I was only 15 years old. I had always believed, in my core, that someone had to have created me and the complex universe I observed around me. As a teenager I was perplexed and disappointed with life and the seeming purposelessness of it all. Without EVER hearing anything about who God was or the plans He had for my life I sought to communicate with him the only way I knew how. I bowed, face down, and cried out to this God I had heard about. I prayed, "God, if you are real, I just can't believe you would have created me and then plopped me down here on this earthplace and then said, now fend for yourself. My heart longs to know you but I don't know how to find you? Will you please reveal yourself to me?"

Little did I know that soon my best friends father would reveal God to me. One night my girlfriend Debbie asked me over to their home because she knew I had been really down and troubled. After her Dad put the kids to bed that night he said he had something very important to share with me. He opened God's word and spoke words of life to me. He told me that God created me and that He loved me (tears welled in my eyes and the deepest longings to know God squeezed at my heart). Dad Haworth explained that the Lord God is a Holy God who cannot tolerate sin in His heaven. He then showed me, using God's very words, that because God so loved me, He gave His only son to die for my sins (in my place) so that I could live eternally with Him. He told me many, many truths I will treasure forever! That very night I asked God to forgive me for my sins and thanked Him for sending Jesus to take my place on the cross. I then invited Him to be the Lord of my life.

My prayer was answered, my soul came to rest and I was fully at peace. I finally knew that the creator God loved me, pursued me and had a plan for my life here on Earth.

Oh how I love Him who first loved me. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31 "How Great is the Father's love that we should be called the children of God" I John 3:1

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Having Faith in Today's World

In the uncertainty of these times we need Faith more than ever before. Webster’s dictionary defines faith as “belief and trust in and loyalty to God; belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion; firm belief in something for which there is no proof; complete trust.

Many find it hard to have a belief in something which has no tactical or visual proof. But faith brings purpose to many whom, having not seen, still believe in God. The Bible says in I Peter 1:8 "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy." True faith really does fill your heart with a joy you cannot communicate in any language.

Back in Bible times believing in God would mean you would be executed, yet Jesus’ true followers would not deny Him. They had seen the Messiah and knew that He held the power of life and death in His own hands.

People that have Faith do not believe in coincidences. They believe that God works all things together for the good of those that love Him. What do people who have no faith do when disasters happen and their hearts get broken? Without faith it would be easy to feel like a victim of circumstances and to concede with King Solomon as he viewed life, apart from God, saying Meaningless, meaningless, all is meaningless.

Faith in a God you cannot see may be a concept hard to grasp. But that doesn't mean it is not very real. It’s like believing in the air you breathe in and are are surrounded by. Although you cannot see faith or the air you breathe, you still believe because you see the manifestations. The manifestations of an extrodinarily intellegent creator, like the air, are all around us and creation sings of His glorious presence.

Belief in God and in an afterlife gives people hope and motivates them to live life on purpose with a purpose.