My desire to apologize

For myself, as the parent of two children that have a long history with substance use and incarceration, I have often found it difficult when delivering hard truths to them to not want to apologize.  As an advocate for the grandchildren we are raising, I oftentimes have to be the one that has to make the judgment call as to when communication needs to cease for a while; or, be the one who exposes some of the realities of raising children from hard places to the absent parent; and, I have struggled with wanting to apologize for hurting them.  Weird isn’t it?  Maybe it’s a parent thing, although to be honest the men in my world don’t seem to have as difficult a time as I do in wanting to spare feelings if possible.  However, I am finally beginning to learn how not to apologize but it has been a challenge.

Each time that I have had to tell my daughter that the kids need a break from talking with her I have done so with trepidation because at the end of the day I do not want to bring her harm.  Yes, I get the fact that she, through drug addiction or whatever, made choices (along with their bio father) that brought harm to the children, but she is still my daughter and I do not want to intentionally hurt her.  Sometimes, because of the desire to not hurt feelings, I’ve procrastinated and put off or avoided the issue so that I did not have to say the words out loud.  I know that when your adult child is incarcerated, they have a world of time to replay nuances and words in conversations that have been had.  I can only assume that with all of that time to live inside your head, you analyze everything, conjure every scenario, and have few people (if any) that you trust enough to share your pain with.  We must not forget that because our children are incarcerated, or maybe living a prodigal life with little communication with us, they live in a perpetual limbo and are at the mercy of what information that is shared with them.  For myself, trusting my daughter with information related to specifics about the children has been a very hard, long process and truthfully we are still slowly walking that path towards each other.  She has to learn to trust me and the fact that I am operating under the premise of what is in the best interests of these children and will do so unapologetically in order to guard them.  I know that at the end of the day, she will have a long life to share with these children if she chooses when she is released.  They need her healthy and in their lives.  But until they are foundationally secure, we have to place the temporary barriers when needed.

As I’ve told my best friend, my sisters, my mother, the people who know me the best, I realize what she did.   I realize the harm that was brought.  I still do not want to add to her pain.  Yet sometimes I have to.  When I told her last week that we were taking a break again from communication I could feel the atmosphere between us on the phone change.  I wanted desperately to apologize to her.  But I didn’t.  Finally I am learning not to.  To apologize means that you are sorry for something that you did.

APOLOGIZE:  to offer an apology or excuse for some fault, insult, failure, or injury

Here’s the thing:  I’ve learned over years that it is not my job to apologize for exposing the reality of consequences of actions or inactions.  It is not for me to work to mend relationships that are not mine.  It is not for me to remove ownership of consquences or accountability for these children from whomever the fault lies.  As I may have said before, those are things entirely above my pay-grade.

My job, however, is to continue to express my love for my children regardless of their feelings about me.  I often remember that it is not any of my business, really, what anyone else thinks about me.  That’s on them.  I always cling to the hope that my children know that I love them beyond measure.  That I would never intentionally bring them harm.  That I only want the best for them.  That I daily miss them.  But I can’t keep apologizing to them for the things they chose.  If I do that, then I can no longer effectively be an advocate for these two little people who depend on us, Joseph and I, to help them as they lay a foundation for a good life, hopefully a life in which they have eventually create their own relationships with their parents, one that brings them peace.

Our pastor has started a series on children.  Divine intervention finally got me back in church last week, just in time for the first week.  Today was as moving for me.  I couldn’t stick around to visit because I was in tears and that is okay.  God shows up for me even when I’ve refused to answer the door for him.  He knew last week that another attempt ringing that doorbell to get my attention would be fruitful for me.  I am thankful I answered the door.  Church helps me feel like home and helps me realign when the outside forces (and sometimes inside my head voices) want to strip me of any accomplishment I may have made with my children.  Neither of them are where I dreamed they would be, but they may just be exactly where God needs them to be.

I will keep fighting the good fight for these grands, while restoring, building, nurturing my relationship with my wayward children.  God wrote this chapter in my life story.  He will allow me the words I need each time I have to speak hard truths to my children.  I’ve just got to hold on and remember that.

Ephesians 4:15 –  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Romans 12:12 – Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times. 

 

 

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Lazy Summer Days Have Arrived

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Summer break has officially arrived.  That means lazy, hazy days with no agenda; staying up late to catch lightening bugs; working in the garden; and, soaking up as much sunshine as possible.  Right?!

