Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Lightning but no Thunder

The other day we were driving home and in the distance, we saw a lightning storm but heard no noise.  The song, “Same Power” by Jeremy Camp, was playing on the radio, and I felt empowered and like I had the strength to fight an army.  The words spoke to my heart, and I started calling on the power that lives in my son and me; the power of Jesus in us.  I prayed for my son J.J. like I never had before.  I prayed that the power that lives in him would trample the lies and destroy all the strongholds in his heart.  This morning as I sit here in the waiting room for my mother-in-law God spoke to my heart again.  The fact that I couldn't hear the thunder and just saw the awesomeness of the lightening storm reminded me of the verses found in
1 Peter 5:8-11 (NIV)
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.

Yes, we are fighting a battle in this world, and the devil wants to destroy us, but all he can do is prowl like a roaring lion.  I remember a zoo visit many years ago, where I saw this power lion behind a thick glass enclosure and his roars muffled.  God is our protection and shield from all that tries to harm us.

When I saw the lightning storm I was in awe.  Usually, I get nervous during a storm because of the loud thunder, but there wasn’t any sound this time.  All I saw was the beauty and the power.  As we drove, I watched the night sky lite up.  The lightning bolts were constant and numerous.  What a spectacular sight.  I pictured my son and his heart as I looked at the storm brew.  I know that he is having a battle going on in his heart, and I was praying for the power of God that lives in Him to take control; and for him to let it.  Like verse ten says, “ And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”  I know that God will restore J.J. and make him strong, firm, and steadfast.  As I wait for that day, I will continue to battle in prayer for him and put my trust in God and let his power in me give me peace.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Where's God

Day 5
Morning came early.  I was hoping to sleep in because my daughter Shannon had the day off, but I laid there not wanting to face the day.  My husband sent me a song by Steven Curtis Chapman, Something Beautiful.  That blessed my heart and gave me strength to get out of bed.  I then went on Youtube and started praising God and praying for my son.  I felt peace and even had a little smile.  The song, "Ever Be", by Aaron Shust has been playing in my mind, especially the verse, “Your praise will be ever on my lips, ever be on my lips, I will sing praise, I will sing praise,” so I looked it up and was singing it in my heart.  A friend of mine Wendy, my daughter, and David were planning to go see the movie Finding Dory at 11:25am.  As Shannon and I were sitting in the front room the front door flew open and in walked J.J.  Oh how my heart leaped with Joy thinking he’s home, he’s home, he’s home, but he quickly said that he came to get his things.  Rip, there went another piece of my heart.  He hurried to his room and started scooping things into his college hamper bag, grabbed his pillow and started collecting some of his art work he was working on.  He told me he took the bus here and I wasn’t sure how he was going to take all of his things with him.  He has a replacement Fitbit come in the mail and he kept asking for it.  I had my daughter text Joe, so he knew that J.J. was getting his things.  He called and asked to talk to our son.  Joe talked to J.J., I wish I could have heard what he said to him.  I heard bits and pieces though.  He had his laundry bag packed and again asked for his Fitbit, so I gave it to him.  He was in such a hurry.  David kept trying to get his attention, he was so excited to see his Uncle J.J.  As J.J. was finishing getting his things my husband called and told me not to let him take anything and I said, “What good would that do?”  J.J for some reason took his blanket out of the bag and put it back on his bed. He ended up leaving his drawings, then he walked out the door.  I followed him out and told him that he didn’t need to go.  He kept saying he would be back but not right now.  I don’t know if he meant it or was saying that to ease my heart.  He gave me another big tight hug and then started to walk away. David who is two ran after him calling J.J.  J.J. stopped and looked down at him and David looked up staring at his uncle.  Shannon came and got David and away J.J. went.  I wanted to chase after him, but I knew I couldn’t do anything to make him stay.  With gut wrenching sobs I came inside and just fell on the coach.  You could tell Shannon was hurting and so was little David.  I know he feels the tension and  he misses his uncle.  It was time to go to the movie.  I had to get out of the house because the walls felt like they were closing in.  We went to the movie which helped, but J.J. was still on my heart.  The movie was over and we came home.  My husband came home early and I heard the door and heard a man’s voice so I came running from the kitchen thinking it was J.J. and he had come home, but it wasn’t him.  Joe asked me why I came running to the door and I just fell into his arms and we both cried.  The rest of the day I have been battling hard and kept having panic attacks, thoughts of what if’s and I should have started plaguing my mind again.  I haven’t cooked dinner at all this week, so I started beating myself up saying that I was a bad mom.  The walls kept closing in on me, so I ended up going to Wendy’s to get dinner thinking the ride would help, but all along I kept thinking that I wouldn’t be buying J.J. dinner so what was he going to eat, and then my mind started going down memory lane.  My heart grew heavier and heavier and I found myself in a complete panic.  Joe and everyone else went to bed early so I sat in the front room trying to calm myself down, but it didn’t work.  I took a hot shower, but that didn’t help either.  I found myself rocking back and forth singing, “Your praise will forever be on my lips….” Over and over. I felt so alone and felt as God had abandoned me.  I felt like I was being punished for all the bad decisions I had made.  I was becoming desperate and even thoughts about going to the hospital came to my mind. I grabbed my cell phone and posted that I was having a break down on the praying group I am in and that I needed prayer for peace for myself and J.J. to feel God’s presence.  Not even a minute went by where people responded and as I sat there and watched prayers come my way the panic eased and I felt better.  I decided to come and write down my thoughts, so I could get them out.  Someone from the group messaged me and encouraged me.  I guess my daughter Shannon was having a hard time sleeping too, because she sent me a video that made me smile a little.  My heart is still heavy and my eyes are swollen, but I know that my son and I are being held up in prayer. “God I know You can hear my every cry and I know Your there.  Please let me feel your presence and calm my heart.  I pray that You meet J.J. right where he is and that he will feel Your presence also.  I pray that You break down his pride and fill his head with Your truth and replace the lies that the world is telling him.  God show Him the way back.  God I really don’t know what to pray.  My mind feels like it is in a fog and my entire body feels heavy, God give my heart and body rest.  Be with all those who love J.J. that their hearts will be comforted too.  Be with little David and calm his heart.  God guide me and my husband on what we should do and give us the strength to do so.  Bring people in my son’s life to speak Your truth to him and take him away from those who fill his head full of lies.  God bring him back to You and quickly.  Thank you God for the prayers of many, watch over them and theirs as well.  Be with my girls who are away and prepare their hearts so when they come home to find their brother no longer here that they will be comforted.  God I pray for Your prefect will and to find peace in my heart.”

