Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I'm finally going to try to post something, although I warn you that I'm not feeling the least bit up to the task.  I fear that my ability to string two thoughts together in written form is currently buried beneath a thousand other things - thoughts, feelings, worries, half-finished prayers, anger, sadness, regret, confusion, heartache, panic, pain, hopelessness, fear. 

I don't know how to explain what Scott and I are feeling right now, don't even know if there are words big enough and powerful enough to capture our present reality.  I can only say that there is no escape.  Not in laughter, not in a date-night movie, not in a good book, not in a beautiful day spent with loved ones and happy kids and flowers and sun.  Not even in sleep.  Especially not in sleep. 

No escape. None. 

My Bible, my cute little purple Bible, has become my safety and my life.  I find myself carrying it around with me throughout the day, needing desperately to keep it near.  Purse, couch, van, table, bed.  I panic when I cannot remember where I left it.  Frantically searching, scrambling around in near tears until it's been found, until it's once more in my possession, once more alive and vibrating in my hands.  I feel the weight of it like almost never before: a physical weight, not an imagined testament to the enormous truths within that describe both the heaviest of life's burdens and the entirety of life's hope.

And yet, so often I feel powerless to open it.

Nothing has changed with our son since I last wrote, except perhaps that he seems to be giving up on himself and is even more defiant.  He is still a volcano biding his time until his daily eruption, which comes faithfully with little or no provocation.  He seems unable to equate any consequences as having come from his own choices, believing that everything is happening to him and not because of him. 

After being discharged from the inpatient program last Tuesday, he held it together for all of a day and a half before raging again on Thursday and being admitted to the day program again on Friday.  And after refusing his medication and threatening to bite me "like you've never been bitten before" (don't worry, he was restrained at the time), we checked him in as a full-time patient again at about midnight last night.  On our daughter's birthday.

And so life goes on for us.  Calmer for the moment, yet with a piece missing that is our eldest son.  I cling to my husband, who clings to me, and together we cling to God and cry out for His mercy.  And we laugh, and we pray, and we live, and we love our kids and play with them, all the while hoping that they don't notice that our smiles fall short of our eyes.

And I carry my Bible with me.  Although there are many of these days that I can't bring myself to read a single verse, when I can't process the letters that are spilling from the pages and can't even begin to drink deeply of its truths, I trust that God will give me exactly what I need. 

I am powerless, but He is not.

Please continue to pray for us. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dreary Days

It's been a dreary day today.

Fitting, I suppose, how the drops falling from the sky are mimicking the tears falling from my tired eyes, and the chilly gray of the out-of-doors is painting a picture of my heart for all to see.

I can no longer hide from the thoughts that until recently, my flit-from-this-to-that brain could turn loose...set free like little butterflies into the sky, never to be seen or dealt with again.  Those same thoughts press down on me now like the cold gray world, and today I just cannot send them away. 

I am weary.  Weary in my very bones, physically sore and emotionally spent.  Spiritually worn out from battles too numerous to mention, too daunting to even recall.  Exhausted to the point of aimless one-word prayers.


Monday morning, our son was checked into a day hospitalization program at a mental health facility.  After nothing short of a miracle breakthrough with him in the wee hours of the morning, we brought to the hospital that first day a nearly cooperative child that seemed ready and almost willing to be helped.   We were hopeful.

Monday came and went.  He was compliant and pleasant in the evening, although we kept him separate from the other children.  It had only been a day, after all, since he had terrorized the entire family and inflicted harm on several of us both in word and action.

Tuesday came and went.  His team - doctor, therapist, social worker - believed he was doing well and was responding to therapy, opening up a bit.  He seemed to be trying.  Tuesday evening, we gave the other kids a say in whether he would be invited to dinner with the family.  Our four-year-old son didn't think it was a good idea "because he might hurt us."  He felt safer when his chair was moved between Mama and Daddy, who could protect him. 

The baby was not as easily won over.  He stopped smiling the moment his biggest brother came to the table, and was clearly unsettled at his presence for the rest of the evening.  The little boys' reactions and fear sparked the first glimmer of remorse we've seen this summer on the face of our oldest son.  Again, we were hopeful.

Wednesday came...and Wednesday never seemed to end. 

We picked him up, ran some errands as a family.  He was awkwardly, shamelessly trying to rebuild his little brothers' trust, which had been a therapy topic for the day.  When reminded that he wasn't yet trusted with the little ones, that rebuilding all the relationships he had crushed would take time, he became angry.

