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It is hard to even begin to describe this year for our family. Back in January, we began dealing with a rebellion with one of our sons that was difficult to understand. There were sleepless nights. There were days he didn't come home. Many were the tears. The concern and anguish ran deep. We prayed and sought God as never before. We turned to others for outside help, seeking counseling and prayers.
It felt like things could not get worse, but it did in March. Another son ended up in legal trouble. We faced the difficult decision of turning him over to the authorities to be placed in juvenile detention or to place him ourselves in a place where he could get help for his struggles. We chose to place him at the age of 14 in a boy's ranch for troubled boys. It broke my heart. It was the hardest thing we have ever done to drive away from the ranch that day leaving a piece of our heart behind.
This situation made things much worse with our older son who was in rebellion and running hard from his problems. We let him leave the end of May to go spend the summer with his birth family. We had to begin to create a safe and healing environment for the rest of our family, and it was impossible any other way. He quickly decided he did not want to come home, and we signed over guardianship to his birth family in August.
There are not words for the pain. It is a pain that makes it near difficult to take the next breath at times. It is tears that fall unchecked. Some days they will not not stop. Other days they leak out here and there. The sadness is overwhelming. Though we have not lost children to death, we have been going through a grieving process. There is a grieving for the loss of hopes and dreams. We miss our boys. I long for closure, and there is none.
During this time of agony, God has ministered to me. He has shown me that I am not alone. He has walked beside me. He has granted strength when I had none to walk this road.
Ironically, I have always longed for a relationship where I was close to God. Through this season God has become the reason I live and breathe. I could not have said that before in my life. A lot of "Me" motivated and inspired me to live each day. It was about what "I" was going to do. It was about "My" dreams. Now my heart cries out, "Lord, forgive me. May it always be about You."
I have been studying James 1 this week. Verse 2-4 say, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
We are on the healing side of things now. God is restoring my joy. As I studied these Scriptures I found I could give thanks for these trials that have tested my faith. I can consider it joy because I see the work of Christ in my life. I have a terrible long way to go before I am mature and complete. However, I am thankful that God counts me worth the effort of His molding me and His making me into the vessel he wants me to be.