Monday, January 30, 2012

No, She Didn't Come

My Daughter, Lucy and I, went to the concert Friday night.  We were suppose to meet my sister there.  Courtney was also suppose to come.  The concert started at 7:30.  We were there about 7:00.  I was standing in the lobby, trying to stand where I could watch all the doors to see when Courtney arrived.  I knew she would not have any money, and I had a $10 bill in my hand to pay her way in.  At about 7:15 I noticed people were starting to congregate outside.  Suddenly I had a horrible feeling.  I turned to Lucy and and said, "Go to the money collectors and ask if they've stopped letting people in."  Lucy said that it wasn't time to start yet, they probably needed change.  I was pretty sure this was not the case, and went to ask myself.  Sure enough, the fire marshall had shut everything down.  Not one other person could come into the facility.  There were 5,500 people inside, and an additional 1,500 outside.  I was so sad.  I couldn't believe that we were separated from the ones we were waiting for.  About that time my sister called, and said the wouldn't let her in.  But we already knew that.  I don't know if Courtney came or not, because she doesn't have a phone.  And I have not heard from her since.

I was pretty sad about Courtney not being there.  But I didn't want to act like I was, because I didn't want Lucy to think I was disappointed and not glad to spend time with her.  When we went into the arena to find seats, the announcer was saying that if you were holding seats, to give them up.  No one else was getting in, and they had to get everyone seated before the show could begin.  So we found seats, and the lights went down.  I know I had tears the first couple of songs, but I didn't want my other daughter to see.  The show was great, and I'm glad we went.

There is no excuse for Courtney to not call since Thursday.  She is angry at me, I guess, and wants to be sure we know it.  Lucy is pretty sure she has access to a phone, because she believes Molly is talking to her.  Pretty childish behaviour.  The last time she was gone, her dad told Courtney that if she didn't check in with me once a week, we would have the police to go do a wellness check to see if she was OK.  We can't do that this time, because we don't know where she is staying.  Talk to you again soon!

28 Days to Hope for Your Home

28 Days to Hope for Your Home

Are you overwhelmed by the mess in your home?

Have you ever wondered if there’s no hope for you?
I know that feeling.  I’ve experienced it too. I’m so glad that now I can say . . .
There is hope!
For anyone!

28 Days to Hope for  Your Home

{not for the mildly disorganized}

Develop four habits over four weeks.

Discover hope for real change in your home.

The above information is from A Slob Comes Clean!  I'm so happy to introduce you to her new ebook.  I'm (I'm sad to say) someone who needs this book!  I now have my copy, and I can't wait to get started reading it and putting it to good use!  I'll keep you posted on my progress.  Why don't you join me?  You can purchase your own copy at a special reduced rate here:  <a href="" target="ejejcsingle">Click here to view more details</a>

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Concert tomorrow. Will she come?

I called Courtney's work today (she works at a dry cleaners) and left a message.  I said that we were still going to the Christian concert tomorrow night, and if she wanted to go, we would see her there.  The lady said she would give Courtney the message.  Well, the lady knew Courtney had left home.  She just left a phone message for Courtney saying that her Mom had called.  Courtney called back, sounding excited that I had called her.  I told her why I called, and she said, "Oh.  OK".  So I don't know what she thought I was going to say.  I don't know if she will come tomorrow night or not.  She needs to.  Maybe something said there would touch her heart.  My mother told me that as long as we kept letting her come home, she would never change.  My parents are not practicing Christians.  What does that statement mean, exactly?  Does it mean that I should let her be homeless?  Because last time she came home she had nowhere else to go.  I will be so thankful one day, when all this is behind us.  And I know my family is safe.  This is the hardest thing I have ever done.

It's getting late, so I guess I will be back tomorrow.  I hope you will be, too.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

No Word From Daughter

As I stated the other day, our daughter chose to move out of our home (again) Sunday.  Today is Wednesday.  None of us have heard from her, not even her sisters, that I'm aware of.  I guess she is where she wants to be. 

This week I was reading Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience.  The title of the post that day was "What to Cling to on the Days You Are Drowning".  I don't feel like I'm drowning, but I am very distracted and overwhelmed.  But I was glad to read the article, and it made me stop and think about how I need to let this situation affect me.   I need to react by pulling closer to God. 

A year ago, I was at a seminar.  There, a pastor was speaking, and had some books for sale.  I asked him if he had any books about parenting prodigal children.  He did not, but we continued to talk for a while.  He told me that so much of this type of thing is going on now in the Christian world.  He said "good girls" are attracted to "bad boys".  This even has a name, "Missionary Dating".  The girls date the bad guys, with the idea that they can save them, and change them.  Hasn't that thought been around since the beginning of time?  It's not working.  I don't think it ever did.

