Thursday, December 10, 2009

My son

I don't know how many people will read this but I know God is sovereign and He has used many a blog of strangers to bless me this year for sure. I've been away recently from blogging as I continue to find my way on this difficult road I'm on. It has been much easier of a journey lately as God has answered my prayers with strength, faith and love in abundant measure. I posted this note on my facebook today to family and friends but thought I would re-post it here as well. Christmas is a time when we all love to give gifts from our hearts to our family and friends. This year I am limited in what I can do for Brett as he is in jail. One thing I can do is to encourage his friends to reach out to let him know they care. One of the things I have learned on this journey is that people many times do or say nothing for fear of offending, they think of the person in crisis and pray for them but often do not take that extra step to say "I'm thinking of you" . I have done that many times in the past myself and will look at people in crisis with new eyes from now on. So, this is my small gift to my son this Christmas if God lays it on your heart please send him a Christmas greeting and a prayer of good will. It will surely bless him and me.

For all my facebook friends

I'm sure by now many of you know that my son Brett is currently in jail. It is my fervent prayer that some day he and I will somehow be able to share in written or spoken word the story of God's mighty power, His deliverance, forgiveness and grace as it has played out in our lives and the lives of our family this year.

This Christmas season is bittersweet for us as we are all missing Brett. As a family we have always had wonderful holiday traditions as I am sure many of you do as well. His absence will be the part that is bitter but the sweetness of knowing he is alive, free of drugs, and walking with Christ daily is surely taking the sting out of that.

I want to share his address here for those who would like to send him a letter or Christmas card. I know that often people feel awkward in these types of situations. Please don't, something I have learned .. anyone in jail or prison would love to get a letter from anyone!! Daily life in jail is quite monotonous. Brett is the same lovable, optimistic, fun guy he has always been. We laugh all the time when we visit and talk on the phone. We have had some hard times this year to be sure but they are behind us and the future looks bright.

For those who are in Christ that are reading this note I ask that you please pray for Brett and our family that God would continue to draw him close and strengthen him and us as we continue on this path. For those who aren't sure whether or not they truly know Jesus Christ it is my sincere prayer that you will seek Him with your whole heart, for I know if you do that then you will find Him. For He is the reason for this glorious season of joy! Romans 10:9-10

Brett Theroux 0024976
Hampton Roads Regional Jail 3-5
P.O. Box 7609
Portsmouth, Virginia 23707

May God Bless you each one this wonderful holiday season
In His perfect love,

Monday, November 2, 2009

Good words for today


–verb (used without object), -ced⋅ed, -ced⋅ing.

to act or interpose in behalf of someone in difficulty or trouble, as by pleading or petition: to intercede with the governor for a condemned man.

Romans 8:33-34
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died----- more than that, who was raised to life---- is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Is anyone else just blown away by the concept of Jesus interceding for them like I am?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chapter 1: Trying To Be Good Enough

As usual I am a day late in posting! Here it is Wednesday and I am posting to the "Yes to God Tuesday" study. Oh well, I'm trying .... maybe next week =)

Anything in Red is a quote from the book

The false perception was rooted in this one flawed thought: You Lysa, are not acceptable the way you are.

The first time I recall ever thinking that I was not good enough was in the seventh grade. Up until then I had lived on an Air Force Base near Fairbanks Alaska.
The thing about military kids is this: most of them know what it's like to be the new kid. So, they tend to be more compassionate and accepting of new faces in school. New kids were always welcomed easily where I was from.

Well in the seventh grade I found myself at a new school in Texas. One that was far away from the base my dad worked at. That meant there were few to no military brats there. These were kids that had grown up together. Cliques were already long established. Unless you were beautiful, exceptionally athletic or obviously wealthy they really could have cared less.
I was none of those things.

One crisp spring day my bus driver decided to treat me to front door service. He usually let me off at the end of my street. "Today Tina you get front door service" he said with a smile. I was in a good mood. My mom had taken the day off. I knew she had undoubtedly finished all my chores for me. Yes, it was a good day! I remember noticing that the windows were all open as the bus pulled up in front of my house. I thanked the bus driver for the special treatment and bounced off the bus with a skip in my step.


A mean boy shouted that me as I skipped up to my front door. A boy I never even talked to. It is the only thing he ever said to me.

"sticks and stones can break your bones but words can never hurt you"

Oh yes they can.

Oh my gosh, did mom hear that?

I ran into the house and straight into the bathroom and stared at myself in the mirror. Until then I had not given my appearance a whole lot of thought.

All of a sudden I no longer saw myself as I used to. I didn't see that spunky little gal who laughed easily, who stood up for the underdogs of the world. Who put on skits to entertain her family.

I saw a painfully skinny girl with crooked teeth, poker straight hair and glasses.

and she obviously wasn't good enough.

The thought that I wasn't good enough was more than just a feeling. It had become the filter through which I processed life

That was me! I spent or rather wasted enormous amounts of time and emotional energy trying to be pretty, to be acceptable. Makeup, hair, clothes. Braces, new more fashionable glasses and a bit of weight helped some too.
I did make a few friends along the way who seemed to like me as I was. Eventually a bit of the old spunky little gal reappeared. She was back but she was wounded, changed.

In the first chapter of the book Lysa also talks about how she found religion but recounts how it failed her with the death of her beloved little sister.

Life's unfairness strained against my religious perceptions and the dam of my soul burst wide open.

 I went looking for religion one evening, it was "bring a friend night" at a girlfriend's church. I went expecting to learn about "church".  I met Jesus there. I was so excited at my new life in Christ. I remember sharing with my family to the point that my brother was more than annoyed. Sadly though, the people at the "bring a friend" church weren't so much on follow up. I also remember reading my bible, the only one I had was a King James version. The language was difficult to understand.

So in a way, like Lysa, religion failed me also. Hers with anger and a lack of understanding.
  My flawed ideas of God would only let me love him when He did good things. I couldn't compute how He could have let Haley die.
With me it was the organized church, not one youth worker called, visited or even sent a note to invite me back. I would have come, I was eager to learn but being fourteen not quite bold enough to do it on my own.

So I went back to my life looking for ways to fit in. Trying to be beautiful, acceptable. It would be many years until I finally listened to the still quiet voice of God in my life and turned to Him.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Glorifying God

What is my purpose in life?

