letting go is hard to do…

Letting them go, letting them step out into the world and make their own choices, their own mistakes, their own triumphs and losses. Knowing full well they don’t have a clue what is coming. They have never had to pay rent, they have never had to pay utilities or buy their own groceries. All they can think about is getting away from mom and dad.

I remember being 18. I was getting ready for a wedding. I lived at home with my folks and my dad required me to pay him rent, I paid for my own wedding, and I covered my own expenses. I learned a ton from my dad about finances and how to handle them correctly and it has saved my husband and I from a ton of financial grief.

But there is a difference between me and my daughter. I knew my dad had a lot of wisdom to share with me and I took to heart what he said, even though sometimes I didn’t appreciate it. I learned in the safety of my fathers home how to keep a checkbook, how to pay my bills on time, how to budget and keep things under control. All my daugther can think about is getting out from under our thumb. She thinks that we don’t appreciate her or understand her. Big surprise there what teenager thinks their parents appreciate and understand them? But the fact is that I do appreciate and understand her. I also know her faults and her areas of maturity.

She is a strong young woman, so can she do this? Move out and make it on minimum wage? Sure she can do this. However, I know how frustrated she will become when after a few months she is barely able to pay the bills, her car needs service and she dosn’t have the money to take care of it because she is barely making ends meet as it is. She will become frustrated with her car because it is old and needs constant attention, she is already frustrated with her car for those very reasons, but she won’t be able to buy a new one making what she is making. Of course she could get a second job, if she can afford the gas to get to a second job.

Her father and I do not want her to make this choice, not because we don’t want her to move out and get on with her life, but because we don’t think she is prepared for this step. The fact of the matter is that she is listening to other voices and not to ours. She is listening to what she wants to hear, and we are going to step back and let her go. Sometimes the most effective teacher is experience, not the easiest way to go for sure, but if you learn from your mistakes it is worth the grief. At least that is what we have found to be true. I can tell you that we saved ourselves much grief when we listened to the counsel of our parents. And we had a high price to pay several times for ignoring what they had to say because “they just didn’t understand” imagine our surprise when we discovered that they did understand so much more than we thought!

So now I am done with my rant, and I am going to leave my daughter in the care of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ and I know that He will sustain her through all that is coming.

Monday with Michael

This is where we went for the Memorial Day Picnic. We had a really good time getting to spend time with Michael and the other boys and families. Lots of food, laughter, fellowship!
We got to know some of the staff that are taking care of the boys. We were impressed with their hearts for the boys. They truly care about these boys and their success.


Pictured here (with permission) is a very precious lady. Her name is Irene and she comes to Teen Challenge every Saturday to visit the boys who do not have family close enough to visit them every weekend. She brings them hamburgers, french fries and homebaked cookies! She is a jewel and I really enjoyed getting to know her. She has been visiting the boys for 8 or 9 years now. She also helps with other areas of need that come up, like transporting a boy to the airport so he can fly home and picking him up when he comes back. Michael introduced us as soon as he saw that she had arrived on Monday. She has a special place in his heart.

Michael is doing great and loves to spend time fishing! Something I didn’t realize was such a big deal to him till this weekend. Michael and his dad spent a good part of the day fishing. They also spent time playing games that Charlie is feeling the affects of today!

The day was freezing cold! I didn’t know if I was going to feel my toes again! Blessedly I had a blanket in the car that I wrapped around me. We enjoyed the day inspite of the cold. I got to spend time with other parents and hear their stories, their son’s victories and set backs. Encouragement was thick and tears of empathy were ready to fall on several occasions. We know that our sons are in the right place and they are getting the help they need to overcome their addictions for life not just for awhile.

Leaving Michael this time was hard, but not like last time. We got to know the people who are caring for him, we can see that he is doing well and is healthy. We can see the changes in him, changes that we didn’t expect so soon! We give thanks to God for all He is doing in this young man, and we are expecting even greater things to come.

Saturday’s visit with Michael

This is a picture of the skyline behind Teen Challenge. Teen Challenge is the brick building on the far right.

So as you can see he is smack dab in the middle of downtown Minneapolis!  We had a great visit with Michael once I stopped crying and clinging to his neck, I know that was probably rather embarrassing for him with everyone in the hallway. All his new friends watching his mother fall apart right there in the middle of the lobby! But my scene was nothing compared to the scene his father made (eye roll) like he made a scene. Is shaking his hand making a scene? All that raw emotion I just couldn’t hardly handle it! 

Moving on to Michael, we visited in this room that he is pictured in here. We only had two hours with him and the time flew by. We talked about everything that he is doing there how he is doing and who he spends his time with. He had a lot of questions about us and the church, his friends at home and everything that is going on at home. He is homesick but not to the point of despair just obsessive cleaning. Let me explain he has become rather obsessed with keeping everything VERY clean! Perhaps this is because every time he gets in trouble he has to clean. And if you know Michael this means he is cleaning much of the time. He gets in trouble mainly for falling asleep during chapel, class and one time even in the deans office! Do you think maybe his medication is to strong? We have talked with the dr and she has lowered his dose. Hopefully this will help.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time with him! We brought him batteries, he was thrilled about that! (refer to earlier post for explanation of why) a clock radio, candy, camera, film, and a picture from his brother. We didn’t know we were supposed to bring lunch, oops, felt bad about that. Michael didn’t care he just wanted to be able to spend time with us. One of the many changes in him. He is not the same young man we left there. God is changeing him and he is becoming a man of God. When he comes home he will be a different person. That is what we have been praying for. The enemy’s time of keeping him bound is not going to win over God’s plan and purpose for Michaels life. He has lost that cocky attitude that was so much a part of him. There is a humbleness that we were not expecting but were pleased to see. Keep praying for him he needs it. This is not easy for him but he is tryng and he is succeeding. God is good. I will post again after the picnic on Monday. Maybe even some pics of his friends if they give their permission.  

