If you haven’t read the first part, go here.
I didn’t drag my kids to therapy, but we did go to church. Church was helping, and while I was a Christian and heard from the Lord about certain areas of my life, I wasn’t really hearing about my children the same way. Or maybe I wasn’t listening at the time.
The church we attended was good. They had a good message, good things for the children, and helped them to get the basics of what Jesus and Christianity was about. The seeds were planted. However, things derailed, and there was a real disconnect between what Christianity was about and real life being lived.
The complicated part of this journey is my children knew we (their father and I) were living under one roof, but living separate lives. At least I was. He was obese and couldn’t/wouldn’t do much. I felt like I was watching him die, and he wouldn’t listen to reason nor engage in positive action. He was limited in mobility, and could not enforce discipline. He was seemingly content to be where he was. I could see he was depressed, but refused therapy or other things to help him. I fully believed depression was keeping him in his situation.
Anyway, when it came to chores and such, I was the person who had to make sure they were doing what they were supposed to do, when they were supposed to do it. I was the person who nagged about homework being turned in (but he would help them in the subjects I was weak in), about who was not going to class, about one child’s being bullied…just the hands-on-have-to-be-there kind of stuff. That was me. It was not a popular role. It didn’t always go over so well.
On top of this, I had decided that I wanted to date. I was lonely. I felt imprisoned and needed more. Our children understood we were no longer ‘together’. Or so I thought. Until one of my son’s asked me why I was dating someone when I was married to their dad. For years, they didn’t know we weren’t married. They believed I broke up their home. Both their father and I tried to explain it, but how does one really explain something like that to a 9 and 10 year old? To this day, I feel responsible for stripping certain aspects of their innocence away in regard to family. I took that away from them. I told them in no uncertain terms would I ever be their father’s wife, and as soon as finances would allow, I was outta there. No, I didn’t say it like that, but that’s the gist.
Eventually, our home was such a miserable unhappy place for me. I would overhear their father saying negative things about me to the children. If we would argue, loudly mind you, he would regularly call me a prostitute – and the children would hear this. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I would call him such horrible things I can’t repeat them here, so he got as good as he gave. These types of arguments, combined with the throwing of items to hit one another only served to reinforce in the children’s minds disrespect was ok. I would cry, we would curse, we would fight, and at the end of it, I’d go to work the next day or go to church and worship like nothing was wrong. I’d also hang out with friends, have a drink, go on a date…all of it to escape the horror of what I lived daily. I hated my life. And I prayed for a way out, daily.
When that way out came (in the form of an unfair eviction notice), I took it and didn’t look back. I asked my children if they wanted to go with me. The ALL said NO. They wanted no parts of me. And honestly, the rejection nearly killed me BUT, a larger part was simply relieved. I was relieved to not have to continue to try to convince them I was different, that I loved them, that I was trying the best I could. That I didn’t have to be responsible for them every single day. That I didn’t have to fight with them every day. I wanted a break. Needed a break. Even if it cost me my heart. I needed to be away, and I got it. Their father and I and my older children discussed how things would happen logistically since he wasn’t exactly able to be 100% independent. By this time, Kid 2 was a legal adult, and agreed to take care of certain things. The arrangements were set up, family members notified. Since this happened during the summer, it was agreed Kids 4 and 5 would come live with me when school started.
During my time without them, I had learned is hurt people really do hurt people. I had been hurt. I was also depleted, and really, all I needed was a break. So, I prayed. Eventually, Kids 4 & 5 came to live with us. I had gotten engaged to my now husband (who knew all the sordid details – NOTHING was left out, and family members filled in questions in his mind assuring him there was NOTHING between my ex and I, other than a shared address). They were hurt. I knew they had been. We kept an open dialog about the past. They had questions, I gave them answers. I apologized over and over. Kid 4 had been diagnosed with ADHD, bipolar disorder and Aspberers syndrome. We made adjustments to our lives and to him, and he seemed to be better. He was not always so depressed, and began to thrive in ways he never had before. Kid 1 began to come around and we had a good relationship, and even Kid 2 came around and we got much better. Kid 5 came home and we developed a good relationship. Everything was going well. I would mention us going to therapy to resolve issues (although Kid 4 was in therapy due to his medications).
The ex and I resolved our issues when I finally announced my engagement to the Hub. I forgave him, and myself. He forgave me too. We were friends, and I could finally esteem him. He was in a facility where he could get the help he needed, but he was still pretty depressed. He was in a place about 200 miles from where we lived, and we only had one car so we couldn’t see him (cuz our car was crap). Anyway, we skyped, called one another, sent texts, etc. The weekend before he died, I gave him some rift about not having called the kids, and they were upset. He quickly corrected me and told me he had been reaching out but they had been ignoring him, which I found to be true. Kid 2 kept in good contact with him but Kids 4 & 5 (his actual blood children) had not. Our last conversation ended up with me asking him what his future plans were. I mentioned to him I really wanted to see him happy, and that he deserved a woman in his life who would give him everything I could not. He said I was the only one he wanted, and he was fine with being alone. I told him he needed and deserved to be happy, that really, that was all I wanted for him – and to treat his children well. He cracked a pretty good joke about them draining him dry of everything and we laughed for a good long time over it as I sat on the Trader Joe’s parking lot with my hubby and Kid 6 shopping for apple pie. I didn’t know it would be our last conversation. I’m glad it was good.