From My Utmost for His Highest. "The entire human race was created to glorify God and to enjoy Him"

The scripture reference is from Isaiah 49:5
And now the Lord says - he who formed me in the womb to be his servant .... 

Not too long ago I found myself on my face before God. My life was in utter turmoil. My oldest child had become hopelessly entangled in drug addiction. In turn, my life was entangled right along with him.

It is one thing to seek to glorify God when all in your life is good and calm. It is entirely different when life turns on you. When a cherished child is overtaken by pure evil.

 I had been praying for Brett for five long years. My prayers never wavered. "Oh God please break the hold that drugs have on Brett's life" Lord please draw Brett close to you" and Lord please bring strong christian fellowship into his life, friends who will pray for him and encourage him"

After five years of praying for those three things I saw Brett's drug addiction turn from marijuana to heroin. I saw him  turn away from the word of God as I tried to share it with him. His only friends were drug dealers and fellow addicts. After a brief stay here I watched helplessly one cold cold winter day with no shoes or coat as he walked out of this loving home back to a life of drugs.

I was on my face. Literally, on my face on the floor of my bedroom. The house was silent, Paul was at work, the boys  at school. Life was continuing. I could not.

 Romans 8:26
"In the same way, the spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."

The Holy Spirit reminded me of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.

Mark 14:34 -36  My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, he said to them. Stay here and keep watch. 35 going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 Abba Father, he said "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.

It was then that I knew "Not my will but yours" .... But Lord! I don't want to lose him! Please Lord save him! "Not my will but yours"

Many things have happened since I prayed those prayers. There have been times of uncertainty, times of intense sorrow. Those prayers I prayed for Brett for five years have been answered. He is no longer doing drugs, a godly young pastor visits with him regularly, he is seeking God daily in prayer and bible study. I pray now for mercy in sentencing. I pray for safety in jail. I pray that God will give him a vision for his future, a future with Jesus.

How do I glorify God? I continue to pray .... I step aside ...... Whatever may come I praise His Holy name.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Where God has brought me

Before I begin I would like to share a bit of where I am today. This blog was originally going to be an outlet for creativity that I have pushed aside for many years. As it is, my plans were drastically altered by events I had no control over. I have used this forum to process my grief, sorrow, pain and also my joy, hope and most importantly my faith. Along the way I have met some pretty wonderful christians who have stopped in from time to time to offer love, prayers and encouragement.

The events I speak of are all connected to my oldest son's five year battle with drug addiction. It started with occasional marijuana use and eventually led him to a heroin habit that propelled him to commit several crimes that have resulted in his incarceration.

God has often used their blogs to speak to me. Sometimes it has been by seeing a passage of scripture through the lens of their life experience and in doing so gleaning wisdom I otherwise would not have seen. At other times it has been a much needed laugh but most often it has been to see pictures of His unending love, mercy and grace as they work out their salvation in Him.

God has brought me a long way since the first post. He has been with me every step of the way. Guiding me, prodding me, and sometimes when I was too weary to take another step He has carried me.

So for now I want to use this blog to share what he has shown me, what He continues to show me each time I stop and listen to Him. Today it is through my daily devotions. I use a wonderful devotional book entitled My Utmost for His Highest  I also use a book entitled Jesus Calling. I am so thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ who have answered the call of the Lord to share the wisdom and grace He has given to them. In sharing the love of God we fulfill His word.

John 13:34-35 
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Today as I read through the daily offering in My Utmost I highlighted two passages. The first "In other words, simply show the person what God has shown you". What has God shown me? Mercy, grace, and endless love. I recall a teaching that mercy, is not getting what you deserve and grace is getting that which you do not deserve. Yes! I am so thankful that I serve a God rich in mercy and grace for surely I do not want to get what I deserve!

the second passage is "being a disciple means deliberately identifying yourself with God's interest in other people".  Recently I learned that the word disciple means "student". So, to be a student of Jesus Christ I need to deliberately identify myself with God's interest in other people.

Basically when I interact with others what I need to do is to look at them through His eyes and show them what He has shown me. The scripture reference for today's devotional is Matthew 5:48 
.... be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect". Not always an easy task but always the right one.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Do it already

Have you ever had that feeling? You know the one. When you feel the urge to do something in the name of Jesus.

Maybe to let your pastor know you appreciate him and that you are praying for him and his family. Perhaps  dropping in on an elderly church member just to chat. You're not really sure if it is a prompting of the Holy Spirit or not. Regardless, it is a good deed. Something you would like if done to you.

Yet ..... time goes by and for whatever of a million reasons. Kids ball game after work, deadlines, laundry, bible study group preparation. You just don't do it.

What am I  afraid of? Why is it that I sometimes don't "just do it"? Is it busyness? Rejection?  Rather than just going to it, I worry too much about how my action will be perceived. How I will be perceived.

God has been dealing with me on this very subject for some time now. So I finally decided to "just do it" the next time that feeling came upon me. God, ever patient. Has given me several opportunities over the last few weeks.

I have to laugh at myself because even as I write this I think "this sounds somewhat self serving ... as if I am giving myself a pat on the back." I am not but yet the thought is there, that second thought trying to push me to abandon this post. Yet I know this is a valid subject to be tossed out for pondering.

and guess what? It is all good. It is not about me or how I will be perceived. It is all Him. To God be the glory!!


John 3:30
He must become greater, I must become less.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hidden memories

High up on a shelf

amongst the ordinary
high heels, sandals, winter boots
wool, silk, soft denim

are bits of life

soft green blanket, a ghost of its former self
worn thin by sweet baby hands grasping, holding, loving

Purple Barney,who brought unbridled joy one Christmas morning
never to be equalled in years to come

Kindergarden book bags ... one for each child
filled with mementos of school days gone by ....
construction paper creations, report cards, glowing notes from favored teachers

These bits of life

Keepsakes that at one time held places of prominence in our home, a bed, a shelf, the refrigerator door

now reside high up on a closet shelf, tucked away

but not forgotten

melancholy days come to call .....