Hope and Heart Break

Day 4

When I woke up on Thursday my heart was troubled as if I should go and see my son.  I battled back and forth and with each tug one way or the other my barely beating heart ripped even more; I didn’t think there was anything left.  I posted the question on a prayer page that I am apart of and got many responses and a phone call from the lady who created the page for her son who is now recovered.  She encouraged me and I made the decision not to see him, not because I didn’t want to but because I felt that he was using me to bring him his things.  I messaged him on Facebook that I loved him but couldn’t meet him.  My husband Joe called and told me to go so I could gage where he was, so I gladly agreed.  I watch my grandson David during the day so I had to take him with me.  My son J.J. gave me an address and I thought it was to the home he was staying, but no it was to a Starbucks :( I went and met him and gave him a big hug.  It was good to see him.  We sat down and I felt the room full of strangers close in on me.  I felt that all eyes were staring at us.  I couldn’t hold my tears in.  I told him that I didn’t bring his things and that he has a home and his things would be there if he came home or came and got them himself. He was a little upset and told me it would have been easier for him if I brought them.  Sure it would be easier for him, but not me.  I told him that I couldn’t help him leave.  We talked and it was uncomfortable.  I felt myself starting to have a panic attack. People were noticing that I was crying and I know the guy with his back turned to us sitting beside us was intently listening.  I shared my heart with him and asked him if this is what he truly wanted to do and was still willing to give up everything to pursue his choice, and sadly he said yes.  He kept saying he would be home, but not yet.  He kept saying he didn’t feel comfortable there anymore.  I believe he isn’t comfortable anymore because he was caught in a lie and didn’t want to live by our rules anymore and is filled with shame. I told him again and again that his dad and I loved him, but we don’t and will never support what he is doing.  David was getting fussy so I suggested that we take a walk and get something to eat, so we did.  We walked a couple of shops down and ate at a burger place.  We sat outside this time.  We talked more and he kept saying that he didn’t want to come home because he said my husband threaten him.  I told him to stop it and he knew that wasn’t true.  I told him how heartbroken his dad is and how much he has cried and misses him. When I was telling him those things J.J. teared up.  My heart was absolutely breaking.  There was a lot of awkward silence and you can tell neither one us was comfortable.  He kept asking me what time it was and how he hoped we would have been able to sit and talk like we did just a few days before.  It is crazy how things can change in such a short amount of time.  David was getting fussy again and I didn’t know what else to say, but I didn’t want to leave because I didn’t want to say goodbye.  I knew I had to so I got up, he walked me to the sidewalk and he hugged me tight and I him.  We told each other that I love you.  He kept hugging me and wouldn’t let go, but he finally did and at that moment it felt like he took my heart with him.  Oh how it hurt to walk away.  I pushed David in his stroller to the car weeping the whole time.  I sat in my car crying and praying.  When I was able to wipe my eyes enough to start the lonely journey home I started to pull out and out of the corner of my eyes I saw J.J. sitting outside of the Starbucks watching me.  He looked so sad and I just wanted to grab him and take him home, but I couldn’t so I kept on going.  I had to pull it together because I had my precious grandson in the car who kept asking, "where J.J. go."  You can tell his little heart was hurting as well.  He and J.J. are buddies.  He has already been missing my two youngest daughters Sydney who is 14 and Sarah who is 11.  They are in Springfield Missouri visiting their oldest sister Stephanie.  I made it home and Joe my son-in-law was home and put little David to bed.  I called my husband Joe and told him how it went.  I know he was hoping that J.J. wanted to come home.  I keep thinking that I should have just told him to come home and made him, but I know I couldn’t have.  This is my baby boy, my only son, my heart and he is gone.  I will no longer get to see him every day.  In about a month we were supposed to drop him off at college and say see you later, but no that’s not how it happened, he left on his own and I have no clue where he is.  The evening and night was hard.  I kept fighting thoughts of despair and was praying with my every breath.  My eyes were so swollen from crying that I took some allergy medicine in hopes it would help.  My husband and I couldn’t sleep so there we were lying in bed talking everything through.  Joe said a prayer and we eventually fell asleep.  I didn’t sleep well, our bedroom is right next to his so every little sound I would wake up hoping it was him, but it wasn’t.  "God still holding to hope.  Please give J.J. a spiritual hug for me and remind him that he is loved."

Thursday, June 30, 2016


Day 3

Yesterday was a very long day.  The morning started off with broken tears and a lot of prayer.  My husband kept calling to talk things out.  He is a solver and wants to fix things.  Since there is nothing we can do to fix this situation he and I are on an emotional and mental roller coaster ride.  Emotions were all over the place.  I mainly prayed and was trying with all my might to give it to God.  Let me tell you, this is easier said than done.  I started a prayer chain and every once in a while I would hear my message notification sound go off and I would find that someone had prayed.  Those prayers one by one gave me strength.  I was watching my 2yr old grandson like I do every day and he was extra cuddly, so that helped, I had to hold it together for him.  We have three little dogs and each of them had to stay by my side making sure I was ok.  As I was checking the computer for the prayers being sent my way for our family and especially my son I got a message from J.J.  My heart leaped with Joy, but was nervous as to what it would said.  He started out with that he misses me and loves me.  I of course started to cry and continue to read.  As I read on I found what I believe the real reason for the message, this is what he wrote, “I am wondering if you can maybe go into my room and get my OBU laundry bag and my watch, that fit bit should've sent me and maybe you can meet me for lunch tomorrow and if you can bring that OBU bag and the fitbit I would appreciate it because I don`t know when I’ll be coming home.” Ouch, my heart was saddened again.  I then had a battle stew in my mind, should I take him his things, should I even go, or should I meet with him and don’t bring him anything except my love and a reminder that this is still his home and if he wants his things he would have to come home and get them himself.  As of this morning I am still unsure what I should do.  I will go and see him.  I love him too much not too.  He didn’t want me to tell anyone, but I couldn’t keep this a secret, his dad; my husband has the right to know.  Joe came home and I told him of our conversation and my poor husband was sent on yet another emotional ride of what to do.  He ended up saying, "Give him and hug from me and tell him that I love him and miss him." You see Joe is one that acts or speaks before he thinks and wears his emotions on his sleeves.  He comes across harsh, while all along hurting inside.  Yesterday after Joe had seen me cry for what seems like two days straight and after JJ had called me to say that he isn’t coming home, he called JJ back and told him, "Stop hurting your mother and that now it is between you and me."  J.J. took this as a threat and is using that as an excuse not to come home because he is claiming that my husband would hurt him.  This is not the case, he has never laid a hand on him and never will.  If anything Joe has been more lenient with J.J. than any of our other kids.  Taking a deep breath and praying as what I should do.  The biggest issue we have as the parents right now is that our son isn’t showing any remorse for the things he has done or for all the lies.  Joe says that if J.J. would show remorse then he would do anything physically possible to help him, and I would have to agree.  I can’t wait to see J.J. and to give him a big hug.  I love him so much and I miss him.  My heart hurts for him and I pray that he figures things out soon or he will miss out on starting the future he had planned with college and things.  "Oh God, please touch J.J.’s heart and open his eyes to the decisions he is making.  Let him know what’s at stake and be able to turn to You for guidance.  I know he is 18yrs old and he thinks he understands what the world has in store for him, but I pray that he will come back to You and home before the world eats him up.  Watch over him and protect him, but God I am still praying the hard prayers that You will do whatever it takes to bring him back to You.  May Your grace and mercy cover him and our home."