Growing up summer break was the best ever.  The last day of school meant we could focus on days with nothing to do.  Most of our days were spent outside but the days seemed to stretch on endlessly.

As a grandparent raising little ones, I both look forward to summer break and dread it  at the same time.  Honestly, summer break removes the battles that can spark in our home during the school year because the Bear has to get dressed, eat, you know, be human right out of the gate, and she doesn’t appreciate that.  When she doesn’t appreciate things we all hear about it.  Although as an aside and shout out to one of my brilliant sisters – if anyone is struggling getting your little one to get dressed in the mornings, have them put their fresh school clothes on the night before to sleep in.  Game changer for us.  A thing of yogurt, a beef jerky stick, or a microwaved sausage biscuit with something to drink waiting by her bed means she can wake up (with her alarm) and linger as long as she needs to.

But, I digress.  As I said, not having that morning routine argument is a blessing.  Not having a routine for homework in the evenings helps as well and summer is a nice reprieve from that.  I tend to set the bar high for myself and the kids in the summer – we are going to read 20 minutes each day – we are going to continue practicing spelling, etc.; and, although we do go to the library and I do try to work on training their brain for August when school starts back, it’s nice to not have any deadlines.  Trips to the library are fun for the kids and they are allowed to pick out their own books and they each have their own library card.  It’s a good responsibility/accountability lesson as well.

Trips to the pool are another highlight for both myself and the kids.  Thankfully we have a few amazing people in our world who allow us to swim at their homes.  These outings not only allow the kids to work off energy but they wear them out.  They always sleep well after a day of swimming.

One of the downsides of summer break is that they are with me 24/7.  24/7.  That is a long time sometimes.  We get bored with each other often and I try to have them go outside frequently.  Thankfully we always garden and they are both very active in helping us not only plant but cultivate and harvest.  Up until mid-summer last year there was a constant argument over electronics.  About halfway through summer break last year we all talked about electronic use and it was decided they could have a certain amount prior to noon if their behavior is good and then a certain amount of time after noon, if their behavior is good.  Too much time in front of tablets changes both of our little people and it’s not pretty.  It’s amazing though what they can do when they are off their tablets – they actually tap into that imagination they have – and they get to interact with the world.

But it’s all exhausting.  Some nights when the day is over I’m worn out and I think back to what our day consisted of and realize that I’m not 30 anymore!  Heck, I’m not even 40 anymore!  Raising children in your 50’s is significantly different.  One vow I try to make for myself though is to not try and walk this journey alone – not to pretend I’m a single parent – not to have too much pride to say:  I need a break, can you help, or simply to just accept help that is offered.  That’s an issue I’m continuing to work through.  I know there are grandparents, aunts, uncles, all manner of relatives raising children in their second phase of life unexpectedly.  Please know you are not alone.  Also know, we are all as tired as you!

Recently some issues have come to light that will have to be addressed over the next several weeks, and conversations have to be had regarding moving forward with a monumental decision for our family and I have found that my prayer life has been severely lacking.  It has dawned on me that the reason my prayer life has been severely lacking is because I’ve been a tad ticked off at God lately.  I’ve not been raging, throwing fits and all that business, but when I get hurt or mad I shut down and that’s what I’ve done.  I’ve been through a period of time where I feel as if I’ve prayed the same prayers over and over consistently for years sometimes and yet I see no marked difference in circumstances.  I’ve used every excuse possible, to avoid attending church services because I honestly know that when I walk in that door, my composure may no longer exist.  I keep reminding myself of a song that says … “Maybe it’s okay, if I’m not okay”.  I’ve come to realize that it is most certainly okay if I am not okay and better yet, it is okay for me to say it out loud.  Granted I may pick and choose who I reveal that to, but in all sincerity the people who truly know me and love me already know.  They often just wait on me to admit it.

My biggest hurtle of late has been to admit it to God.  It’s different to think things than it is to voice them.   I have to remember that when I am at my weakest, most worn, most frustrated, most hurt, most angry … He is and always has been at his strongest.  I am not only harming myself personally by shutting down on God but I’m harming these children who despartely need their faith to be built so that, as with any of us, we can stand firm to weather the journeys in our life.

These verses have been rattling around lately and I believe that there may be someone else who needs these reminders:

Nehemiah 6:3: so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” 

1 Peter 4:8: Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

2 Timothy 1:12:  But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.

Mark 9:23-24: “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
  Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

One thing we who are raising a generation of children with absent parents is that we are doing a great work!  He who is with us will never leave us.  He who is with us chose us for this part of these children’s journey.  He will sustain us.  Anything is possible through Christ.  Our faith and our hope will carry us through even the hardest days.  It’s easy to forget all of that when you are living in the middle of that big ole forest, just trying to cut through one tree at a time to reveal the path.  But we must all remember.  Our lives are no accidents.  We must love deeply – sometimes it’s for our children, sometimes it’s for our grandchildren or other children who we tend too – and sometimes it’s for ourselves.  Love ourselves – cut ourselves some slack occasionally – and know that summer and sunshine can mend a lot of wounds.

 

Pandora’s Box

When I was growing up, through  middle school and high school years, we studied Greek mythology.  I oftentimes had difficulty wrapping my mind around the various Gods and Goddesses and what each of their roles are.  I still could not name many of them, nor say with certainty for what they were known.  However, the  story of Pandora’s Box was one that always stuck with me.  Much like the story of the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve were told the one tree they could not eat from . . . and we all know how that turned out; Pandora was so curious about what was inside the box that she opened it and unleashed upon the world many bad things – some writings say miseries were unleashed upon the world.  It scared her so that she slammed the door closed and the only thing left inside of the box was Hope.

I haven’t  thought of the story regarding Pandora’s Box in quite some time, but in light of things that have surfaced over the past several weeks, I’ve thought of the story often.  I searched on the internet to find information  about the story and one of the things  I read was this:  “Pandora’s box” now means anything that is best left untouched, for fear of what might come out of it.  I understand that statement all too  well.

Haven’t we all been there  at some point in our lives?  Knowing if we say that one thing, complete that one action, make that certain decision . . . the lid will be blown off and all hell may break loose . . . but in some instances, we know we have to open the lid.  Opening the lid sometimes takes an enormous amount of courage, because you may not just be unleashing “bad stuff” into your life, but also into the lives of those that exist within your orbit.   Sometimes I believe it is human nature to be unwilling to open yourself up completely when it comes to painful things that you have experienced or witnessed.  I believe that it is often in our interests to shield those we love from pain, if possible.  I would much rather shoulder it than share it with someone I love, which really doesn’t make good sense does it?  Ecclesiastes 4:12 says: A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. God tells us we need to bind together and when we do, we are not easily broken.

As I have attempted to work with our Bear in learning to trust us as capable, loving, caring parental figures in her life, I have learned myself that it is much better to release some of  these toxins that are allowed to take root and grow, so that the healing process can  begin.  Although she is beginning to put together more pieces of the puzzle for us,  it is as if she is innately attuned to what we, as her parents by proxy, can process through the lens of our middle-aged adult life experiences; and, she knows that she is best served by simply laying down bits of information so that we can follow her trail, much like another story, that of Hansel and Gretel, to the witch’s house …. the place inside her soul that clings to her hurts.  I believe she is desperately afraid of what may happen if words are spoken out loud.  I told her the other night that it is as if she wears her  anger as a coat that she burrows herself in and wears with pride.  For some reason that registered with her and she admitted that she does feel that way sometimes.  It seems safer for her to be angry than to be vulnerable.  Is this the example I set for her?  I certainly hope not.  But it may well be.  Being vulnerable is a side of me that I have never been willing to share with most people.  Joseph told me the other day I take the old saying:  “you’ll never regret keeping your mouth shut” to a whole new level and that wasn’t  meant as a compliment.

I believe firmly that God allows us what we need to know in each moment.  By that I mean that I feel as if He alone knows what are hearts and minds can process and sometimes He showers grace and mercy on us as we work through painful things or events in our lives, sometimes in increments.  I believe not only does He do that for those that are sharing the painful memories, but He also does that for the people or person who hear the memories shared, and then has to determine how to not only absorb the information, but how to help the narrator come to terms with the pain that they feel, while finding a way to bind the wounds so that true healing can take place.

Many days lately I have felt in over my head.  I have thought “this is above my pay-grade” more than once.  Then I stop.  I chastise myself.  I remember that there is not one thing in me that is enough to help the healing process, but there is an Almighty One that resides in me that can give me the strength, mercy, grace and love I need to have.  No, I must have.  I can be confident that He, the creator and author, chose Joseph and I to raise these children, because there is something they need that only we can provide.  But some days I wonder.  Some days I want to rage from the top of the roof.  Yet I am always afraid to take that to God.  Why?  Thankfully, He tells us in 1 John 3:20:  For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves.  Maybe in order to teach the Bear to be unafraid to talk about her past, I need to be willing to be unafraid to speak to God about my true feelings, because after all, He knows  them already, He’s just waiting for me to give voice to them.  Maybe that’s a lesson He is teaching me through her.

