When I brought my beautiful daughters home from the hospital I was so full of love, hope and joy. I looked at that little child in my arms and dreamed of what their future would be. My children are God's children first and He has entrusted them to me as their steward while they are here on this earth. I read His manual for how to parent, I prayed for them, and loved on them. I am so blessed that both of my girls have accepted the Lord. Missy, being my quiet one, came to know Jesus in her own private way. I had the privilege of praying with Stephany when she accepted the Lord at 5 years of age. When Stephany was 9 she made the decision to be baptized. This is the little girl that would come home from school so excited that she had prayed with someone on the playground at school and witnessed to them of the Lord.
I always thought that because my girls know Jesus personally they would somehow be "protected" from the things of the world. I know that is absolutely not true and I have been humbled because some of those terrible things of the world have entered my home. This is horribly hard for me to write, and embarrassing, but I feel that I have to. My blog is a place of release for me and, I hope, a blessing for others. These are things that I need to write about so that maybe the pain will somehow leave my body and soul for a bit.
Stephany has been struggling with anxiety and depression since she was in the 7th grade. Some of that is the fault of both of her parents who have had a bad marriage. Some of it is the fault of a dad who loves his daughter but is not an involved parent. But her problems are not all the fault of me or her dad. Some are problems of her own choosing. I have a former friend who would tell me on a daily basis that I just needed to be harder on Stephany. That I needed to be a firmer disciplinarian. You don't know how hard I have tried - and on my own because her dad refuses to be involved in that area. I have grounded her, taken away the cell phone, restricted computer use, and any other thing that I could think of to remove as a form of punishment. I know that this former friend probably still reads my blog. I'm sure that she will delight in some small way that what she has "predicted" for my daughter has finally come true. She has a son who has always attended Christian school, is on fire for the Lord, and never gives her many problems. This is the reason that we are no longer friends - I just could not take listening to another minute of having my daughter and her son compared and me being told I'm not hard enough on my daughter. But I also remember that my pastor and his wife went through the very same thing with their daughter that I am going through, maybe some worse things, and I know that they were good parents.
But when you're walking through this hard time with your child you begin to doubt yourself. I have come to realize that I am a good parent. I have been praying and fighting for my daughter every day since she's been born. Now I just need to say the words although it's hurts me so much. Stephany has become involved with drugs. It started with marijuana and has now progressed to experimentation with cocaine and ecstasy. There have been other issues that go along with this - stealing money from her dad to buy drugs, sneaking out of the house at all hours, taking all of her Christmas and birthday money to buy drugs, lying, and on and on.
What could I have done to prevent this? Probably not much. I have done everything that I know how to do as a parent. Stephany has been in church since she was 5 days old and has been raised in a Christian home. She has never seen these things in our home and has always been told how bad they are. Her father is a recovering alcoholic - sober for 21 years - so we don't even have alcohol in our home. But the bent towards addiction is hereditary - that is a medical fact - and Stephany inherited that bent. It also runs on my side of the family. That, coupled with her anxiety and low self-esteem, have pushed her to try things to make her "feel" better.
My daughter is a beautiful girl inside and out. She is a child of God and He loves her more than I do. She is smart, funny, kind, and compassionate. Right now she is walking in a dark valley. But the bright side - Praise God - is that Stephany is willing to go to rehab and counseling. She wants to be better and wants to turn her life around. She knows that Jesus is the only answer. She tells me that she wants to be better but doesn't know how. That is why we are getting professional help for her. Next Thursday Stephany will be going into drug rehab. Right now we don't know if it will be outpatient or inpatient. She is willing to do either to get better. Stephany and I were moving to IL in June. For now, those plans have had to be put on hold. We are staying here so that she can get the help that she needs. When the professionals say that it is ok to go, then we will move. I know there might be set backs for Stephany. I know parents who go through this with their kids their whole lives. I am praying that is not that case.
We have a long road ahead of us - especially Stephany. My comfort is that I know that Jesus is walking with us and holding our hands. If I wasn't sure of that I don't know if I could walk much further. Please keep Stephany in your prayers. I need them too. We will be able to feel them and will draw strength from them. I know that God has great things in store for Stephany. God will use this time in our lives as a testimony to His glory. God is good and He is so faithful. I was listening to a song on the radio yesterday - "I Will Praise You in this Storm". I am praising God in this storm. I know that the sun will be peaking through the clouds again. I am hanging onto that hope.