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Unknown First

Day 2:

My heart is very heavy this morning.  Last night was the first night that we didn’t know where our son was.  Every little sound filled my heart with hope that maybe it was our son JJ and that he had come home.  So many thoughts have crossed my mind and the what if, I should have, and self-doubt plague my soul.  Every time the phone rings my heart leaps and I pray that it is him, but when I see that it’s not another strip is ripped away from my heart.  I keep reminding myself that even if I have a glimmer of hope, it is still hope. I know that God knows where he is and is with him.  I have been having to pray some difficult prayers.  Prayers like, “That he find thrones everywhere he turns except for God, that he finds out quickly that the world is not for him, but God is, that his heart will not be at peace until he cries out to God.” This is the hardest prayer of the all, that God will do whatever it takes to bring JJ back to Him and home.  Yesterday when he called and told me that he wasn’t going to come home sheer worry came over my entire being.  He told me he would call me after he got off of work, so when it was time for him to call I held my phone waiting to hear his voice, but he never called. I finally went to bed and cried myself to sleep. I keep praying that God’s love and truth will shine through all the lies that he is believing.  It’s hard to describe how I feel.  My heart feels heavy like it is a big bag of fluid or I should I say full of the blood from my heart being ripped to pieces, and it physically hurts.  It has been rapidly beating and at times I can’t seem to take a breath.  I try not to let my thoughts run rapid.  My eyes are swollen and body is sore and tired.  The biggest struggle is not having my mind go wild in thought and I am trying not to worry.  This is extremely hard; I mean he is my only son, my heart.  Last night I found myself looking through pictures of him growing up. I kept asking myself where did I go wrong.  Thoughts like maybe this is happening because of my sins and where did I fail him. I started tearing myself apart.  I let him leave the house to go to his Aunt and uncle’s house to give him some space.  I knew deep down inside that this was him manipulating the situation so he could leave, but I let him go hoping he would be back the next day.  I wish he could see that the choices that he is making will only lead to destruction and he will be hurt.  I don’t know what to say or do.  I pray for wisdom and peace.  Everyone keeps telling me to give him to God.  How do you do that?  I feel that I have, but I still hurt for him, worry about him, and desperately miss him.  JJ please come home!! We love you!!  I love you more than life itself and would gladly give my life for yours not to be filled with pain.  Our hearts will always be connected.  Remember you once heard my heart beat from the inside and my heart sustained your life.

More Than a Tattered Heart

Day 1

My heart has been broken more times than I can count it seems and I have been through so many trials where I watched my heart completely shatter.  However there is a different and deeper pain that you feel when you watch someone you love hurt, especially when it is one of your children.  There you are watching your child’s life fall apart right before your eyes and there is nothing you can do.  They made their choice and you are left holding the pieces of your tattered heart.  I would gladly rip my heart out and give it to them so they won’t get hurt and would know just how much they are loved.  Last night as I watched my son make a decision that is so destructive I literally felt my heart break in two and then shatter.  I couldn’t catch my breath because the pain was too great and all I could do was sob in between my mournful cries.  In the midst of my heart breaking I see my husband trying to be strong and then watch him completely fold in half with gut wrenching cries as well.  My husband is a strong man and I have seen him cry before, but never like this.  As we watched our son walk out the door not knowing if this would be the last time we would ever see him, we were both crushed and destroyed.  This morning as I sit here my heart is barely beating, but as of last night it will never beat the same.  Earlier I went to his empty bedroom laid on his bed hugged his pillow and cried out to God.  I wept and pleaded for God to save him from this fate that he chose.  As our son sat on the coach last night and told us of his decision I saw that behind all the words he spoke was a broken soul, lonely and afraid.  Oh how I wanted to go and take him in my arms and take all his pain away.  Emotions were high as he told us that he was going to choose this path and that he was willing to let go of his family if that was what he had to do. As I am typing this it is hard to see.  I cannot stop crying.  How do stop a bleeding heart anyway.  My eyes are so swollen with grief.  I will never stop pleading for my son.  Even though it is hard to find the words to pray I know God hears my broken heart crying out in his behalf.  So many unknowns, to start I don’t know where is, if he is safe or if I will see him again.  Oh God, please watch over him and bring him back to You.  I need to trust You, so please give me the strength so I can do so.  All I can say is help, please dear God help!!   