Maybe we both have to trust that even though Pandora’s box has been opened . . . hope continues to reside inside.  Isn’t it cool that the Word says And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:5).  It seems a bit ironic that the God’s created by man knew the importance of the same Hope that God gives us.  Greek mythology allowed humans to cling to that one small thing left . . . which was hope.  Funny how those things work out isn’t it?!  Hope.  Love.  Perseverance.  And that is why, no matter how difficult, we will continue to fight the good fight every single day of these children’s lives.

 

 

Where to start?

Let me begin this post with this statement:  I am not a therapist, a psychologist or have any learned degree in human sciences.  What I do have is a college education in the criminal justice field, and an adult life lived in the trenches of society working with people who most wouldn’t give the time of day too; while also living a personal life that at worst feels like collateral damage from drug addiction and  it’s ravages that could take us all under; and at best being given an amazing life by the grace of God,  witnessing His miracles in my family; and, Him providing the opportunity with my husband to raise two of the most delicious people ever created.

With that said, one of the things I believe is that a woman’s defining relationship with men is determined by the precedent set during her early formative years by her father or father figure.  In the criminal justice business you meet all types of people, but one thing I found was that in those moments I could have an honest, forthright conversation with a male client, they could be brought to their knees by the thought of pain that their children have been caused or have seen, and by the knowledge that they hold such a grave responsibility in the development of their daughter’s idea of what is acceptable and “normal” in a loving, healthy relationship with a partner.  Simply put there is nothing like a  girl and her relationship with her daddy.

My mom says that my dad and I didn’t have the best of relationships during my pre-teen years.  I don’t remember most of that, thankfully I suppose.  I remember  that my dad spanked me twice in my life.  Both times were deserved.  It was so unusual that I remember both times very well.  My dad was a tough guy.  He became a full-time law enforcement officer when I was a sophomore in high school and I was in awe of everything he did.  He took me out of school early one day so that I could go watch my first murder trial.  I was hooked.  I loved the dignity of the court proceedings and the camaraderie of the different “players” in the courtroom behind the scenes.  I adore my dad.  I loved the job he had and would even go with him at night to the courthouse to type his reports and just be present around the other officers, listening to their stories.  My mom still blames him for the fact I chose  the career path I did!  We laugh about it now . .  . well, sometimes mom laughs!  As an adult dynamics changed in my  relationship with my dad.  As life often does, there were hills and valleys  in our relationship but regardless of how low the valley was I knew one thing:  My Dad Has My Back.  Period.  The End.  No Question.  Now, with him in his early 70’s and me in my early 50’s it is still true.  I know  my two  sisters feel the exact same way about him.  My dad is a hero of mine and I can never repay him  for all he’s done for me over the years.  One thing I’ve always told my daughter and step-daughter is that a true sign of a man’s character is not really in how he treats his mom, but how he treats his children.  One of the things that caused me to fall in love with my husband is because he was a true parent to his daughter.  He lived for  that child and still does!  Miracles occurred in our family due to my husband’s relationship with my daughter and our Bear girl.

The terms baby-daddy and baby-mama started being thrown around several years ago at work.  These terms drive me crazy.  One of the ones I always hated the most was to hear someone say “my old lady” . . . excuse me?!  So it took a while for me to not be offended or dismayed to hear baby-daddy and baby-mama tossed about.  Now, in retrospect, I can see the exact reason the phrase is sometimes used.  As it relates to the father of my two  oldest grandchildren, he’s the baby-daddy.  I know it’s probably shallow of me but he doesn’t have enough of my  respect to consider him their dad.

Let me explain:  my daughter was sent to long-term treatment right before she turned eighteen.  She was a “runner” and alcoholic.  She’d run-away, I’d use whatever resources I had available to find her, she’d go to detention, we’d start again.  After the last round, she spent about six months away from home getting treatment.  When she turned eighteen she had the opportunity to move into her own apartment, go to college, etc . . . all with the government’s help  because she was a “foster child” when she turned eighteen.  We thought we had turned a corner with my child who had struggled with alcoholism and drug abuse since she was  thirteen.  But alas, as so often happens, life reared its ugly head by reminding her of her past and baby-daddy bull-dozed his way into our life.  Marrying your drug dealer does help with some things . . . I suppose.