As the evening wore on, anger overtook him.  Turned to rage.  Turned to loss of any rational thought.  Turned to hatred and evil spewing forth from the child we had thought was trying.

There comes a time when enough is enough.

Last night, at eleven thirty, we admitted our son as a patient to the mental hospital.  He'll be there for about a week.  Longer, if needed.

The stress my husband and I are under has been causing stomachaches, knots in our chests, fatigue, sleeplessness and anxiety.  I can't begin to fathom the toll it's taken on our little ones, including the tiniest one that's supposed to be feeling nothing but safety and security within me.  We can't keep on this way, waiting for the next insignificant thing that will set him off, dreading the rage and fearing for the well-being of our family. 

Right now, our son needs more help than we can give him. 
And so we did what we thought we never would.

The rain and gloom of the day was a perfect background for this solemn, emotional first day without our son.  The entire day seemed dreary, and yet somehow the evening clouds knew to break rank in the west at the perfect moment to wreak pink and orange havoc across the sky.  An unexpected, beautiful sunset.

It was a glorious end to a dreary day. 

We hang on to hope.

We hang on to Jesus.   

We absolutely know that God is at work in this situation.

And we hang on to the knowledge that the most beautiful of things are often found at the end of the dreariest of days.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Hang On

I wish God would give me just a glimpse of the future.  Of what my son's future will be.  I wish I could see for just a second that someday, everything will be okay. 

I just want something to hang on to.

These past few weeks - months, really - have been some of the most uncertain of our lives.  Our home has turned into a sort of twisted war zone, with unprovoked hostility hedging in on every side.  Every word has become an argument, every request has become a fight, every demand has become a full-blown rage. 

Each "I love you" has been met with hatred and fury.

Thus has begun our life with a traumatized and Attachment Disordered child on the brink of adolescence.

We've seen it all before...kind of.  We've seen the anger and the disrespect and the hatred, we've heard the screams, felt the kicks and the bites and the scratches and the pulling of hair, dealt with the heartache and muscle-ache of restraining a child-turned-animal as he unleashes every ounce of venom from within....unleashes it on those who love him the most.

Yes, we've seen it all before, but not quite like this. 

He's never thrown furniture before.  Toys, yes.  Small objects, yes.  But never a lamp.  Or a chair.  And never in the direction of his pregnant mother. 

We've never had to call the police on him before.

He's never refused to go anywhere with us before, much less to church; never jumped from his loft bed to escape, needing to be chased through the house and forcibly put into the van.

He's never jumped from a moving vehicle before, never run in stocking feet through a cornfield and had to be chased down by his father.

He's never kicked his sisters and thrown pop bottles in the direction of the baby, insisting that he doesn't care if he hurts him.

He's never treated his grandparents with the same hatred and disrespect that he usually reserves for us.

He's never had the Elders of our church pray over him.  He's never needed to be moved into an empty room with nothing more than a mattress and bedding, for his own protection, and never needed an alarm on his door for the protection of everyone else.

I've never felt the need to hide my knives before.

And he's never been checked into a mental health facility. 
Until today.  

I haven't written for many weeks now.  Just like the groanings of my soul that have replaced my words uttered in prayer, there is no language to express the feeling of hopelessness that lingers in our home, the evil that seemingly permeates our walls. 

My son is tormented.  I see it in his eyes. 

We are tormented, too...and sometimes, when the knots in my chest...and in my husband's chest...threaten to choke out all hope, when we feel nearly sick to our stomachs with anxiety and can barely cope...some of these times, we are tempted to believe Satan's lies that our son will never be healed, that our family will never be happy, and that we will never be good enough parents.

But God's voice can drown out all others.
We hang on to Him. 

His peace envelops our home when there is no peace to be found. 
His love surrounds us when we cannot give love on our own. 
His strength endures long after our own strength is spent.
He is our protector, our shield, our stronghold, and our very hope.

While not free from the world's pain, we are free from despair and hopelessness.

Our son can be, too, if he chooses to believe it. 
His future is not devoid of hope, even now.
And that gives me something else to hang on to.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and He will come near to you.  James 4: 7-8a

Our children's struggle (consequently our struggle) with Attachment Disorder and trauma is physical, mental, and spiritual.  We have seen this evidenced over and over throughout the past six years.  We are seeking help from our church community as well as from the medical community, as we strongly believe that RAD (as well as other mental health issues) cannot be solely "fixed" by the ways of the world.  Our children, who endured so much pain and trauma in their early years, need to be equipped to fight off the spiritual attacks they encounter and the memories, dreams, and fears that haunt them.  Our kids need to learn to hang on to Jesus.