I pull out the step ladder and one by one

I sift through these bits of life

reminiscing of days long past

afternoons tucking a soft green blanket around a sleeping beauty
whisking barney away for a quick cleaning while a little boy sleeps unaware
checking book bags for forgotten permission slips and teacher notes

Sometimes these tokens bring tears, a longing to return to simpler days

But mostly they bring warmth and a smile

a smile at a life lived full

Thursday, August 20, 2009

For such a time as this

 The internet is a wonderful tool for finding old friends. She looked me up on facebook. I'm always excited to see "friend request" on my page. How wonderful to reconnect with old friends. As I read her message and clicked on her name I had great fun looking at pictures of her three kids. Kids who were teenagers when I last saw them. All three are grown and married now. 

One a successful photographer with two kids of her own.  Another a worship minister who has recently become a father for the first time.  The youngest, who was my son's best friend in the first grade is enjoying his dream job of being a band director. He just married a few weeks ago.

She said she was happy to see that I am still hanging out with God (I have a bible verse on my page) and that I am still with the same guy. (many other friends have divorced over the years). She wrapped up her message with "Life is good", how are things with you? 

Talk about a loaded question!  Yes, still hanging out with God, as a matter of fact He is on my speed dial these days! Yes, still with the same fella. He has been a rock for me. Yes life is good .... but. 

 After a few days I managed to send a reply and summarize the events of the last few months. Events that include a prodigal son, heroin, the police, and incarceration. I can only imagine how it was received. I haven't heard back from her yet. She is probably still trying to come up with words to say. I realize there just aren't many.

While I was thrilled to hear they are all well and happy this event did push me right into the "why me" river of self pity. It's an unforgiving river. Much like whitewater rapids it can smash you into rocks or suck you under before you know it. If you spend too much time in it it will undoubtedly send you over the falls of hopelessness and despair. 

As I was thrashing about in the river I reached out for a branch to help myself out. I picked up a wonderful daily devotional book that my pastor gave me several months ago. Here is an excerpt from that day's reading.

  .... Do not compare yourself with others, who seem to skip along their life - paths with ease. Their journeys have been different from yours, and I have gifted them with abundant energy. I have gifted you with fragility, providing opportunities for your spirit to blossom in My Presence. Accept this gift as a sacred treasure .......

For such a time as this. Perfect words at just the right time. 

The God of the universe took a moment to reach out and pull me from the river. I gratefully accept the gift.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

House hunting

walls colored an ordinary beige

braided rugs

ruffled curtains 

heirlooms, pictures, things ....

memories not  mine

here in this foreign room

I quickly take it in

as I paint a picture of my family here

My treasures

my loves

socked feet sliding on hardwood floors

colors..... ruby red, rich chocolate brown, creamy white

lazy winter days curled up under soft blankets lost in a good book

the laughter of my children

bouncing off the walls and into my heart

memories to carry with me always


I can see it ......

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Take my hand

So, I've been away for awhile, literally (traveled to Minnesota to visit Paul's family) and also emotionally (just haven't had my spiritual self together enough to post coherently).

Just when you are so weary of walking  alone God sends the perfect friend to come alongside and take your hand.

I got a phone call yesterday from a dear, dear friend. She and I were inseparable when we were teenagers. I moved to Guam when I was 16. Having been plucked from a life of Texas high school football games, dance core, good friends, and all around American high school fun it was a most miserable move for me.

Then I met Sherry. A soul mate. We talked, we laughed, we shared our hopes and dreams. That was 28 years ago. We have kept in touch over the years through Christmas cards and an occasional phone call but as time passed the cards became fewer and the phone calls more infrequent.

Then, thanks to the wonders of the Internet and social networking, a peek into each others lives once more.  It was then that I realized how much I have missed my friend. E-mails here and there a wall post, comments, cyber hugs OOO. 

Then yesterday a phone call ....

Seems like we live parallel lives. Our situations could not be more different, yet the similarities are true. 
Only God can weave a story like this. 

How is it that she knows exactly how I feel? How is it that she knows just what to say? How is it that in spite of the years apart the conversation flows freely as if it has been a daily occurrence?

God's ways are not our ways.  ... in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose ..... Romans 8:28

He is always there, whether we acknowledge him or not ... working, weaving his love and grace into our lives in spite of the decisions we make. If only we would look for him more often than we do.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mommy Holiday

I was pregnant with my fourth child 

To this day the most vivid memory I have of that pregnancy was complete, unmitigated exhaustion

From the moment of conception I walked around in a state of constant fatigue.

Brett was 7, Lindly was 5 and Blake not quite 2.

Unfortunately,  7 and 5 year olds aren't very adept at getting themselves off to school and almost 2 year olds.... well lets just say they can certainly be demanding.

I did not have the energy to do all that the school day required. Lunches, checking back packs, supervision of teeth brushing, picking out school clothes, not to mention dressing the demanding two year old to walk the others to school.

Thus the "mommy holiday" was born.

In a moment of pure weakness.... I announced "no school today"

There was great joy and merriment!!

In the midst of the celebration I recall Brett stopping to ask "why"

I just think we need a holiday today. 

So, in the middle of the school year we had an easy day of lounging in our jammies, videos, a few video games, snacks and a general slowing down of our own particular rat race.

Despite my weariness I thoroughly enjoyed the kids that day, it was the only thing on the agenda.

From that day on I made sure we had a couple of "mommy holidays" each year. It wasn't something we did often so it was always an unexpected treat. 

Lindly is in college now, she is pre med and taking organic chemistry this summer. I've missed her terribly. We talk often though and just last night she was telling me how excited she is that she has discovered a study partner who is also a big "Harry Potter" fan.

 Harry Potter movies have always been prime "mommy holiday" material.

They have made plans to see the midnight showing. Lindly, the boys and I went to the midnight showing of the last movie. 

I haven't asked the boys if they want to go, they are 17 and 15 now 

I imagine that going to the midnight showing of Harry Potter with mom might not be high on the list of "must do's" for their summer.

I'll ask anyway.......

As I reflect on the mommy holidays gone by, I feel a bit melancholy. Harry, Ron and Hermione won't be the same without Lindly.

I hope that some day in the future, a youngster will have a "mommy holiday" and it will be a trip to grandma's house

and that grandma will be me

Snow Day

long johns
zip, button
t-shirt short sleeve
t-shirt long sleeve
tuck, tuck
wrap, wrap
tuck, tuck
(three pair)
knit hat
zip , snap,snap
snow boots...........