I told the pastor that I was looking for someone to pray with me for my children.  He proceeded to tell me what I needed to do.  He told me to pray that God would make Himself know in Courtney's life this week.  To pray this out loud, and pray saying her name.  He said for me to pray that God would show Himself to Courtney in a way that she would know it was Him, and that she would  be unable to deny it.  He told me to pray this for both of my wayward children.  And I did.  I prayed this prayer separately for each daughter, once for Courtney, and once for Molly.  Nothing seemed to happen.  So I prayed this prayer daily for a week.  At the end of the week, Molly was mad at me, and had taken my name off the daycare pick up list for our grandchild.  She said we would not see either of them again.  Courtney called me and had been beat up and asked me to take her to the hospital.  So both of these prayer sessions ended in a big way, that I had not anticipated! 

I relayed this story to my sister, and she said, "Don't you know you never pray prayers like that?  I prayed once that God would change my life, and I ended up getting a divorce".  Well, I didn't know, no one told me!

So I took Courtney to the hospital.  She woke up beaten up, and couldn't remember what had happened.  It was the morning after her birthday.  We believe her boy friend beat her up, and wasn't sure if she remembered or not.  There was blood in the parking lot next to her car, and her money was gone.  I took her to the hospital, and got her medications and brought her some food.  I begged her to stay with us, but she insisted on going to her apartment.  When she woke up 24 hours later, her pain medication was gone, and she finally came to our home.  So this is the situation she has gone back to.  The person she would rather live with than us.

Around this same time, We had plans to go to a Christian concert.  My sister and I, and my three daughters.  Well, Molly didn't want to go, and didn't come at all.  Lucy (Courtney's twin) came.  We got to the door, and there were no ticket sales.  You just threw your money in a bucket and headed inside.  I tried to find Courtney, because I knew she would not have any money.   I waited but she didn't come.  I was so sad, but I didn't know what to do.  There was no ticket window to leave her a ticket.  So we went inside the concert and found seats.

Courtney arrived late, but didn't have $10 to get in.  She stood at the door, and anytime someone came in with a cell phone that was visible, she asked if she could call her Mom to come out and pay her entry fee.
I didn't take my cell phone in, cause mine rings all the time.  So I didn't hear her.  Finally, there was only one person working the door,  When no one was looking her grabbed Courtney by the arm and shoved her inside.  He whispered to her that when she found her Mom she could put money in the collection plate at intermission to cover her fee.

She went to the concession stand and called her sister, who had her phone.  Lucy went to the concession stand to pick up her sis and show her where we were sitting.  The first thing Courtney did was ask me for $10 to go pay the man who let her in.  She did go pay him, and asked him if he would tell the other door workers that she had paid and gone inside.  He said he would.  We had a wonderful evening, but at the end, we went home, and Courtney went where ever she stayed that night.

The next day, I got a text from the man who had been working the door at the concert.  Courtney had used his phone and my number was still in his phone.  He said, "Hello Courtney's mom.  I'm the doorman, and I'm glad she finally found you.  Hope you enjoyed the show".  I replied, "Thanks so much for being nice to her.  Please pray with us that Courtney will come home".  He answered, "I had no idea.  She seems like a nice girl, and the Lord takes care of His children.  I will pray".

Now it is a year later.  That same concert is here again, and we all had plans to go again this Friday.  I don't know if Courtney will go or not now.  I thought we had come so far, but here we go down that same path again.

I worry about Courtney.  But there is literally nothing I can do.  Part of me feels like Courtney is just trying to control us, and hoping we will give her money.  The other part of me fears she is suffering from depression again, and I worry that something could happen to her.  I guess I just have to pray God's protection over her, and tell the devil to stay away.  I have to give Courtney to God.  Put her on His alter, and see where He leads her.  I know God has his "own time".  I just wish I could see ahead to how this ends out for her.  Other adults tell me this is just a phase and she'll outgrow it.  What if she doesn't.  What if she gets killed.  It's hard to think about.

Monday, January 23, 2012

How Do We End Up on This "Prodigal Road"?

How do we end up on this road of prodigal parenting?  Seems I've been on this road a while.  I just wish I knew how I got here, and had the opportunity to go back and change whatever directed our path.  My husband and I have been married almost 30 years.  We have three daughters.  We have twins who will be 23 in the spring, and another daughter who will be 22 shortly after her sisters' birthday.  For the last two years, I've called myself the prodigals' mom.  I contacted all kinds of support groups, and searched on line.  There were no church or support groups for parents of prodigals in my area.  Groups in other areas did not want to email or copy me their minutes or newsletters because the information they shared with their groups was "private" and "confidential".  I really didn't care about those peoples names and such.  I just wanted the chance to learn how to save my own children.

I guess I'm a little ahead of myself.  We are a Christian family.  My husband is a retired police officer and I owned a child care center for many years.  We've worked with troubled kids our whole careers.  When our children were small, people used to come to us and ask for advise on how to parent their own children.  Still to this day, friends say to us that our children were always perfect.  They didn't think we'd ever have problems with our kids.  They can't believe how our lives have turned out.  And neither can we.

