Our Hearts are Healing (he's home)

Although I mentioned it briefly on social media this summer, I haven’t talked much about the fact that our oldest is home. Why, when I cried out to you about him leaving, would I not shout from the mountaintop that we’re together once again?

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Well..quite honestly, I AM shouting from the mountaintops! I’m just doing it at home instead of online. The internet is an interesting place and being authentic and open via blog and social media is important to me because I know I’m not the only one going through hard-stuff. I never want anyone to think my life is easy or perfect or unattainable.

Because they truth of the matter is…

We have been through some hard, HARD stuff over this past decade.

I know it’s easy to use social media to highlight the good and gloss-over the bad. Or the flip-side and highlight the bad because of drama’s sake (I’m lookin’ at you, reality tv). Other times, we target the hard stuff for a good reason like wanting prayer.

What I’m wrestling with though is the difficulty of doing any type of deep sharing when I’m not the only person in the story. I struggle knowing how much to tell people when the story is not entirely my own. I want to tell details because that’s the kind of person I am, one who wants to portray honesty and reality.

But the plain truth is…the details do not belong to me.

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What I can tell you is that we follow a BIG, MIGHTY, and GOOD God.

We have a Father in Heaven who truly is involved in our lives and cares deeply about all aspects as we go through them. This REALLY, REALLY hard time when our oldest left became a sweet part of our story because it strengthened his faith and the knowledge of what family really means.

So those of you with children (parent, spouse, etc) who have left, know I grieve with you.

Keep falling to your knees. Don’t give up praying that the Lord only allow them to go so far. Be as available and loving as you can if they do intermittently call, text, or message. I know not all stories end up in a good place like ours currently is, but when I initially posted this post, I cannot begin to tell you how many messages I received about children/brothers/sisters/even parents being gone for 15-20 years and now having relationship again.

After decades, they came home.

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I’ll be praying it’s not that long for your loved one. But as for us, we will continue serving the Lord…no matter how many hearts reside within the walls of our home.

Would love to share more. Perhaps one day he’ll give me permission.

Clinging to Joy,

Teresa


Want to hear more about our story and how God flipped it all upside down (in the best way possible)? Click the link for Beautifully Interrupted and see how an interrupted life can be more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

My heart is broken into pieces (+ prayer printable)

If you follow me on social media, you'll have picked up that our family has been going through a really difficult time. I haven't really alluded to the what and the how...quite honestly because I could hardly say it aloud yet.

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Have you been in that place before? So hurt that you can hardly ask for prayer because you're so emotionally drained and don't have the energy to talk about it?

Growing up, our family had a code word we'd say if we needed help. I could call my folks while at a party, slumber party, etc, use the word in conversation...and my parents would immediately pick me up, no questions asked.

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We do the same thing now for our kids, but we've even gone one step further: they know if they just need a hug or a cuddle and some mom or daddy time, they have a word they can use and we'll know they need a little extra love. They may not be capable of voicing it aloud yet, or depending on their age, they may not even be able to put a finger on WHY they feel that way...they just know they need added affection.

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We've all needed a little extra love over here lately because our oldest son Abreham decided he didn't want to be part of our family anymore. If we were sitting over a cup of coffee or glass of wine, I'd share details with you...but both because it's a long story, several years in the making...and because I'm still trying to figure out how much and what to share with the world, I won't pour everything out right now.

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What I will tell you is he's an 18-year-old Junior in high school who has lived through a lot of trauma in his life. He's angry, he's broken, and he thinks he's better off alone because he can hide in his pain and not feel. Because feeling, to him, is weak. And it's painful.

We know he's safe, but I will leave details at that.

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I am devastated.

Absolutely devastated.

I ache every moment of the day with the loss and rejection and sadness. I'm angry, worried, and full of sorrow, all at the same time. As I go through the cycle of grief, over and over (and over), I give it back to my Father in Heaven to is with my son and I'm reminded he's not actually alone.

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The thought of it is incredibly painful, but I'm ready for God to allow Abreham to be broken...but not destroyed.

And that's what I'm desperately praying for: that God only allows him to go so far. Just like the waves are only allowed to come so far onto shore, I pray that the Lord only allows Abreham to drift from Him so far. It's so hard knowing our kids need to learn from failure sometimes. They need to try things and realize growth is hard and it's even harder when bad decisions are being made.

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Ben and I always say we want to prepare our kids for the road, not the road for our kids...and this is yet another example of how we cannot soften things for our children at every moment. This is obviously a much larger situation than simply allowing them to see what happens if they decide to wear flipflops to school when it's 35 degrees. This is huge.

This could potentially change the trajectory of his entire future.

And that may be even harder than him deciding he doesn't want to be part of our lives anymore.

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And the incredible hurt and pain he's cutting into his brothers and and sisters hearts, is one of the hardest parts on my mama-heart. But hearing the prayers of these little ones for their big brother, is awe inspiring. They pray for his "hurt heart", they pray for protection, and they pray that He comes home.

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While praying a few days ago, the Lord whispered in my ear "I will bring him back to you." I knew better than to ask when...it may be 10 days, it may be 10 months, it may be 10 years...I just don't know.

