Friday, December 6, 2013


“In the hour of adversity, be not without hope.  For crystal rain falls from black clouds.”   Persian Poem

The past several months have for sure been “the hour of adversity” for my son and I.  There have been hearings, each of which I dread, and long road trips so I can be there to support my son.    I’m not going to lie and say that I have enough control over my emotions to be completely at peace and accepting of all that has happened.  There have been days when I have been lost in an abyss of despair.  At times I have let frustration with my powerlessness over my son’s future get the better of me, and I have found myself becoming impatient and irritable with members of my family.  But, as I evolve through this process, I also find times when I have glimpses of hope, joy, and peace within my soul.  Like tiny candles in the window in the middle of the darkest night, these glimpses help me hang on and make it through each day.  There have been times when I have felt so close to Jesus that I can feel His arms around me, comforting me, telling me it will be okay, and that He will help both my son and myself through this.  Then, there have been times when I’ve cried out in my anguish and felt nothing but alone.  Despite it all, my faith won’t be shaken, and I know down deep in my soul that the Lord’s heart breaks right along with mine, and that He loves my son and I with a love that is too big for me to ever understand. That knowledge is what gets me through.  I know that God did not cause this. The Lord gave us free will, and He will not take that away from us, even when we make choices that He knows will harm us. When I catch myself worrying for my son, if I can stop and picture the Lord walking beside him, or holding him, it gives me such great comfort and peace.  That is “the crystal rain” that falls “from black clouds.”
The way it looks right now, my son will be sentenced to 18 years.  Struggling to come to terms with that has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.  There is a part of me that still hopes that some miracle will happen before he is officially sentenced and he will be granted leniency, but I have to accept that it may be a very long time before I see my son outside of prison walls.   He has gone through his own acceptance process with this, in which he has felt great shame for his relapse, anger, bitterness, and depression.  The hope that I feel for him though, is that he is finding a new closeness with the Lord, and is setting goals to better himself in prison.  He has a job working in the kitchen now, which has been a blessing as it keeps his mind occupied and he is granted extra privileges like phone calls and extended visiting hours.  He’s still in county jail, but I have faith that the Lord will continue to help him become the person he has always been meant to be when he is transferred to prison.  His formal sentencing should take place within the next 6 months, and after that happens he will be assigned to a prison.

I apologize for neglecting my blog for so long.  I know I should be writing about all of it, even the dark nights, because it is all part of the journey.  My deepest respect goes to those of you who share it all, even in the midst of great suffering.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The long and winding road

The past month has been a whirlwind of emotions.  I’ve had ups, and I’ve had downs, and everything in between.  I am finding though, that the ups are starting to happen more often.  That’s progress.  I’m slowly coming to a place of surrender and acceptance. Sometimes though, just when I think I’m there, I backslide and find myself down in the pit again, but that’s all part of the process.  I’m learning to give myself permission to have whatever feelings I’m having at the time as long as I don’t get stuck in one spot for too long.  I’m learning that it’s ok to find joy in my life even though my son is in the midst of one of the biggest, and most painful experiences of his life.  Wallowing in sorrow will do neither of us any good.  I’m learning to plaster a smile on my face and stay upbeat, positive, and cheerful when I visit him in jail, even though my heart is breaking.  He needs that.

The Lord is working in my son’s life and in my life.    Jesus promised He would take what is meant for our harm, and make it work for our good, and He is staying true to His promise.  My son, of course, still has dark, crushing days, when it’s hard for him to hold onto his faith.  But in the midst of it all his faith is strengthening and he is maturing.  So, I hold onto my faith and hope, and I keep on keepin’ on, and trying my best to take one day at a time.

I found this prayer on the Proverbs 31 Ministry site, and I wanted to share.  I use it when I’m having one of those sleepless nights.  It is in the darkness that I have the hardest time stilling my anxious thoughts.

Dear Lord,
I'm wide awake tonight, facing fear yet again.
A thousand different ones taunt me. The "What If's" are overwhelming. My heart is racing and anxiety is coursing through my veins. It's hard to stay still, yet I know it's in the quiet that You speak and I hear.
Help me please. Calm my heart, mind, emotions and nerves God. Grant me shelter under Your safe haven. In Jesus' Name, amen.
"Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders." ~Deut. 33:12

Friday, July 26, 2013

Amazing Grace

Sometimes when we are in the middle of our darkest night, the Lord puts a candle in the window and gives us renewed hope.  I got a letter from my son yesterday and I knew when I read it that the Lord had put a candle in our window.  I have been literally worried sick about my son for the past couple of weeks because his wife told me he had mentioned wanting to give up several times.  My dad suffered from depression, which was aggravated by alcoholism, and ultimately it caused him to commit suicide. One of the legacies of my dad’s suicide, for me, is that I have this fear that it could happen again to another loved one.  So, when my son’s wife told me that he wanted to give up, I was terrified for him, and felt powerless to help him.  On Wednesday I decided to write him a letter and prayed that the Lord would guide my thoughts, give me the right words to write, and lead me to the right scripture.  I decided to write to him about suffering, and looked for scriptures about how we all suffer sometimes.  The Lord led me to 2 verses:

 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.   Matthew 26:39

And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).  Mark 15:33-35 

I wrote to my son about how much Jesus suffered, and that because of that, He understands our suffering, loves us, and wants to help.  I wrote about how in this life we will suffer sometimes, and that we need to talk to the Lord about ALL of our feelings, not just the happy positive feelings. 

Here is the part that gave me hope.  I got a letter from my son yesterday, and part of it was painful to read because he wrote about being severely depressed.  In fact he was so desolate on Wednesday of last week that he prayed that the Lord would let him die.  He said in the middle of his suffering on Wednesday there were two scriptures stuck in his head, and he just couldn’t stop thinking about them. He slept for almost two days straight and was angry when he woke up because he was still alive. Each time he would wake up, those two verses would pop into his mind.  So, on the third day (that was my “awe” moment for the week), he got my letter.  When he read the first page he saw that I had written the same two scriptures that he couldn’t seem to get out of his head.  Those very same verses were the verses that the Lord had led me to choose when I sat down and wrote my letter to him on Wednesday, the same day that he had asked God to let him die.  He told me that when he received my letter and read those same two scriptures, he knew that the Lord was telling him it’s okay to lay our suffering at His feet, and that He would help him through. My son was given the gift of hope.  The fact that the Lord put the same two scriptures on my heart and my son’s heart at the same time without either of us knowing it amazes me. 

I know we’re not out of the woods. I know my son will have to adjust to his situation, and that there will be more suffering along the way.  But I also know that the Lord will be right there with him through it all.  I needed to be reminded of that, and so did my son.  Thank you, Lord, for your amazing grace.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Today I gained some perspective.  I found a forum where parents of prisoners can share thoughts and experiences.  As I read through some of the posts I was so humbled by what I found.  There are parents who have had kids in prison for years with no chance of ever seeing them outside of prison.  There are also parents who will see, or who already have seen, a son or daughter take that last walk ever on this earth.  There are elderly parents raising grandkids when they should be enjoying retirement.  So, today I was given the gift of perspective.  No matter what my situation has been in life, when I've looked around outside of my own little world, I've always found people who have it much worse. 

Thank you, Lord, for perspective.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Searching for serenity

I haven’t been a very good blogger lately.  I’ve been reading other blogger’s posts and commenting on a few, but my heart has been heavy.  When my heart is heavy it’s hard for me to share my thoughts.  I’ve been inside of my head way too much lately, but today is a better day.  I’m not sure why, but it might be because I went into my classroom and worked most of the day.  That kept my mind occupied with something other than my son’s dilemma.  I'm looking forward to the new school year starting next month. Sounds crazy doesn't it- wanting my vacation to end?  When I'm teaching I tend to throw my entire self into it, and it keeps my mind occupied.

Clearly I have a long way to go in my search for serenity in the midst of turmoil.  I’m learning that I have a lot of work to do on myself.  Learning trust, acceptance, and surrender is not coming easily for me.  It’s going to take time, I know this, but I’m impatient with myself.  I wish I could just flip some kind of switch and get my mind where it needs to be, but at the same time I know the lessons I am meant to learn from all of this are going to be a process.  Just when I think I’m making progress in coming to terms with my son’s arrest, there’s another hearing and I feel like I’m back at square one.  I’ve been to three hearings so far, and I always feel like I’ve been run over by a truck by the end of the day.  They are exhausting to me.  I have a bit of a break right now though because his next hearing won’t be until the end of August.  I know he is better off in jail than out on the streets feeding his addiction.  I know where he is, that he has a roof over his head, and food to eat.  It’s the thought that he may have to spend 20 years in prison that is driving me a little crazy these days. 

I have been reading a lot of fiction this summer.  I guess you could say that reading is my escape.  I get lost in the book, and it gives my mind a rest from wondering about my son.  One of the books I was reading posed a question; what would happen if we all had the number of days we have left to live posted on our foreheads? Would we live each day differently? Would we treat each other with more kindness?  I know, it’s kind of morbid, but that was very thought provoking to me. Let’s say, for example, I only had 10 days left to live.  Surely, I wouldn’t spend my last ten days in fear and worrying about how long my son will have to spend in prison.  I like to think that I would spend those last days the way the Lord intends for us to live our lives, loving others, loving ourselves and treasuring each precious moment.  So it caused me to wonder, what am I waiting for?  There is no guarantee that I will be around tomorrow, so why can’t I just treasure each day for the gift that it is and stop causing myself so much suffering?  I wish I knew the answer to that. It’s food for thought.

So, do you see what I mean about being inside of my head a lot lately?  Sheesh!

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can (myself), and wisdom to know the difference.  Amen.