My daughter and her new husband were first arrested together when she was 3 months pregnant with  the Bear.  He’s a drug dealer but not a very effective one.  He gets arrested frequently.  He was in jail when the Bear was born and he was in jail when Dozer was born as well.  Those are two pretty serious strikes in my opinion, but life goes on right?  People learn from mistakes, right?!  He has been to jail at least once a year since he barreled into our family.  This man has never held a job longer than six months and is in his mid-30’s.  This man has never lived on his own except a few short periods of time because he lives at home with his parents.  This man has been arrested twice in the presence of the children.  This  man has never paid child support.  This  man has stolen thousands of dollars from a former employer and never paid any back.  This man was found to have neglected my granddaughter twice in five years.  Twice.  He would move heaven and earth to give my daughter anything she wanted – ANYTHING – but never sacrificed for his children.

So now he’s out of jail.  This time he’s been gone from them for almost two years.  It was almost a  week after his release that he finally got in touch with me to see the kids.  And as I think I’ve said before, I let him see them.  Twice in fact.  It led to disastrous consequences and issues for the Bear.  She’s angry – she feels vicious – she feels like everything is uneven – and yet she’s afraid to tell him she’s angry.  After the second time he saw the kids I told him that he and I would have to sit down and have a talk before I would schedule another visit.  I offered a few times and days I could meet with him but he could never work it into  his schedule.  He used his  mom as his excuse the first few times and so I decided that I am not going to play into his juvenile time-management issues any longer so I told him to pick any day at any time and I would be there.  That was three weeks ago this past Friday.  He texted last night.

Wow.   Really?  Three weeks later he wants to sit down and talk.  He told his mom he’s afraid I’m  going to yell at him or be mean to him.  Really?!  We are supposed to sit down and talk tomorrow afternoon.  So back to the question at the beginning of this . . . Where Do I Start?  He refuses to believe the children are not ready to see him.  He refuses to believe he needs to do anything differently to be in their world.  He refuses to speak to the Bear’s therapist.  He has stated he can’t take me to court to win custody of the kids because he can’t pay child support.  Seriously?!   I can feel  my blood pressure rise just typing and I can feel my anxiety level rising as I’m typing . . . and I have to be the adult at the “meeting” tomorrow.  I have to convey to him the enormity of the damage that he and my daughter have inflicted on these children.

Trust me – I’m a no-holds barred, non-sugar coating kinda person.  Ask anyone who knows  me.  One of my favorite sayings (at work especially)  was:  I ain’t playin’.  I mean it.  So although part of me wants to rant and rave and lash out to cause him a fraction of the pain he’s caused these children, I know that I can’t.  Over the years I’ve been told I have a knack for reaming someone out and calling them out while smiling the whole time so when a person walks away they don’t really know what’s happened.  I’m not saying that to be boastful or prideful – it’s just who I am.  So I will have some harsh realities and truths for him to hear tomorrow but I have to remember this:  these children are NOT mine.  They are NOT his.  The are NOT my daughter’s.  They belong to the Almighty God.  He has allowed us to borrow them in this particular moment for this portion of their lives.

Because they are God’s  children I know  that if I lean on Him I will be provided with the right heart, attitude and words.  Although I really want to punch him in the face – I will choose instead to pray that baby-daddy’s heart will be open to hear the words God wants me to  convey.

Proverbs 4:25-26 says:  “Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.  Watch the path of your feet, and all your ways will be established.”

Exodus 14:13-14 says:  Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.  The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.”

But my favorite along these lines that I’ve  been thinking of often the past few days is from Job 38:11 . . . “when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt”.

Even more than my daddy or my husband has had my back – God has my back and a plan for a hope  and a future for these children with or without baby-daddy in their lives.  So . . . any of you reading – say a prayer – wish me luck .  .  . and I’ll keep you posted!!

 

 

 

I am doing a Great Work

I do  not believe in coincidences.  I believe in God.  I told one of my niece’s that the other day and it’s true.  I was raised in a Christian home.  My mom made sure that myself and my siblings were brought up in Church.  I am forever grateful for the strong Christian women that played  a role in my upbringing and helped me gain that solid foundation to stand on.

