Monday, April 22, 2013

Gravity Lessons

Gravity Lessons....Have you had any of those lately?  Where the powers of heaven have pressed some undeniable truth urgently upon you?  Where like a grape that has been stomped and obliterated into wine, you have felt the weight of that reality crushing you? spilling out for you to see?  

I have.

IRONY, in my life, is when God allows me to see how wrong I have been by offering me a dose of personal experience.  The problem is God's offering feels more like a semi-truck dropping on  me from the sky....a massive eighteen wheeler that has been hurled by the very hands of God.  And as I lie face down, completely smashed beneath the magnitude of it all, He asks:  "Do you see?"

Before things exploded into crisis mode with Natalie, I believed all she needed to do was to put her desire for sin aside and choose Jesus.  It seemed so simple to me.  The Bible lays out the guidelines we need to follow in order to have a peaceful life:  don't lie...don't your neighbor....honor your parents....etc.  Who wouldn't want to follow them?  Who wouldn't want to choose peace over despair?  

But when the battle ultimately came to a deafening crescendo of Natalie literally screaming for me to get her help, I finally snapped out of my "that person just needs the Lord" mode and began frantically seeking medical advisement.  And for the last 5+ months, our insurance plan has been leading the charge and directing her care.  Chappy and I have been barely hanging on for the ride on this unfamiliar journey.  The drivers have been psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, nurses, and therapists.  We have questions that still remain unanswered, we have made phone calls that have never been returned, and we have been whipped around by a system that cares more about doing business than treating our daughter.  

As a result, Chappy and I have made the very difficult decision to take her health care into our own hands.  As of this past weekend, Nat is in a place of our own choosing.  Insurance is no longer part of her treatment plan, and a "system" is no longer wielding power over our daughter.  For the first time in six months, our family feels peace.  Beneath the weight of truth, we choose hope.

Chappy was the one who transported Natalie from the last treatment center to where she is today.  I have agreed not to speak with Natalie for 30 days in order to give her a chance to focus on herself without a lot of added emotion.  During that time, we will correspond the old-fashioned U.S. Mail.  

On her trip with Chappy, she and I spoke by cell phone.  At first she was very stoic and harsh during the conversation....telling me all of her problems were a result of poor parenting on my part....continuing to shelter herself behind those walls of protection she has built around her heart.  

Our final words were:  

(me):  "Natalie, I want you to know that you are so beautiful.  God did not make a mistake when He created you, and He has a wonderful purpose and plan for your life.  Do you hear me?

(Nat):  "Yes-ma'am"

(me):  "Nat, would you agree that you have hurt me so much over the last several months?  That things that you have said and done have broken my heart?"

(Nat):  "Yes-ma'am"

(me):  "Well I have something to say to you and I want you to hear me.  Will you listen to me for a minute?"

(Nat):  "Yes-ma'am"

(me):  "Nat, I am asking you to go to a brand new place, and I know you are feeling afraid.  But I want you to pour yourself into this place and accept the help they want to give you.  To do that, you are going to have to make yourself vulnerable.  You're going to have to take down the walls.  And if I am asking you to do that, then I have to do it too.  The first three words I have to say are easy for me.  I love you, Nat.  I really do.  But the next three words are difficult for me, but I am going to say them and I am going to mean them.  I forgive you."  

With those final three words, she began to sob out loud.  For a brief moment, the walls came down and I could hear my Natalie again.  I wanted so badly to reach out and look her in the eyes and say:  "You see, Nat, you do love me!"  However, we both just cried.

Very quickly, Natalie put her walls back up and went back into self-protection mode.  But it didn't bother me near as much as it usually does, because I had grabbed hold of that glimmer of hope and tucked it safely into my own heart.      

So where am I now?  I have returned to the basics.  My daughter just needs the Lord!  There is no magic potion and no doctor's remedy that can cure her heart.  Just like the rest of us, Natalie simply needs a Gravity Lesson!  It is going to be painful.  The process always is.  But in the end, when she is begging for mercy as I have done countless times....the ONE who is perfect mercy will gently pick her up, dust her off, and then will bring her back home to us....healed and whole.  

John 10:10:  "The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy....but I have come so that they might have life!"  

1 comment:

  1. Have you been in our home recently? You could be writing my story or visa versa. I discovered your blog a month or two ago as I was searching for probably the billionth hour for different approaches, ideas or strategies to help my daughter to cope. Daughter also adopted from Russia and presents behaviorally very much like your daughter. We also homeschool.
    And love the Lord.

    I am so weary. So defeated. So done. My husband is not on board with sending Anastasia to a treatment center - worries that she will only escalate as she manipulates less interested/less savvy staff. Understandably, he worries that she will return more out of control than when she left.

    I ask without any judgement here: I'm not clear about your post. You think residential treatment was more harmful than helpful? You think mental illness is a choice? You think enough faith can turn a child around?

    One thing I know for sure is that Anastasia has devoured any semblance of normal family life. My one child is begging to go to boarding school just to get away from here. I don't blame her( Instead she will go to Europe for the summer).

    Perhaps we can chat offline? My struggles with her are isolating. My husband has a visible presence in town and if people really knew what was going on with her, it can only portend bad things. Of course I have close church friends but I suspect that secretly they see this adorable girl and wonder if I'm not part of the problem. Never mind that I have older children who are golden....

    I feel - I am - so stuck. We are blessed to have keys to open any door this child could want or need but (and this is such an understatement) she is resistant. Sending her off to school is not an option. She would fabricate a story and have child welfare at our door faster than a NY minute. At 13 she can only add and subtract. This, I suspect, is a result of her swiss cheese brain complements of FAS.

    Add to her behaviors the reality that she is cognitively weak. Meaning low IQ though she presents as bright due to the literate, enriched home environment. Sadly, she is only partially capable of making good choices.
    And even then only when all the stars are aligned.

    Privately I know that while we ransomed her from a life of hell, I destroyed ours. Sending her outside the home for help would leave me so judged among my peers- so reviled - that at this point I don't have the ego strength. And maybe that's an easy way out and we could be doing better around here. I know you understand this when I say that this single child is more work than 12 typical kids combined. Once again, an understatement.

    I do envy you the peace that I KNOW must be deliriously delicious around your house minus your dd. And that is not a criticism of your dd, of course. Only that I know a child like this dominates every moment every day and that includes middle of the night.

    Keep us updated about what is working or not working, as you see fit.