I’ve been homeschool blogging since 2005. I started homeschooling when my kids were 2 and 4. I’ve been at it a loooong time, and now my eldest son is graduating at 19. BUT – if you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I have TWO teenagers, not just one. My daughter is 17, going on 27. She was always just a year behind my son with her academic work until she caught up to him in high school and was scheduled to graduate with him this year as long as she caught up on her math over the summer.
This is no longer the case, as much as I would love it to be, and since I have gotten some questions about her, I thought I would share a little bit of my heart – a little broken part that has been keeping me from blogging for a long time. It isn’t easy to go through hard times during the teen years – not for the parent or the teen.
To clarify, I wanted to explain WHY I’m sharing this story. It isn’t to gossip, it isn’t to make you feel sorry for me, it isn’t to point fingers at anyone – especially not her, and it isn’t to solicit advice. Affairs of the heart are deep corners of the soul and chances are, the only person who can truly understand how to put broken pieces together again is God himself.
The two things I wanted to convey by this deeply personal and painful story is the following:
1. We can never get enough prayer, so please – if you are the praying type, and your heart is pricked for us, by all means – PRAY. God knows every nuance of what has happened and needs to happen and He is able to do miracles still – even in people’s hearts.
2. I want every homeschool mother who has struggled with a teenager who has decided to go a different way despite them doing all they knew how to do to prevent it to know they ARE NOT ALONE; and I want every homeschool mom who thinks she has a “get out of jail free” card when it comes to teen angst to know she is dead wrong. It doesn’t matter where your kids go to school. The battle for their soul is going to play out – the age-old story – no matter their geographical location, race, creed, school background, etc. The devil sees no boundaries in this world and speaks all languages… and he’s been around the block a few times.
Before I explain anything about my girl, though, let me start by pushing the clock back a bit farther… back in to the late 1980’s. There was another young girl who attended public school who lost her way. There were all sorts of reasons and none of them really matter today, twenty-five years later. She was me. Well, the me that’s been crucified with Christ. The only thing I wish I still had of her was that wrinkle-free skin.
I was the black sheep of the family; as lost as a spiraling hunk of space debris, and nothing but Jesus could help me regain a correct orbit. There wasn’t much trouble I didn’t find my way into. I won’t incriminate myself here with gory details, but let’s just say you would have never believed back then, if you knew me, that I would end up:
1. Alive still
2. Married for 24 years with four kids
4. a Christian
People who have a past don’t point fingers at people who are struggling. We pray for them. Even the really difficult ones who might qualify as enemies. Jesus is clear that He died for ALL and that we should LOVE even our enemies. Easy to say, not so easy to do.
Jesus also said that our greatest enemy is not flesh and blood; not a person at all…
Ephesians 6:12 ~ For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
So, even though I am called as a Christian to judge whether another person I come in contact with is “In the Faith”, it is NOT my position to judge them if they aren’t. And so this brings me to the current state of things with my little girl… who isn’t so little any more. We’ve had years of struggle and somehow, somewhere, she went down another path that took her another direction from the one we were on. Inevitably, she decided that she wanted to pursue her current path regardless of whether we could follow it with her or not. She made some decisions regarding her future that were ones we wouldn’t have made.
She’s almost 18 and almost an adult … and that’s just the way it goes, sometimes. Very often, I would say, a young adult has to separate from their family and “find themselves”, even if it means burning a few bridges for a time.
Today my little girl is living with friends (instead of at home), enrolled in a program to obtain her GED (instead of homeschooling), getting her driver’s license in a local class (instead of doing it at home/online), and working still. The fork in the road that took her away from us was about two weeks back. The fork in the road that changed her heart is a lot farther back. No one really knows but her and Jesus when that happened or why, but a mama’s job is to never stop praying until her babies are home and healed… saved and redeemed. So no matter where she is, I’ll still be doing what I always do – fervently praying that she’s redeemed.
I’ve heard it said that not all who wander are lost. But some are. Many, in fact.
It has been a long road for us, coming to terms with the fact that we aren’t in control. Good thing is, God always is and always will be. I know as a former street urchin and black sheep that He can do wonders and miracles beyond our wildest imaginations. I’m walking proof that Jesus saves, so I expect nothing less for my children – all of them. Who am I to prevent their Heavenly Father from giving them a story of their own? Something to make their own faith REAL – even if there’s pain and suffering involved. Who am I to say I know what’s best for her when He knit her together in my womb and created the stars and moon?
I expect one day to be writing a story not very much unlike the story of the Prodigal Father. Yes, I said that right. The weekend Morgan left our preacher started a series on the Prodigal Son and his message yesterday was this:
I know our future story will be filled with reckless extravagance. The good kind. I hope it doesn’t take wallowing with pigs to bring about restoration. I hope that prayers are answered quickly and not much of precious life is lost on futility or estrangement… but either way, whatever it takes, come Lord Jesus. Bring on the mud. Bring on the healing. Bring on the redemption.
I’ll never stop praying as long as I have breath. I invite you to join in with me.
Until then, I’ll be singing along with all those sad songs, hopeful songs, meaningful songs… and taking solace in the fact that God allows you to go through all sorts of trails to not only burn away the dross in your life, but to make you able to comfort others who end up in your same shoes. Maybe one day I’ll be comforting you and giving you hope when your little girl walks away for a while. If that day comes for you, just know that it isn’t the end.
You are going to be OK. You can keep breathing and know that God has it all in the palm of His hand.
Need someone to pray with you? A shoulder to cry on? I’ll be here for you!