Two of our children have been on and off this prodigal road.  They are not living the lives God has chosen.  They are not walking in the light, seeking God's will for their lives.  It's so hard as a mother to wonder what you did, or didn't do, that lead your children to this path. 

I know my own children are adults and legally can make their own choices and lead their own lives.  I just wish I understood why they are making the choices they are.  One of our daughters has settled down some, and seems to be trying more than she has recently.  She is still in a bad relationship, living with a convicted felon.  But I have heard her say more than once in the last week, that this relationship is about over and he is about to be out the door.  I don't comment.  I just leave her be, and pray that this time she will follow through and get that baggage out of her life.  I'm sure I will tell you more about all this later.  This is just an introduction, right?

But our other prodigal daughter is my main concern in the last 24 hours.  Ten months ago, she was living in an apartment in a neighboring city, with a man who does not care about her, or respect her.  He is a good deal older than she is.  He waits tables nights, and shoots pool and drinks and does drugs.  He has no ambition.  At one point in this relationship, daughter pawned her car to get him out of jail.  I don't understand why my daughters are attracted to such losers.  It breaks my heart.

So, Easter Sunday, almost a year ago, our daughter asked her cop father and another cop friend-of-the-family to go with her to get her things.  They went with her to tell the guy she was leaving, and waited while she packed her stuff.  It was one of the happiest days of my life.  We told her that if she moved home, in a year she wouldn't recognize her life.  She was about to be evicted, and would have been homeless.  I got her back in school, and she resumed her studies in Criminal Justice.  She made wonderful grades, and worked very hard at her schooling.  She has struggled with finding a good job, but is employed.  She has dated a couple of nice guys, and once we thought she was serious.  But suddenly she broke it off, and resumed being alone.  She is depressed a lot.  She doesn't seem able to follow through with the plans she makes.  I don't know.

Well, here we are a year later.  She was doing real well, but still struggling in some areas.  Then last Thursday night, she didn't come home.  She called Friday to see if I realized she didn't come home.  When I said something about it, she told me she was at work, and she would call me back.  I never heard from her again.  She didn't come home Friday or Saturday.  Sunday I had her phone cut off.  That was part of our agreement.  If she moved home, I would give her a phone on my plan and put her on my car insurance.  If she moved, she had to take care of those things herself.  When she came home 10 months ago, she had warrants for not having insurance, and had to be arrested to clear them up.  So yesterday her dad sent word to her through her sister that she must have decided not to live here anymore, so she needed to come get her things. 

She came to get her stuff.  She has gone back to the bad man she was living with previously, who beat her up so bad I had to take her to the hospital, then he stole her money and pain pills.  I guess that means she has decided to return to other bad habits as well. 

I will continue to share here as I work my way through all this.  I know I have come to a point in my life where I have to let go of my daughter, and give her to God.  Pray that He protects her, and that one day she will look up and see the life she can have if she leaves her "friends" that don't want her, only what she can provide.

I have tried to start parenting support groups locally.  To talk about problems, resources, and pray together for our children.  I've put ads in the classifieds and on the internet.  I get encouragement emails from strangers, but no one who needs support like I do or want to meet.  Am I the only parent of mixed up, lost children?  Or do other parents just do a better job of ignoring what their adult kids do?  I don't have a clue.

I made an appointment to talk to my preacher.  I shared about our children with him, and a spacific problem that I wished for him to pray over with me.  My preacher then informed me that "he didn't pray those kinds of prayers anymore"!?  He thinks a person's faith should be strong enough that they can pray for themselves, and that God doesn't want us to pray for someone else "against their will".  I can't pray my daughters will change and follow God's path, etc, etc, because if God listened to my prayer he would be a respecter of persons and everyone has free will.  This is per my preacher.  That would be true MAYBE if my daughters were praying, but I don't think they are.  I have always believed that we are told to pray for each other. 

In James 5:16, we are told:  "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. "  Does this mean we only pray for each other after we confess faults or sins?  Our prayers are only for healing?  Surely that can't be?

What about a prayer of agreement?  In Matthew 18:19, the writer says, "Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven."  Isn't that what I wanted my preacher to do?  Pray for me for my daughter to be saved from her sins, to leave the life she is involved in, and for God to open her eyes so she can escape the grasp of Satan?  I don't think my praying for my daughter is a violation of her free will.  If I could violate her free will, I already would have.  I just have to pray and trust God.  I believe it will work, even if others don't.  I have to pray for my daughter.

Others tell me that this is just a season.  That my daughter will mature and return to the life she was led to lead.  Don't other parents believe that, and it never happens?  What if my daughter gets so lost in this lifestyle that she can't get away?  What if she takes too many drugs, or someone gives her something she is not aware of?  What if she gets arrested and her whole future is changed from the dreams she once had?

Maybe someone will read this and have some advise to share. 

The Prodigals' Mom