And so we hit the road again!

We are heading out to see Michael for the first time in two months! I miss that boy! I have almost forgotten why we sent him there, almost, not completely though! We are (Charlie and I) going to get to spend quite a bit of time with him and that is going to be nice. I don’t know how the trip home is going to go, but surely it will be better than last time. Last time we were leaving him with people he didn’t know, in a totally foreign enviroment. This time we are leaving him in a place that he has been living in for 2 months and is “home” to him now. Surely that will make it easier for all of us.

And so on to the next son. He has asked a young lady from school to go to a movie with him. She is a cutie. I am sure they will have a good time. They are going to see “Prince Caspian”. He has very little money so I don’t know if he is planning to take her to eat as well or not. I will let you know how this First date for my son goes. His father is so proud that he had the guts to ask her out. I want to slap both of them. I don’t care if he is 17 he is still my baby boy. This is hard on my momma heart. I do not like being the parent of older children! I have stated this before but just in case anyone didn’t read it before it is so stated once again!

Time spent with friends is never wasted time…

I spent the morning with a friend of mine that I rarely get to see anymore. We had coffee, even though she had to put more cream and sugar than there was coffee just to choke it down, she did that for me so we could drink our coffee together! How sweet of her! We talked about everything it was so good to just catch up and even vent about some things that have bothered one or the other of us, knowing that we would get Godly advice! Friends are a precious commodity and are not to be taken for granted. I am so thankful for the friends that God has placed in my life. I was taking inventory and I have a lot of friends! Do I confide in everyone? No, but I have friends that meet every need in my life. Proverbs says that to have friends you must show yourself friendly, so I show myself friendly, even though some of you reading this, who know me, are raising your eyebrows right about now! Put your eyebrows back down! What I want to say here is that I am blessed and so thankful for the friends that God has put in my life, even my sarcastic friends, possibly especially for them!

Road Trip

I woke up in the middle of the night last night ready to tell my daughters that I would take them to Manhattan, rather than Holly driving Stephanie back. I had this awful feeling that something bad was going to happen. This is called FEAR! Holly is a good driver, although she drives too fast and takes chances that I would rather she had the good sense not to take! She was up late last night because she worked closing at her job. So I am ready to take the reigns and just go myself even though that would mean missing class and not getting the info for the test tomorrow. Then the Holy Spirit speaks ever so softly to my heart…”Elaine what are you doing?” My answer is “I am going to take care of my kids and make sure they are safe!” (this in a rather irritated tone as I know He already knows what I am doing) That is when He very gently told me that He is the one who is taking care of my kids and that it is time for me to release them to His care completely. Well! (huff and stiff neck) I know that but I don’t want them to be in an accident! And He says “if you were there would you be able to stop the accident or just be part of it? Who is it, in this relationship, that can actually step in and prevent things from happening?” Okay so now I am listening. I am to let my girls go without me, I am to cover them in prayer, set their angels out around them and trust God to take care of them. Peace begins to descend as I release these precious girls into the hands of the Father, and I roll over and go back to sleep. This morning when I woke up I still had this peace. No matter what the day holds I know that God is in control of all of it. I prayed with the girls before they left and have placed them in the hands of the one who can do far more than I can to protect them.

Holly has graduated!

What a great day! Everything was perfect. Holly was beautiful as usual, the day was beautiful, and Holly is now free of High School! She was so ready to be done with school! I am so proud of this young lady, she is bright, well grounded in the word, loves the Lord with all her heart! I could’t ask for anymore!

I look at her and wonder just what it is the Lord is going to do with her. Is she going to get married and have a family? Does the Lord plan to use her in ministry somewhere? She has so much potential so much zeal for the things of God.

I am excited for her and at the same time apprehensive because I know the testing by fire that comes with ministry and walking with God! She will have to walk that path just like I did and so many before and after me have.

Holly stay strong, stay in the word of God, listening to His voice! Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy. Don’t settle for the wrong man to marry simply so you can get married, it is not worth the heartache that comes with that decision. Wait for God’s choice for your life. I am so proud of you Holly Beth!

When God Speaks

Sometimes we don’t want to hear what God is saying to us so we take the stance that He isn’t speaking to us at all! We don’t want to do what we know is right or we don’t want to stop doing something that we know is wrong. So we say that “He isn’t talking right now” or “I cannot hear God’s voice”. Well is it that He isn’t speaking or is it that He is waiting for us to obey what He said first and then He will give us more info? I have seen the effects and felt the effects of this. Many times the symptoms of not listening and obeying is a feeling of being lost, alone and sad. Just not fitting in anywhere. When this happens the first place we need to run to is the feet of Jesus. He is where we find our strength, purpose and joy.  I am feeling the pain of one of my children as she searches for her purpose and is trying to find where she fits.  All I know to do is pray for her, for I have been there and I know how lonely that place can be. The neatest thing about being in that place though is when you have that face to face encounter with God and He shows himself strong and faithful even when we have not been strong and faithful! He is our strength when we are weak and He is the one who gives us the ability to be faithful!

Happy Birthday David!

David is 22 years old today! Wow how time flys!! David has been such a joy to us as a family, well most of the time! He definately lets you know exactly how he is feeling. If he is happy you know, if he is mad…YOU KNOW! God has taught us so much through this amazing young man! He has shown us what it is to love God, worship Him with all your heart! He has been a character builder in all our lives here. He has shown us our inability to do anything outside of God! We have watched miracle after miracle with this young man! David you are a joy and a blessing to our family! We love you so much! Happy Birthday Buddy!!