Running from the Pursuer (part 2)

‘My child’s feelings are hurt, I tell him he’s special.
My child is injured. I do whatever it takes to make him feel better.
My child is afraid. I won’t go to sleep until he feels secure.
I am not a hero…I’m a parent.
When a child hurts, a parent does what comes naturally. He helps…’ Max Lucado

But what happens when your parenting…your decision is the cause of your child’s hurt…fear?

…After he came upstairs, we told him we needed to talk and asked him to sit down…he said that he’d rather stand. We found out that Trevor was planning on waiting until we fell asleep that night, then he was going to take the car and drive back to Baraboo…We found out that earlier that night, a girl he cared deeply for and one of the main reasons he wanted to move back to Baraboo, had broken up with him. He was visibly upset, emotionally disconnected and very angry at me. We also found out that he planned on going to Baraboo, say good-bye to his friends and then go off somewhere and end it. Lisa asked him how serious he was about that and he said that he was very serious. She told him to get his shoes on, that we were taking him to the hospital…he didn’t argue.

Trevor spent the night at the hospital, in their psychiatric ward, but the next day they would need to transfer him to a facility that was suitable for adolescents and teens. He made no fuss about going…I think he actually enjoyed his ‘vacation’ from school…from us…and thought (as did I) that it wouldn’t be any different at the Rochester facility than it was here. But it wasn’t anything the same…right away they separated Trevor from us. As we met with the intake social worker, the nurse was filling Trevor in on the rules, taking his shoes, belt and everything that was in his pockets. By the time we were done with the social worker and went to see him, it was obvious Trevor didn’t like being here. He didn’t want to stay, but we held firm and told him that we needed to see this through. When it became obvious that we weren’t going to take him home, he shut down and when asked if he wanted us to leave…he simply said ‘Yup…’ and so we did…Trevor would need to be there for a mandatory 72 hours, but that didn’t include weekends…it was Friday and that meant unless we demanded it, he would be there until Wednesday…yeah, he wasn’t happy at all! No T.V., no going into other patient rooms and except for ‘group therapy’ time, they quickly broke up private conversations between patients. This place was supposed to help Trevor…encourage him to share things that he wouldn’t or couldn’t share with us…instead, it was making him frustrated and actually more upset. By Monday he was better…more resolved that this was how it was going to be than happy…but better. Lisa and I were not however…in the three days that he had been there so far, it was evident that he had received no personal therapy and the actual psychologist couldn’t tell us their plan of action for Trevor…we didn’t tell Trevor this, but we decided right then that we were going to take Trevor home with us the following day. Tuesday morning, Trevor was in pretty good spirits. One of the things that needed to happen before he left was the three of us had to have a ‘family meeting’ with the social worker where Trevor and us would share some items that we would like to see changed and then work together to seek a compromise. The social worker did tell us that he informed Trevor the previous day that him moving out before he was 18 and graduated from high school was not an option that would be up for compromise. Surprisingly there were only two things on Trevor’s list…1) School…he wanted to be homeschooled  2) He didn’t want to go to church anymore. Concerning school…honestly, if he has no desire to do the homework he is assigned in school now, what would be the motivation for him to do it with an on-line school? Also, I strongly believe that wouldn’t be healthy for him as he would just be that much more isolated. We pointed out that he’s only been in school for three months. The social worker then asked Trevor what he could do to try and make school at the highschool work? He told Trevor that he didn’t buy that he couldn’t make friends because he saw Trevor befriend all the other teens there in the program (Trevor smiled at that!). Trevor said that he liked sports and that he planned on going out for baseball in the spring. Number 2 was more difficult…I didn’t want to compromise…’As for me and MY house, we will serve the Lord…’ Exactly how does a parent knowingly compromise his child’s spiritual wellbeing? But ultimately in the end…I can’t decide for Trevor. I can force him to attend, but I can’t force him to believe. And if I force him…bitterness and hardness will take root. But even so…I KNOW the Bible says that we, as parents, will be held accountable for the way we bring our children up. So, it was with heavy heart that we reached a compromise…we wouldn’t force him to attend church, but he would attend youth group each week.

And so, we’re home…I do not feel that Trevor would have actually taken his own life, but he did feel trapped, frustrated and angry. He is seeing a therapist (a good Christian woman) and he knows that he needs to deal with some anger issues as well as the death of his mother. I know he’s blaming me for everything that’s gone wrong in his life. After all, I moved him from his friends…the only people he feels were there for him after his mother died. And so the tsunami of emotions pummels me as waves of guilt and condemnation drive me to my knees. Every good and nurturing parent wants their children to be happy and successful…I felt I had failed Trevor and have spent many days in thought, discussion with Lisa and prayer over this and eventually came to the conclusion that I know it was the right decision…He needed to leave Baraboo…needed to be removed from the influence of his friends. These friends who were there for him…who eagerly accepted him, but who also introduced him to ways of replacing or avoiding the reality of his grief. At the age of 15, Trevor had started walking a path not only in the wilderness and full of hazards, but one that was treacherous…perilous even…and without the One who could and so wanted to guide him. So, I knew moving him from Baraboo was absolutely the right thing to do…even so, helplessly watching your child slip into emotional despair is not an easy thing to do…But I’m thankful for the Father who wants to hold him until he feels better, help him until he can live with the hurt and who won’t go to sleep when he’s afraid of waking up and seeing nothing but darkness…if only he’d stop running from the Pursuer and realize that God doesn’t just want to catch him, but wants to carry him through these difficult struggles. To show him that he isn’t alone and never has to be. To comfort him, heal him and show him that it’s going to be ok…

‘It will be at those times that I will be glad I have a guide…a guide who knows the path well and His step sure.’

~ V


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