But HE knows.

And I will rest in that because He is God and I am not.

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Abreham, I love you.  You are not alone and can never stray too far that God won't pour His love out onto you. There's nothing you can do that He won't forgive if you ask with a sorrow-filled heart.

The Lord is walking beside you, Abreham, even when you don't want us to be. I will pray for you always. I will love you always.

- Mom

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Prayer these days has been a constant companion, though sometimes there are times it is hard to do so. I created this printable to remind myself of who He is and what He can do. Our God is a BIG God, and one of deep love for us.

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When I have a hard time praying, I'm simply going to read this. If you need it, I pray you print it out, too. Head to The Library to download. As always, the password is at the top of all my emails, so if you haven't subscribed yet, feel free and do that today.

Love you friends, thanks for walking life with me.

Take Joy,

Teresa

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turning our kids into World-Changers.

Investing in our children to help them understand there's life outside their little bubble, is beyond important in our family.

Where’s my Thesaurus? I need a word bigger and dreamier than important...

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Crucial?

Imperative?

Paramount?

Whatever it is, that’s how I feel.

Imani and Elsabet

I think sometimes people assume that since we’ve opened our arms to four incredible loves from Ethiopia, that we’ve got selflessness all figured out.

And sometimes I think “Ok, check. Living out the verse about caring for widows and orphans. Done.” But no…it’s not “Done.” Are you kidding me, Self?

That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

Stop. Try again. Keep going.

How do we teach this to our kids?

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Ben and I have been talking for years about teaching our kids to live outside themselves.

Kids are self-centered. Adults are self-centered.

You know it’s true…for the most part, we are. We all are, if we’re good and honest about it.

But if we teach the kids. If we open their eyes and their hearts when they’re young…think of the world we’d live in when it’s them with the jobs and the cars.

Them with the passion to change injustices and love on those who are in need of a little extra.

What kind of world would we live in if our children changed the world?

Little Helpers

When we returned home from Ethiopia after bringing Anton (then six years old) with us, his life was changed. He sold piles of his toys in hopes to build a well, after watching a group of women and small children on a Water-Walk.

He said he wanted to start an organization called, Anton’s Hope and he wanted other kids to come along side him to also raise money for wells or for animals to be given to families. Ezekiel’s mom sold their goat’s milk as added income. It was huge for his family when he was young, living in his little village on the boarder of Ethiopia and Sudan.

So we listened to Anton’s vision, his desires and dreams. And now it’s been two years and somehow though we’re still gripping the concept…it’s so big, we’re overwhelmed. Quite honestly, we’re stalled. Ben and I don’t know how to step forward in it. We need to find someone to help.

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So in the meantime, as Anton’s Hope is built, how do we include our children and work as a family in volunteering and giving time and hearts…for others?

How do we teach them in a way that it changes their world-view and isn’t simply something we go through the motions in doing, because “Mom and Dad said to?”

No, really…I’m asking.

I want your help.

My desire is something more than working at the Soup Kitchen once a month. I don’t think at this point, there would be an immense impact on them.

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And I get that this is not about US…it’s about helping OTHERS.

I do. I get that.

I read Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love. I underlined practically the entire chapter on how we as (Christian) Americans look at short term missions trips more as a pat on the back, than anything else. Those are my words, not hers. She’s much more eloquent than I. And I agree with her.

I don't think we do it on purpose. But we do it all the same. There are trips I’ve read church bulletins or heard friends talk about that truly didn’t make sense to me. What the purpose of them going, truly was.

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Short term missions, shouldn’t be a mini-vacation for us. It should be us jumping in with both feet, heart worn to pieces, down and dirty, ready to do the hard thing. Or whatever it is that NEEDS to be done.

Their needs, not our wants.

But at the same time, it IS about us because it’s about teaching our children that they CAN make a difference. That they MUST make a difference. And that their difference truly can change lives, in the name of Jesus.

How do we teach them to stop gripping the ledge out of fear or dare I say, indifference?

What can THEY do? We’ve been looking around a bit and hit wall after wall.

Our kids are too young to serve in the nursery at church, though they desperately want to. Our kids love kids. They’re too young to visit sick kids in the hospital, though they want badly to hug on those kids, too.

World Adoption Day

When Anton spent a week in the hospital, his fondest memory is the ability to push a button and a nurse came with a new box of Legos. When he got out, he decided he wanted to collect legos for other kids to have the same experience. "So they always have enough," he said. But apparently they have an organization that provides them.

So still we search for the thing. The right thing for our family.

We of course collect clothes and toys and formula for our friends to take to Ethiopia whenever another group goes over to visit the orphanages. We've collected shoes and soccer stuff for friends in Mexico. We fill shoeboxes at Christmas to be sent overseas.

We do things. But it's not a consistent thing.

Because more than an activity, we want to provide the opportunity to pop the bubble our kids live in. We want to provide an opportunity for a heart-change.

Anton and Elsabet What are you doing with your kids??

How are you instilling this in your family??

Please. I'd really love to know!

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