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Telling my Heart to Beat Again

Lately my heart has been a little sad and life has been overwhelming at times.  There have been many changes and disappointments, and to be honest it has felt like I have been being beaten to a bloody pulp.  Not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  I have been trying to gather all the broken pieces of my heart and glue them back together with temporary fixes.  Of course none of these temporary fixes hold and things fall apart again, but this time those pieces are covered with more build up making those pieces more difficult to put together.  I am trying to get rid of the excess by forgiving those who have hurt me, make amends with those I have hurt, and to forgive myself.  Honestly, I tend to secretly hold onto things and it is difficult for me to let go.  I also tend to bottle things up allowing my heart to harden a bit and I try to shut it off so the pains I feel in my heart doesn’t hurt as much.  The problem is after doing this for a while I feel like I am just a shell without a heartbeat.  There is this song played on many Christian music stations sung by Danny, Gokey. “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again.” 

The lyrics are:

You're shattered
Like you've never been before
The life you knew
In a thousand pieces on the floor
And words fall short in times like these
When this world drives you to your knees
You think you're never gonna get back
To the you that used to be

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday's a closing door
You don't live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you've been
And tell your heart to beat again

Just let that word wash over you
It's alright now
Love's healing hands have pulled you through
So get back up, take step one
Leave the darkness, feel the sun
Cause your story's far from over
And your journey's just begun

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday's a closing door
You don't live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you've been
And tell your heart to beat again

Let every heartbreak
And every scar
Be a picture that reminds you
Who has carried you this far
'Cause love sees farther than you ever could
In this moment heaven's working
Everything for your good

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday's a closing door
You don't live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you've been
And tell your heart to beat again
Your heart to beat again
Beat again

Oh, so tell your heart to beat again

Every time I hear it played it is like a defibrillator jump starting my heart.  I have had to be resuscitated before and it hurts, but you have to choose to keep living.  This morning when I was getting the kids ready for school and myself ready for the day I was feeling down and had a lot of doubts going through my mind.  I was feeling defeated.  When I looked down I saw a beaded necklace laying on the floor in the shape of a heart just coming out of the shadows in the morning light.

God is good.  He and I have a love language of our own.  I love hearts and it seems like when I am down and need some encouragement, strength, a hug, smile…… God knows exactly what I need at the time and sends me a heart.  This morning the heart came in the form of a broken beaded necklace coming out of the shadows.  I know that it sounds silly, but every time I find a heart I am reminded of God’s love for me.  To think that He knows the prefect time to send a little hug that warms my heart.

When I got in the car to take my two youngest to school the first song on the radio was, Tell Your Heart to Beat again.  Ok God, I get it, I need to start living again and allow my heart to beat again, to feel and to love freely.  I need to let go of all the things steeling the beats of my heart and start filling my heart with those things that allow my heart to beat freely.  I need to let go of the pain, the resentment, the fear, the doubt, anger, worries…..the list goes on and on.  I need to forgive not only those who hurt me but myself.  I need to turn away from those things that steal my life and joy.  I need to stand up for what is right and gives life.  Most of all I need to give my heart to God with all the broken and tattered pieces, along with all the excess build up from me trying to fix it myself.  God is the great physician however, we have to let Him have our heart so he can heal it and we have to choose to tell our hearts to be again.

“Thank you God, for never giving up on me, for always reminding me that You love me, and always giving me what I need to make it through whatever life throws my way.  Thank you for taking all the broken pieces of my heart and life and for putting them back together.  I love you with my all and thank you for every single beat of my heart.”