Hell broke loose when my ex died. He was not given a funeral or burial due to familial complications, and the fact that he didn’t have a will. Everyone looked to me to take care of his last wishes, because I and my children knew what they were. Since he did not have a will and I was not married to him, ever, I couldn’t do anything. And my children never got to formally say goodbye, or even see him.
We started having problems with them. They refused therapy. Kid 5 started smoking weed and blowing off school. Kid 4 over did school, took on too much school work. Kid 2 was pregnant with my grandbaby. Kid 1 made some questionable life decisions, which the Lord had a word with him and confirmed through me about. It did not go over well, and from there, the rebellion began all over again. Kid 1 was angry about what I said, citing I did whatever I wanted and nothing ever happened to me. I told him he just didn’t see what it cost me, including them. He did things that have hurt me to my core, and would hold sessions at his house when the children came to visit him just to berate me. They all participated. They would always be so disrespectful after being around him, and until the Lord showed me exactly what was taking place, I couldn’t figure it out.
The weekend I kicked Kid 4 & 5 out, they had snuck over Kid 1’s house. Why? Not because they were forbidden from hanging out with their brother, but because I demanded that Kid 1 & 2 ask me if they could go. Kid 4 was so scheduled in stuff that he would commit me and my husband to, I refused to go all willy nilly. Not only that, we were committed to church events and 4 was heavily involved in certain aspects. The weekend I made them leave, they called me out of my name, and told me they didn’t have to answer to me, that they could do what they wanted. This wasn’t the first – it was just the way it was done I couldn’t tolerate. All of their stuff was literally out on the street. Yes, my husband tried to stop me. He wasn’t a match for me in my rage.
I told them they were dead to me and to never come back. That I would not invest another second of my life worried about them. All I could see was ten years of my life sacrificing for them, the nonsense I had dealt with on their behalf, and then they lie to my face and act like I have to deal with their crap. They learned I didn’t, and I wasn’t willing to face another day doing so. I don’t think they really believed I would stay away, they thought I would beg them to return. But I never did, and I will never do it.
I did calm down weeks later (we were communicating sparsely and violently), and told Kids 4 & 5 they could come home. They told me they would only come home only if I could let them go and come as they pleased. I told them to stay gone and hung up.
This is the ugly truth.
The truth that parents, all parents, have a threshold for foolishness and that even though they are children (they were 16 and 17 at the time), there is only so much you can take. The odd thing is that I have not ceased to pray for them since this has happened. Or myself. I asked for forgiveness, from them. I admitted I acted rashly and understood some things that are said cannot be reversed. All they had was stuff that happened four or five years prior, and then I got mad all over again. They are angry over a past I’ve tried to help them heal, but I can’t stay there. And if they want to stay there, they can, but I have to move on and live.
This has affected Kid 6 because he had a beautiful relationship with them. But they didn’t care about that, don’t think about him. They left a hole in his tiny heart that I pray over every day. He sees their pictures and his other brothers pictures, and kisses them every day.
Yep, the only way I can expect restoration is through God at this point, and he has promised me and my family that He will. Not because of me, but in spite of me. So, that (W.I.L.L.) blog was painful and personal, but how else are the lost going to know that no matter how you feel, God can change it? That there is nothing too far gone that God can’t save?
My mom and I had a horrible relationship that was MUCH worse than what my children are experiencing, and now we’re better than we ever were. So if the Lord can hear her prayers about me (and I made them look like child’s play), they’re a piece of cake. HOWEVER, this doesn’t mean there aren’t days where I’m sad, angry or relieved. This is just part of the process, and I’m not exempt from the process. I have to be healed and refined too.
When you accept Christ and are saved, it doesn’t automatically wipe away the past you’ve lived or the people you’ve affected. I’ve been saved 25 years, and these incidents occurred during that time of salvation. Salvation doesn’t mean perfect. It doesn’t mean get out of jail free either. Accepting Christ’s way of doing things means you have to trust him to fix it, even when you mess it up.
The Lord has been talking to me, my mom, my husband, and everyone related to those children and the situation. What it means is I know I have to be fixed and ready for them. Quite frankly, I am not. The simple truth is my life without them is not the same, and right now it is very peace filled. Until I think about them and it raises so many emotions and feelings and shoulda, coulda, woulda’s. The fact is I cannot change any of it, and while I should have been a better person, I was not in that moment. I made a decision that changed my relationship with them. And so did they.
This is painful. Once you’re a parent regardless of whether you choose to terminate life before it begins, give your child to someone else to raise (via adoption or allowing another family member to raise) or to rear the child/ren yourself, you are in it. There’s no turning back. You can’t turn off the emotion or the connection, even though sometimes we try really hard. Way I see it is this: continue in offense and allow bitterness to set in, or be upfront and honest about what bugs me and bring it to Jesus. I have to be honest about it. And I know I’m not the only Christian mom or dad who has gone through this.
Thing is, people feel they can judge you when they don’t walk in your shoes…this is why the Lord tells us NOT to do it. I’m quite sure if some people were in my shoes, they couldn’t lace them up, let alone walk in them. Everyone has sinned and fallen short. But are you gonna stay there? Just like I told my kids, I REFUSE to go back to Egypt. I want to be free in every area, and that includes the rejection and hurt I feel upon mention of their names, pseudonym or otherwise.
I also said I live a transparent life…welcome to this section of transparency. I pray it helps someone who is living in that space and doesn’t know there’s hope. There is life, should you choose it. You must choose life so you and your seed will live. Don’t wither away where you are, you can do more. There is more! It won’t be easy, and know you’re never alone.