Monday, February 28, 2011

A prayer book

As our Prayer List page grows, I'd begun to think about how I could better keep up with specific prayers in a more personal way. Plus, I wanted to be able to pray without sitting in front of my computer. The answer: a prayer book.

As a writer, I'm sometimes given empty journals. Through the years, I've picked up a few myself. So I had plenty from which to choose! So I pulled down my stack of books from a closet shelf and looked through them. I liked this pink book the best. This morning, I finally sat down with our Prayer List and opened the book.

So far, we have 12 hurting people (and their family members) on our Prayer List page. Now each of you have your own page in this book. In honor of my original three mothers, I wrote each of your names on the first three pages. One of those moms is #1 on our Prayer List page. Whenever someone writes and asks for prayer, I will now include that person on the Prayer List and in this prayer book. I'm writing the person's name (or "Anonymous"), city (when given) and date of the prayer request. Plus, I'm printing out the specific prayer request and taping it on the page. I will also note the names of family members so I can lift them up as well. And any time, someone sends me an update, I'll note that in the book, too.

Thank you from our hearts for sharing your heartaches and burdens with us. We WILL pray for you and your loved ones!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Composed....frustrated....

Lately, I've been thinking, wanting, to ask Patrick a question or two. He doesn't have time to write here because he's so busy with his job, his sweetheart Danielle and just LIFE. But part of my goal in starting this blog "with" him was so he could give perspective from the "other side"–the estranged children. That was one of the things that was so hard being separated from him–I couldn't even ask him what he was feeling. And I wanted to know because I truly cared! So in wanting to help other mothers understand how their estranged children may be feeling, I've wanted to ask him to go back in his memory and explore his own feelings from that painful time.

First, I'd ask some simple questions...

What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently?

The thing is, I already know...I think...some of his answers. 

Yesterday, as I watched Dr. Phil and two mothers on his segment, "Is This a Cult," I remembered some of my own feelings from back then. Mainly, FRUSTRATION. I could sense that very much within Leisa, whose daughter, Ashley, has chosen to live with a reclusive man known as Golden Elk (Clemente Suriano). Subsequently, Ashley has cut off all ties with her family. So has Elon, who last saw his mother, Iris, in 2007.

During the program, each mother had the opportunity to see or at least speak with their child. Leisa and her 27-year-old daughter, Chelsea (twin sister to Ashley), managed to see Ashley, thanks to a surprise meeting set up by Dr. Phil's staff. Both Leisa and Chelsea were calm, controlled and reassuring. Neither tried to persuade or beg Ashley to leave Suriano. Before parting, they told Ashley that they loved her. Inside, though, I just KNEW Leisa longed to grab her daughter and HUG HUG HUG her! But she kept her composure throughout the encounter. So did Chelsea.

Not Iris. While attempting to contact Suriano at his home, Iris yelled and kicked at the door when the woman inside politely told them to leave. Later, she also grew impatient on the phone with Elon and even hung up on him.

I completely understand both reactions. I felt both ways. I remember being cool, calm, so in control of myself when Patrick came by to pick up his sister. I'd go outside to try and talk to him. He'd ignore me. I'd smile, go back inside the house, then bawl. Other times, I tried to force a conversation with him, like the afternoon I sat in his pickup and wouldn't get out. Then there was the time that I drove to Patrick's home and told his father that Patrick NEEDED to see his mother and that he should back me up. No go. A demanding attitude, I quickly learned, rarely gets you anywhere.

Finally, after more than two years, I accepted that I just had to let go and let time heal our hearts. And it did. But until that happens, I well understand the pain and frustration a mother feels when she's separated from her child. Because there's just something in a mother's heart that yearns to know that child, to be a part of his/her life, to protect, nurture and guide. Even a teenager (and beyond)! 

So, please, forgive us when we kick a door, yell on the phone or make demands. Sometimes we frustrated mothers just have to let our dammed up feelings OUT and do something! But believe me when I say THAT'S LOVE MISBEHAVING. If our hearts were empty, we simply wouldn't care. We wouldn't have the need to be composed or frustrated.

I still want to hear Patrick's thoughts... When I get up the nerve, I'm going to ask him....

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hurt-filled days

I just received an e-mail from Geri V., a hurting woman who recently lost her infant granddaughter, Rebecca Jane, to SIDS. Her words brought tears to my eyes and heart. "I feel broken," she wrote. "But worst of all, I feel alone and forgotten by God." 

If only I could hug her! If only I could say the right words and help her feel better! If only I could give Geri a tiny bit of hope and some joy as well! But I can't. I can't do a thing for Geri. Except lift her up high in prayer and keep praying for her. Keep asking, begging, God to give her comfort, strength, peace, reassurance. And ministering angels. Please, God, place a multitude of ministering angels around Geri and her hurting family! A beautiful, precious bond within their circle of love has been broken, never to be restored here on earth. Please please please touch this family with Your divine love and let them know somehow, in some way, that little Rebecca Jane waits for them just past the thin veil that separates us from heaven. And You. 

"Even in darkness and deep deep despair, God is beside you," I wrote Geri. "You may let go of Him, but He won't let you of YOU." Such trite, minuscule words for such a devastating loss! But they are offered from a heart who wants so much to help.....

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Everyone needs understanding

I have no answers. No solutions for you. If you found your way here because of pain and separation in your life, I can't fix the problems. And I so wish I could! I honestly do. But I'll listen, friend. And I'll give you understanding that comes from my own past tears and hurt. And from what I remember, that is what I longed for so deeply when my own dear son shut me out several years ago. Just someone who understood.

Just yesterday, I was visiting with a close friend on the phone. She deals with terrible chronic pain every day. I listened, but I felt so helpless. I couldn't change a thing for her! I couldn't take away the excruciating sensations in her legs nor give her a peaceful night's sleep. But I did encourage her to call a mutual good friend. Because this elderly man, a much loved retired minister, lives with pain every day. HE would understand completely. He would listen AND know exactly what her life is like. And isn't that, I realized just awhile ago, what we so desperately long for as humans? Not only to be loved but to be UNDERSTOOD.

So please share. Unload your heartaches. We want to be a safe place to come. Last night, cloaked in the loneliness of 3 a.m., a hurting mother left a message here, asking for prayers for her children. I assured her that I would indeed pray. Today, as I've padded around the house or worked at my computer (while trying to stay warm!), I've thought of her often and said a prayer for her hurting home. I prayed for the other mothers who've reached out in pain, too. Broken bonds take time to heal. Sometimes a great deal of time. And often the waiting is just as painful as the separation itself.

Please, God, I pray for the hurting parents who've reached out for understanding and hope. Wrap Your loving arms around them and give them peace in their troubled hearts. I ask that You grant them strength and wisdom, too. Somehow let them feel Your love in their lives. Also, please, please bless their precious children, protect them, and help them navigate through these difficult times. I pray that Godly people minister to them and love them in the absence of their parents. In Jesus' name, we ask all these things. Yet not our will, but Yours. Amen.