I have to go to the bathroom!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Watering the grass

People who have ADD should NOT be allowed to put out sprinklers

Or at a minimum........

Those people should NOT get on the computer once the sprinkler has been turned on

just saying.......

Sunday, June 21, 2009


It's like a bomb went off in my life and I'm still picking up the pieces 

Trying to figure out how they all go together

I have piles here and there

Not everything survived the blast

But that's ok 

Whatever isn't here obviously wasn't necessary

I imagine I will get it all together eventually

Until then I will 

continue to putter about this mess

sifting, sorting

keeping, tossing

all the while humming as I go

It is well, It is well,

with my soul

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Moving Hydrangeas and lessons from the Master gardener

When we moved to this house three summers ago I was thrilled at the landscape opportunities.
At first I was in love with the hydrangea bushes that graced the front of my new home. Then winter came, the bushes dropped their leaves and all of a sudden what was once a lush spectacle of burgeoning soft pink blossoms surrounded by broad green leaves was now seven colossal bundles of sticks! Not exactly the Better Homes and Gardens picture I had in mind. 

So, I set about the task of moving them to a more discreet location where a more natural landscape would be accepted. After all, shrubbery living out front have a job to do 12 months a year. Blooms look nice only for a few. For those plants who can't hack the tough business of showing at all times it's the back or side yard for them. In this case it was the side yard.

Anyone who has ever dug up a new garden bed knows it is HARD back breaking work! For readers who are not horticulturally inclined.... take my word for it. Even in regular soil it is tough digging, turning, and removing sod. My new garden happens to have three gargantuan neighbors. Those would be an oak, elm, and still not sure about the third. (I know, I know, I am aghast at myself as I write this)( I really need to identify it). Big trees have lots of roots, lots of roots that make digging anywhere in the vicinity of said trees difficult.

Well I toughed it out, manned up, dug in (ha ha pun intended), and flexed my gardening muscles and moved all my hydrangea plants. Turns out that I had more than I needed for the new side garden bed so I had to find other locations around the back of the house for them. That was last year. 

I was thrilled to discover that they all survived the move. I wasn't sure about their mortality until early spring when the new leaves and shoots began to show. The best time to move deciduous plants is once they have dropped their leaves. You plant them, water them and hope for the best because basically they look dead. They have all winter to get over the shock, build their root systems back into the ground to get ready for the hard work of throwing out their leaves in the spring and summer.

Since it was such hard work just digging the beds for them last fall I didn't really have the time, energy or quite frankly the inclination to make the beds look nice. I just needed a place for them to grow. I tossed some mulch on them and left them to themselves. Now that they all seem to be thriving, some have actually produced some blooms for me. This was quite the unexpected surprise since I had to do some serious pruning before I moved them and anyone who knows hydrangeas knows they bloom on "old wood". That means they set the blooms for the following year on old stems, so if you cut those out.... no flowers next season.

Where am I going with all of this? Well, today I started the task of making the beds pretty. Again, hard work. I ended up expanding the beds and in doing so once again wrestled with the tree roots, almost threw my back out, got a few bug bites... oh did I mention that gardens have gads of bugs? The result of all my work? A wondrous garden with room to grow more flowers, and oh so many lessons. 

I am the hydrangea bush. I was so happy where I was. I had everything I needed (or so I thought). I bloomed profusely. Ultimately it was not where my master wanted me to be so he moved me. It was hard to be moved. The move was not easy and at times I thought I would die. I even looked sickly, I lost ten pounds. At first I  wanted to die. The pruning was so painful. I hated my new location. I desperately missed where I used to be. 

In time, I made peace with the move and was thankful for my new place. I began to dig in my new roots. It was surprisingly easy to grow those roots now that the pruning had removed some things that were taking up valuable energy. 

It's still spring for me and I can see new growth. There is no old wood so I don't expect to throw out many blooms this summer. That is ok because my master is the gardener and He knows it will take time for me to bloom. There are bugs that try to attack me but once again my master is there to pluck them away before they can do any serious damage. So I don't worry too much about them.

When the flowers come and I am sure they will, I know that the display will be nothing less than spectacular for they will come from within the master's tender loving care. 

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rest and Hope

Last night as I was visiting  my son , God interrupted me.

I welcomed the interruption as it was an encouragement. I don't even recall exactly what we were discussing when I felt God's presence and the admonition to "enjoy this moment".

As I looked at Brett my heart overflowed with love. Love for him and love for my Heavenly Father. 

If you have read any of my posts here you would know that my relationship with my son is one that has been filled with pain and heartache. When I first began this blog I had no idea that it would become a vehicle to process my agony. As the header reads, I first had a desire to express the creative side of myself that had long been buried. 

This was written quite some time before I was to discover how truly lost Brett was. It was originally posted in October 2008 but I had been working on it for awhile before I finally posted it.

Brett and I both have a strong desire to share our story. He has an amazing testimony of forgiveness and grace that came to him in a jail cell. Hopefully soon he will be able to share that with those God would bring his way.

Part of that testimony is a dream he had where he and I were speaking to a large group of people, telling them our story. 

 Our desire is to offer hope to those like us. For I know all too well the despair that comes with the knowledge that your child is caught in the grip of drugs. I have read of families ripped apart, children abandoned to their own sin and addiction and sadly too many mothers left to bury a child. Those stories are far too common. 

I do not know what Brett's side of the story will entail. I have only seen glimpses of the destruction that drugs have wrought in his life. 

For now we are a work in progress. In the early days of his arrest and incarceration I was overcome with fear and uncertainty. Today I walk in faith and take each day as it comes. When the temptation to worry over the future comes I remember God's word "I take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ". Worry does no good and it robs me of joy. 

I believe that is why God called me to "enjoy this moment". Life has been hard, there has been heartache but it has been replaced with forgiveness, healing and ..............


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Chapters Eleven and Twelve Wrapping Up an untroubled heart

The authors words are in red

As I wrap up this book study, I think " is my heart untroubled?"

For the most part....Yes.

Not that I don't have times of doubt and fear, of course we all do. We live in a spiritual world.

Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places

Pretty heady stuff there! Whether we want to admit it or not there are evil forces at work in our lives. Fear is a powerful weapon that is often used by the enemy to debilitate us. Fear paralyzes us. It is impossible to step out for God when we are overshadowed and bogged down with fear. It becomes our focus and when that is the case, battling it is a full time job.

I know this from very recent personal experience. This book came to me when I was under tremendous spiritual attack. I had recently learned that my oldest child is a heroin addict. Very shortly after that revelation he came home seeking help with his addiction. For those out there who scoff at the above scripture and do not believe in spiritual warfare I would encourage them to spend some time around a drug addict and his/her family. 

This child, the oldest of four. Was at one time worshipped by his two younger brothers, he was the epitome of cool to them. He was universally loved by teachers "he is a joy", "I wish I had a classroom full of him" were comments I regularly received during his school years. Even at an early age he had an easy smile and never met a stranger. He was my joy.

I'll be honest, it had been awhile since I had seen those qualities in him. He is lost, I would say. We didn't see him much.  I had no idea of the true battle taking place in his life. 

I recall praying for God to reveal the truth to me. I had been in denial for some time. Several things had happened that pointed to the truth. I could no longer ignore what was happening. 

Be careful what you pray for. God did indeed reveal the truth. It was a truth I did not want to see. 

As the truth came into our household several ugly companions came along with it. Anger, bitterness, and fear.

It was almost tangible.... I could feel it, picturing it as a hulking demon. Lurking about in the room breathing over our every thought, every move. I remember wanting to scream as I looked from my son to my husband. There were no words to say as we each dealt with the thoughts that bombarded us. My husband in protection mode. He had just changed all the locks on the house days earlier when Brett's whereabouts were unknown. He was angry too, the things Brett had been driven to do to feed his addiction had wounded us all. 

My husband and I did the best we could for five days while Brett detoxed. We prayed, we kept a constant watch, taking shifts for sleep. I prayed like I have never prayed before. I shared bible verses with him, told him I loved him. All to no avail. He eventually walked out of our home back to a life with drugs.

I was left with a constant companion...... Fear!

Will I ever see him again? Will he overdose? Will he be shot and killed in a drug deal? Will he just disappear? He had spoke of going to New York city to live among the homeless.  Every heartbreaking story of the destruction of life by drugs I had ever heard came rushing back to me. Heroin is straight from the pits of hell and it had a death grip on my boy. Every vile, evil twisted act associated with drug life dominated my thoughts.


God rescued me. The book study preceding this one was Self Talk, Soul Talk. That book focused on our thought lives. 

Timely indeed

As I walked this road God used that book along with the encouragement and insights of the other women in the study to teach me how to navigate this new territory. This new battlefield.

The next book was this one "an untroubled heart" by Micca Campbell. Twelve chapters on learning to reach out and harness the power of God in our lives so that we need not wrestle with fear but live victoriously in the shadow of our Heavenly Father. 

The last two chapters "Practicing His Presence" and "Living with Courage" focus on learning to abide in God's presence. For when we do this fear cannot touch us. 1John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear....

What does it mean to abide? It means to remain or to stay. Paul tells us exactly where we are to stay: "For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God" Col. 3:3

Stay with God?  Why didn't I think of that before? One of those "easier said than done" things. Micca points us to Jesus example. Jesus's time with God wasn't something He tacked on to an overcrowded schedule. It was His highest priority, the time when He discovered god's priorities for His life.

I have been blessed with something precious, time! I don't work outside the home. My kids are old enough that I don't have to attend to physical needs like I used to. While my housework can pile up it is something that can wait. I know that God worked my circumstances for such a time as this, as He alone knows my needs. I have been able to spend time with Him every day without distraction. I have learned to abide, to live in His strength. Fear is no longer my constant companion as it was just a few months ago. 

In the last chapter Living with Courage, Micca references The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy's three friends were on a journey seeking love, wisdom, and courage. They didn't realize that they possessed these qualities all along. The wizard merely opened their eyes to what they each already had. 

"Like the characters in The Wizard of Oz as we travel along we will also encounter scary witches and flying monkeys in various forms that will take real knowledge, heart, and courage to face."

For me the witches and flying monkeys are embodied in a heroin addiction. I need courage to face the future of helping my son overcome the obstacles that his addiction has put in his way. Incarceration, felony record, debt. I need wisdom to make decisions about treatment, boundaries, and family counseling. Most of all I need love to combat the attacks from the enemy. Resentment, anger, bitterness at all that has been lost.

No yellow brick roads necessary. God is ever present, ever faithful to supply all our needs.

"I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears" 
Psalm 34:4

This is the first verse I ever committed to memory. It is my life verse. As I read this verse referenced in the last chapter I couldn't help but smile, Yes He is faithful. He delivered me from all my fears. He enables me day to day to walk in faith, to love my son and my family and most of all to serve Him fully with an untroubled heart.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chapter 10: The Love of a Father

the authors words in red

As this book is coming to an end I can't help but reflect on my state of mind when I first began. One thing for sure, it has been a timely one for me. 

I am so grateful for the wisdom between the pages, sprinkled with God's word throughout, this book has been a guide as my Heavenly Father has taught me some serious life lessons.

When we first began this study back in March I was battling fear each and every day, sometimes moment by moment. It had not even been a month since my heroin addicted son had been arrested for attempted robbery.  

Yet, the battle has subsided. 

Not much has changed in my circumstances. My son is still incarcerated. There are still many unknowns to his future.

Early on we discussed how God never intended for us to live in fear. As I continued to walk through the pages of this book and also peek into the lives of others walking with me. I began to grasp hold of the truth of God's word.

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline"

With this weapon in hand, along with much encouragement from brothers and sisters in Christ. I have been able to fight the good fight and emerge victorious from the raging battle I found myself in just a few short months ago.

In this chapter we focus on God the Father. How touching to read of the moment Mitch was able to accept unconditional love from Pat. 

"Later, as I reflected on the incident, I realized that Pat mirrored the character of our heavenly Father when he vowed to always love Mitch and never let him go."

Yes, our heavenly Father is the perfect example for us as we love our children. As Paul and I have raised our children we have tried to point them to God by taking them to church, teaching them day by day. Trying our best to be witnesses for Christ. 

In spite of all we have done, the eldest of the four walked away from the lessons of his youth. In doing so he walked right into the arms of evil. Drugs took over his life. He was twisted into something unrecognizable to those of us who have known and loved him. As I helplessly watched this transformation take place over the course of four and a half years, many times I would say things like "who are you?" or "this is NOT who you are" I remember distinctly one time after a four day drug binge he had come home to retrieve some clothing. I looked him right in the eye and said "I don't know who you are anymore".  He had no answers for me, he just shrugged and left. 

Micca writes "sometimes because of things that happened in our past, we think the Lord could never love us."

This is what happened to Brett. Not only did he think that God could never love him, he also thought that we could no longer love him.

Sometimes I wonder how I would have dealt with this trial outside of the love of God. As I have walked this road I have been exposed to many different opinions on how to handle addiction. "Tough Love" is a phrase that is thrown around a lot. Often I cringe when I hear certain versions of this "tough love". Basically it is not love at all, it is self preservation. It is abandonment. 

God's love transforms. 

"The goal of God's love is not to approve of our sin. It is to transform our lives through faith in His Son" While we must suffer the cost of our actions, God is not out to condemn us. He's out to set us free from the chains of sin that bind us. Therefore we have nothing to fear."

I am so very thankful that I have not had to endure this trial with my son outside of the love of God. He is my perfect example. He has loved me with an everlasting love.  As He loves me in perfect holiness, He enables me to love my son the same. 

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Six Things

My friend Stacy posted this game so play along if you feel like it.

Six things that are unimportant but make me happy

  1. finding a parking spot right near my regular entrance at the mall
  2. oreo cookies
  3. make - up
  4. magazines
  5. a new purse
  6. new shoes

Friday, May 22, 2009


Just a short post today

Life around here has been so tragic of late

I haven't posted much about my other children as the drama of the oldest has kind of encroached upon all territory

Today Blake really made me laugh out loud though

it was not his intention to make me laugh and I do believe my laughter annoyed him to no end

so, I just had to share....

Parents of teenagers will at least smile if not lol

here is our dialogue as he was preparing to go to school and then on to his regional track meet.

Blake "mom, do you have any cash?"

Me  "Umm, no I don't"

Blake  (in an exasperated tone)" Sigh, Why Not??"

Me  "Hmm, I dunno I just don't find myself in need of cash very often, I use my check card"

Blake "Geez mom, you REALLY need to carry cash"

Me "Why?"

Blake "Because I need cash all the time!!"

I don't know why but I thought this was hilarious......

Blake did not share my humor

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chapter 9: The Right Kind of Fear

As usual the authors words are in red

In this chapter Micca talks about good fear. Up until now we have been discussing unhealthy fears.

 "To have godly fear means to revere and hold God in awe, not offending Him with sin..... Reverential fear is a noble and healthy fear of God's greatness and holiness"

This kind of fear is good. It keeps us on the path God intends. When Micca writes "What would our world look like if spouses respected one another, children honored their parents, citizens obeyed the laws and authorities, and all people revered the Lord?" Our world would indeed look more like what God intended. 

I have seen glimpses of this in my life. As my husband and I seek God as we raise our family there are times where God's grace and love abound. Within our church family we see glimpses as well. Wherever there are believers who are living lives surrendered to God there will be the blessings that come with obedience. Security, unconditional love, peace and harmony.

Whether people believe in God or not He is real. He is the one who created the universe and set all the laws in motion. Physical laws and spiritual laws. Those who fear God and obey his laws are always blessed. Those who may not know Him and fear Him but obey His laws will be blessed as well, just not to the degree that a true relationship brings. Whether you believe in gravity or not you are subject to it.

Likewise whether you believe in God's principals or not you will "reap what you sow", you are subject to the spiritual laws of the universe just like the physical laws.

 If they have obeyed many of the spiritual laws God has set in place. Treat others the way you want to be treated, Be kind, compassionate, give to the poor and needy etc... A life lived following these laws will most undoubtedly be blessed. 

Perhaps this is why some nonbelievers can so easily dismiss the possibility of an omnipotent God. Often they just don't realize that He is the one responsible for their joy, they don't think they "need" God.

It always amazes me when I hear non believers say things like. "If he is such a good god why does he allow suffering?" or "I don't want to worship a god who lets murderers go to heaven". Usually these statements are made with an air of arrogance or at the least frivolity.

I sometimes want to grab them and give them a shake as I remind them just who they are so casually speaking about.

The one true God of the universe!!

The ONLY response to Him should be on our face reverence for He is Holy! He set the stars in the sky and hung the moon for goodness sake!! We should tremble at His name. 

But.... I have yet to shake one I'm sharing with. So far God has always given me the grace and patience needed. The Holy Spirit gives me the words to share and He continues to work in the hearts of man as He draws them to Himself.

For yes He is Holy but He is also full of mercy and grace.

2 Peter 3:9b 
"......  Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance"

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Storm

I had originally written this back in March, I don't know why I didn't post it. Perhaps it just got lost in the storm. I was going over old posts this evening and found it. I wanted to post it now because I remember where I was when I wrote it and while I may not be on a mountain top yet, the sun is shining. In any case here it is......

I find myself in a spiritual storm of sorts today

I saw it coming.... 

There were dark clouds, rumbling.... yes, the signs of an impending storm were definitely there

Yet I was as powerless to stop it as I would be to stop a real thunderstorm

At times the thunder is deafening
I see flashes of lightning everywhere
The rain is relentless, pounding down all around me
The wind is fierce I can hardly hear myself think as it howls all through the night

At first I was so frightened by this storm
The rain blinded me, the lightning terrified me, I could hardly walk....
paralyzed, as the wind gusted all around me eventually casting me down like a rag doll

It was there, on my face, completely bewildered and frightened that I heard a voice........

Come to Me my child

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

He reached down from Heaven and ever so gently picked me up and gathered me to Himself

Here in His arms the rain, thunder, and lightning cannot touch me. For I know that the rain falls, and the lightning flashes and the wind blows only at his will

I don't know when this storm will end but I do know that just like real storms are needed to cleanse and water the earth. There is a reason for this one in my life 

I know the sun will shine again

Until then I will lean into His arms and wait

Friday, May 15, 2009

Chapter 8 : Overcoming the Fear of the Unknown

The authors words are in red

In the first section of this chapter as Micca relates her son Mitch's narrow escape from harm in a car accident she speaks of the miracle that he wasn't hurt. God's hand was upon him. Unfortunately that same night a young man from their church killed himself and undoubtedly devastated his mother in doing so. Micca writes " I could have been her"

That short phrase sent me back a couple of months. A short time before I learned that my oldest son was a heroin addict I purchased a book written by Ruth Bell Graham called Prodigals and Those Who Love Them, Words of Encouragement For Those Who Wait. I purchased the book because my son had walked away from his faith and seemed to be floundering in life, I had seen him struggle with drugs but had no idea the extent of his addiction.

 The forward to the book is written by her daughter Gigi who herself is a mom of a prodigal that Ruth writes about. In the forward she tells a story of a woman who had come to hear Ruth speak and afterwards approached her to ask if she thought that she would see her son in heaven. "My son died of an overdose of drugs" she said. Ruth, full of God's grace responded by asking the question "if you heard a timid knock on your door one day, and you answered the knock only to find your child standing there, bruised, wounded, bleeding, dirty and tattered, what would you do? Slam the door in his face? Or would you throw open the door and welcome him into your arms?

Barely a week after I received the book I discovered that my son was a heroin addict and within two weeks of that day he was gone. I remember thinking "I don't want to be that mom"! I also remember hearing a voice in my head say "You ARE that mom".  While that thought did torment me for a time I knew immediately that it was NOT from God. Recognizing that was the first step in overcoming the debilitating effects of fear. Unfortunately, my battle had just begun.

Micca writes "usually our concerns never come to pass anyway". I wish I could say this was true for me. While the fear of losing Brett to an overdose has not come to pass one other fear did. Over the past five years there have been several times that he has left our home for weeks and months at a time. We had minimal to no contact with him during these periods. During those times I used to flinch when I would hear sirens. I watched the evening news with much trepidation. It was as if in the back of my mind somewhere I knew he would be on the news some day.

I recall watching the  latter part of a news story on a Thursday evening about a young man who attempted to hold up a pharmacy. I saw the man being led away in handcuffs. He had a hoodie pulled over his face and his name was not released. I remember clearly thinking that could be Brett. I shuddered at the thought but shrugged it off. The following day I was sitting at my computer around 6:00 pm when a dear friend called.

 "Hey Tina, how are you doing?"
 "I'm fine Pam, how are you?" 
"Oh sweetie, you don't know....... 
My heart began to pound.
 "No,.... what?"
 I don't want to be the one to tell you. 
"Tell me what?"
"The news" she said." There was a drug store....". 
Immediately, the story from the night before came to mind. 
"Oh my God, that was Brett wasn't it"
 "Yes dear, they showed his picture". 
I have to go....

One of my worst fears had come true. 

I praise God for her. I praise Him that he spared me the shock of witnessing the story first hand. There is no other way I would have rather heard the news. She is a loving christian woman full of mercy and grace. My husband was out of town on a business trip not due back until the following day.

Words cannot describe the depth of despair I found myself immersed in. The next few weeks were difficult to say the least. As difficult as they were I can say that alongside of the worst emotional pain I've ever experienced came the feeling of the presence of God in a more powerful way than I have ever experienced.

 Micca quotes Isaiah 43:2-3. Oh how I love this passage! It has been put to music and when I see it posted in our bulletin I know to pull out my tissue for it always evokes such strong feelings of love and adoration I can but scarcely contain myself when I sing it!

 I remember distinctly God bringing me to Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. As I read those words I thought "isn't THAT the truth"!! My days of late have had all kinds of trouble. That being said,  all of my worries had not changed the future I had dreaded. They did rob me of peace many times though. I am determined to not let that happen again. 

If you've read my recent posts you know that God has shown himself in a mighty way. I am not walking in fear anymore. I am walking with God, one day at a time. Choosing to look to the wonderful answers to prayer I have witnessed. Continuing to seek Him for wisdom every day as I read His word. 

Micca writes " Something amazing happens when we faithfully cry out to the Lord, believing in His perfect care. Our faith suddenly becomes stronger than our fear". Yes it does, even when in our grief we cannot see it, we continue to get up each day and seek him until one day we get up and realize the pain has subsided, and what is left is a wonderful peace and joy that comes with knowing the Father.

As for the future. Yes there are many unknowns, some of which may not be easy. One thing I know for sure is that regardless of what the future will bring I am more convinced than ever that there is nothing that will come that can take away the love I have in Christ. I am stronger now than I was four months ago. I have seen the power of God in my life and in the life of my son. I look to the future now with great anticipation rather than fear.  For I know that 
"Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world".

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chapter 7: What's the Worst That Could Happen?

The authors words are in red

In the section entitled Nothing New Under the Sun I was gripped by this line " Despite the presence of evil, people are living everyday life as usual". The reason being this, recently my family has endured several tragic events. In the days following I found myself at times overwhelmed with despair. It was difficult to do much of anything.  I would sit on the sofa wrapped in a blanket unmotivated to do much more than mindlessly channel surf. Incredulous at the reality of how time marches on. People continue with their lives. My world had come crashing down. I just wanted to scream at times. I wanted the whole world to stop. To stop so I could make sense of it all, so I could fix things. Problem is, evil does exist in the world. Sometimes we live for so long without it really touching us that we forget it's there.

 That was me. I recall years ago when a pastor preached about tragedy. He said "Either you are enduring one now, have in the past or will in the future". I have to admit that I really didn't want to hear that.  It bothered me. Micca echos his assertion " Each person in some way has tasted the bitterness of sorrow and tragedy". Although, she points out the truth that "God didn't design disease, exploitation, uncertainty, combat, gloom, misery, or death. These are all results of living in a fallen, broken, sin-sick world".

In spite of the uncertain world we live in it is true that "calamity, sickness, world hunger, debt and death are not the worst things that can happen to a person." Just like Parker, I agree that nothing is worse than not knowing the love of God through Christ. For surely without His love in the world we would live in the midst of pure evil and chaos. 

How else can Corrie ten Boom's strength and faith be explained? If you have never read "the Hiding Place" I highly recommend it. It tells the story of Corrie's life which tragically includes time in a Nazi concentration camp. When I first read the story I was amazed, I remember shuddering to think of her reality. Back then I thought "I could never have endured what she did". True, but I have learned that Corrie did not endure alone. It was through Christ that she was able. 

My heart lifted as I read the scripture reference Micca used Romans 8:35,39 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword?...nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord"

The reason my heart jumped is that it was that same scripture that God used to show my heroin addicted son that even the evil of heroin cannot, and will not separate him from His love. Brett read that verse in a jail cell. Desperate, broken, seeking God for the first time in years with a truly contrite heart. 

Several weeks earlier Brett had come home seeking our help with his heroin addiction. I recall sharing that verse with Brett after he had said to me "mom, you just don't know the things I have done".  It was as if there was a heavy veil over his heart and he just couldn't see the truth. I believe now that Brett wasn't ready to let go of drugs,  he was ready to let go of the heroin but not the other drugs he had for so long come to depend on. He wasn't looking for God. I was devastated. I continued to pray as I had done for five years. The following day Brett walked out of our home back to a life with drugs.  The days that followed were filled with pain, sorrow, and uncertainty. Yet, I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4.

Two weeks went by before I found myself on the other side of a glass window in the city jail speaking to my precious Brett through a phone. Unable to hug him, I poured every bit of love I had out to him as I again pointed him to God's word. I encouraged him to go to the cross. I told him to look in the Psalms. I shared with him Romans 8:28 and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose. I continued to pray.

God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Our circumstances change as our lives go on but He is the same. Loving, just, merciful, full of grace. Whether we are on a mountain top praising Him for blessings or in a dark pit crying out for His presence He will always answer us. I have learned that while tragedy is an inevitable part of life there is nothing that will happen that I cannot endure with the help of God and by His strength.

The day was February 9th that Brett was granted a peace that passes all understanding. A peace that led him to tell me "I am happier than I have been in a long, long time" in spite of his circumstances. He shared with me how he read Romans 8:35-39 and realized that God had been with him all along, waiting for him to repent and turn to Him.
 He also told me that he had received great comfort from Psalm 51. I wasn't familiar with that Psalm so when I got home from visiting him that night I looked it up. I wept as I read it because it was clear why God had led him there.

While I don't know the future holds I am less fearful these days. I have been in a pit, I cried out to God and he lifted me. He has strengthened me, I am walking in faith not fear.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

an untroubled heart: Chapter Five: Family Matters

The authors words are in red

I apologize that this chapter is so late, it was a hard one for me.

I'll be honest when I first began chapter five it was difficult for me. In the first few sections as Micca speaks about building a strong family I couldn't help but once again visit the "what did I do wrong" pit. A pit that I have had to scrape, scratch, and fight my way out of.

How did my child, the child I prayed over, led to Christ, took to church, loved unconditionally....
This child, how Lord? How did he wander so far away? How did the ugly claws of the enemy get so deeply embedded into this boy?

My daughter came home from college last night. It is always such a fun time when she gets here. There is always so much to share. I revel in listening to her and the younger two boys swap stories of their friends and adventures in each of their respective lives. The love and affection they have for one another is genuine. (That is something I have prayed for, thank you Lord.)

 Somehow the conversation turned to years past when they were small. They spoke of favorite video's, Veggie Tales, the Mcgee and Me series. I laughed as they began singing familiar bible verses learned from a tape that put verses to music for children. Blake was racking his brain to remember the title of a video about some kids that were being chased by a bigfoot. I vaguely remember a christian series about a group of kids who were amateur detectives and I believe the bigfoot was someone in costume. Sadly my memory has failed me much to Blake's chagrin as he couldn't remember it either. I recalled a video we have of our oldest child singing bible songs as a three year old. Deep and Wide, Jesus Loves Me, This Little Light of Mine.......

That child is not here to share.

I loved reading of Micca and Pat putting God's word in the foundation of their house. We know there is such power in God's word what a wonderful way to begin a life in a new home. 

Micca writes " A mom's most precious treasure is her family.....I can't think of anything in this world that I love more or would fight for more than my family.... Yet, we're not alone.
Many influences in this world are also fighting for control of our families."

Yes there are. Unfortunately in my family a terrible influence came while I was unaware and snatched up my oldest child. As I read this chapter I was tempted to get into defensive posture. After all, I did everything right. I prayed, I taught, I took them to sunday school, we prayed as a family, had weekly devotions as a family, learning biblical principals. I have Christmas scrapbooks filled with pictures of the children gathered around the creche during advent as we tried to point them to the true meaning of the season. Each Easter was a joyous time. Easter baskets lovingly filled with wholesome praise music, bible stories and games. Easter services at church followed by fellowship with good christian friends.

Yet, as I look back I can see that I did indeed let my guard down as he grew up, in fear of being too strict, too overbearing I believe I gave too much freedom. It was harder as they grew. The age difference from the oldest to the youngest proved a difficult barrier to group learning. Activities crowded our schedules. There were signs I didn't want to see, nor did my husband. We thought he would grow out of it. Surely it is just a phase. 

Many of my close friends have encouraged me to not blame myself, "you are a good parent", "it was his choice" etc...
"Parents are not called to control their children. Controlling is a faulty method of parenting brought on by fear. You and I are to guard and guide our children by leaning on God as He, in turn guards and guides us in all wisdom."
Yes! It is when we step out of His daily presence that we can so easily fall into our own thinking, or victim of fear based parenting that usually does nothing more than drive them away.

God has been so good to me. Full of mercy and grace. He alone knows the depth of my heart. My desires, my failings. There is no fault, no blame. Only grace, forgiveness. My daily prayers now always include this "Oh Lord, please do not let this suffering be for naught, for Brett or for us".

While I can see the past mistakes more clearly, God has also been faithful to remind me of the foundation that was laid. The foundation that still stands. 
The truth is that Brett as a young man,walked away from the loving God he knew from an early age. But, just like the parable of the lost sheep Jesus went after him and has brought him home. 

I am sad that he is not with me here in my home but I rejoice that he is no longer lost! I know he is resting in the arms of his savior.