However . . . I digressed.  Maybe there are a lot out there that tend to digress from their church.  It was never because my faith lagged or because I didn’t have a relationship with God, it was because I grew lazy, I had a million reasons as my kids were growing up, yada yada.  None of the reasons are good enough but it happened.

Over the past several years, especially after the grandkids came to live with us, I again began attending  church we attended when I was a child.  It’s always been like coming home.  On the first Sunday of this year our preacher’s sermon was from Nehemiah 6.  Brother Gary didn’t know, but God did – that I would be in attendance that morning and that I needed confirmation of what we are trying to do raising  our grandchildren.

“. . . but they were scheming to harm me; so I sent messengers to  them with this reply:  ‘I am carrying on a great project (work) and cannot go down’.”  

” . . . They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will  not be completed.’  But I prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands’.”

These scriptures come from Nehemiah 6:3 & 9

The minute I read that I had a sense of peace.  A sense of resolve.  I could almost feel my shoulders square and my chin come up . . . and I needed that very much.

I’ve struggled with what to say on this second post.  There is so much of my story that I know others will recognize as pieces of theirs.  Where to begin however is a quandary for me.  I will begin by saying that none of this is easy.  When the decision was made to move for custody of our granddaughter the first time (she was 17 months old) I knew it meant basically going toe-to-toe not only with my daughter,  but  with her husband (at the time) in a court of law.  The second time we fought for custody of both our granddaughter (who was 5) and our grandson (who was 2) I had  to be willing to be unafraid to jeopardize what was left of the relationship I had with my daughter.  I’ve always said – the adults chose their lifestyle, the children have no say.  Someone has to be the child’s advocate.

This journey is certainly not for the faint of heart.  I’ve had to learn how to detach (took years); practice that so-called “tough love”; spent lots of time rocking my tiny soul-sister and telling her that “no, my mommy never left me” while reminding her constantly that PaPaw and MaMaw will never leave her and that we always have her back; and listening to people who have traveled this path before me, especially the two sisters I am blessed to have.

With all of that said know this – if you are raising your grandchildren, nieces, nephews, other children that come from those so-called “hard places” – YOU are doing a great work.  Let no one detract you as long as you are working to be an advocate for these children.  Always remember, we will likely never fully understand what these children have seen, heard or been witness too, so mercy and grace should always be given to them – and sometimes this is hard!  Remember . . . childhood is brief.  Trauma can be healed.  Love given is infinite.

 

My first blog post.

My first blog post.  Ever.  I’m not going to lie – this is a bit terrifying for me.  I’ve never been good at putting myself “out there” so to speak, but I am hoping that our journey may encourage others.

In researching information about blogging (I tend to research a lot!) – I kept pondering what it is that I’m passionate about, and how God wants to use my family’s journey to  encourage or help someone.

My family’s story is not unique.  My husband (Joseph) and I have three children between us.  We have been together since they were four (4) years of age, three (3) years of  age, and about thirteen months old.  They are now in their early to mid twenties.  We have four delicious grandchildren and are raising the two oldest.  Our middle grandson was adopted by my youngest sister (a whole set of entries about this later!) and we are not able to see our youngest grandson right now.

Drug addiction sucks out loud.  No sugar coating from me about that, it just does.  My two biological children are drug addicts.  This is why we have custody of two children and one was adopted.  Becoming parents again in your 50’s is vastly different than the first time around.  Parenting children who come from “hard places” is especially humbling, frustrating, scary and joyful.

I spent twenty-seven years working in the trenches in the criminal justice system in my hometown.  I retired last year with a full (although rather small) pension from working in the Kentucky criminal justice system and am now parenting a seven (7) year old girl (The Bear) and a four (4) year old boy (Chigger Bee – long story) with the constant help, love and support of my husband.

God has allowed us this opportunity to raise these children.  To help them heal from all of the chaos and stupid that goes into the drug world and goes hand in hand with addicted parents.  We thank God daily for these grandchildren – for a second chance for all of us.  I pray daily for strength – both physical and mental.

So this  blog – like my life – is a work in progress.  I hope to share information related to drug addiction, what I’ve learned working in the criminal justice system, how I’m learning how to raise grandchildren in a much different manner than my children, how God has brought me to this place for a particular reason.  Not necessarily for what I can teach the grandkids, but what I can learn from them about God’s love, God’s mercy, and especially God’s grace.

Stick around!  There’s never a dull moment in our crazy world!