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!"  

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Golden Rule

Lydia has slept on the floor of our our bedroom, cuddled up in blankets, since the Boston Marathon Tragedy....she is wrestling with the enemy called "Fear".   I think it is pretty safe to bet most of our teenagers are feeling afraid.  And I really can't blame them.    

The truth of the matter is that there is no simple fix to the brokenness of our society.  The remedy must begin with a worldwide heart change.  Perhaps, over time, healing will burst forth from the brokenness.  But until then, we are all left to figure out how we deal with the fear.  

Here is a 14 year old girl's perspective: