I remember clearly the day a dear woman from church came to bring us a meal shortly after our son was born. As we stood in the small kitchen of our first home, chatting about becoming parents, something she said struck me. Our lives as we knew them had changed. We were parents now. There would be homework to do, sports and jobs to drive him to. We would have to teach him to walk. Teach him his alphabet. Teach him to be kind and loving. Teach him the rich truths of God’s Word.
As I stood there talking with this woman, the magnitude of what it meant that we were now parents hit me like a tidal wave, crashing into me and leaving me reeling. How could we do this? Why would God entrust one of His precious children into our care?!
On that day 12 years ago, dropping our 12 year old child off at a hospital to treat him for a mental disorder was certainly not on our radar as a situation we would encounter as parents.
But it has become our reality now. Just over a week ago, we received a call from the inpatient treatment facility that our son was on the waiting list for. They said they had a bed available and his name was next on the list.
We had been talking about this for months. Sometimes we thought he might not have to go. Other times we thought he would have to. But in those weeks before we got the call, we finally knew we would have to go this route.
We were crushed, but knew it was the right thing to do. So we scrambled to get everything ready in 6 days, and off we went.
The whole way there, he was doing his compulsions. That cemented in our minds that we were doing the right thing. Our son could not live his life like this. He had become a slave to this illness. Our entire home has suffered enough. I shouldn’t have to walk around on eggshells wondering if my son would find out that I touched my daughter before I touched him. What parent should have to think of that?
Standing in my kitchen so many years ago talking with that dear Titus 2 woman, my sinful nature came through. I think I hid it well on the outside. But on the inside my thoughts were going crazy. “No,” I thought, “I can’t possibly do this! I just can’t!” My selfishness took over that day, I’m very ashamed to admit. I wasn’t quite sure that I was prepared to forsake everything for the sake of my dear child.
But God has shown me time and time again that I CAN do this whole parenting thing, but ONLY with His strength and grace leading me. Without that, I personally would be lost.
So with God’s strength, we walked out of the facility the other day, and we walked away from our son knowing that it was the right thing to do. We sat in our vehicle and we sobbed. Finally we had to leave and I had to restrain myself from taking off my seatbelt, opening the door and running as fast as I could back to my son! With God’s strength we drove away from him. That was the hardest thing we’ve had to do yet as parents. In some ways it felt like we were abandoning him.
We call him every night. Last night he told us he has been crying often. Our hearts broke. But with God’s grace we continued our conversation and didn’t say what we really wanted to say, “We are on our way to get you NOW!” Oh how badly we wanted to say that! Our arms ache to hold him and comfort him.
But then I remember…we wouldn’t be able to hold him. He rarely lets us touch him anymore, just in case we are contaminated. And then I remember too that this is for his good. And that’s what we as parents all strive for, doing whatever is best for His children!!
Unfortunately, doing whatever is best for our children doesn’t always mean doing whatever causes the least pain.