Friday, May 01, 2009

First Fridays with Val

"The most painful step in any healing process is often the first one. You must face the ugly truth that you're in a destructive relationship and that you are the one who has allowed it to continue."
Allison Bottke, Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children, pg. 105

As a counselor, I know that the healing process is never a static one. At times, it seems like a client will take a few steps forward, and slide backwards for a period of time. I guess I never expected the same thing to happen to me. I thought I was well along the way in terms of restoring SANITY into my life, and progressing well into the healing process. Until "IT" happened again, I found I had to set some new boundaries with my adult daughter recently. Pretty firm and intense ones, at that. Boundaries which could NOT be crossed because if they were, then I would be condoning the destructive behaviors she has been participating and accepting the emotionally and verbally abusive relationship she continues to stay in. IT HAPPENED AGAIN! She agreed to the boundaries, and then went on to break each and every one of them.

Words can't describe the utter anguish, disappointment, anger, and sadness I felt. But, of course, I don't have to explain those feelings to any of you-because all of you have been there too.

Two things are different this time around, however. The first thing is that it FINALLY dawned on me how destructive this relationship has been to me. It's affected me on many levels--physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Nobody has ever treated me the way in which she has treated me--I wouldn't allow it, to begin with--and yet I've allowed it to continue with her! I had to draw the line in the sand and show her that I deserved respect, and that I wasn't going to allow this destruction to continue. The second thing that's different is that the stakes are much, much higher. I had to give her an ultimatum. Choose us or choose your drug (her addiction to her abusive relationship). If she chose us, then she could no longer have ANY contact with him because she is such a different person around him (just like a drug addict is different when they are drugged), and we can't tolerate her when she's like that because she is so sick (she lies, she manipulates, she is lazy, she is irresponsible, she is disrespectful, etc). Well, after give us false hope for 4 days while living with us again and stringing us along with promises of going to college and getter her credit back in order and going back to church, she decided to go back to him. As it stands now, we will no longer have any contact with her until she decides she wants to get better and until she apologizes.

Today has not been a good day for me. I have felt very angry towards her--for all the havoc she has wreaked on our lives, for all the promises she has made and broken, for all the lies and manipulations and ingratitude. But worse yet, I have felt very angry at God and abandoned by Him. I know that the devil delights in breaking up families, and it feels like that is exactly what he has done to us. I am feeling so drained, so exhausted, so overwhelmed. And I am so sad that my daughter is no longer with us. She actively made the decision to reject us and our love, and that hurts so much.

I'm afraid of this distance that I feel from not only my daughter, but from God as well. I know the saying "Let go and let God," but my quivering soul is afraid of what the outcome might be. But, as Allison points out on page 146 in her book, "True healing begins when we make the head-heart connection that we MUST "leg go and let God"...

So, her I am again--at a new stage of the healing process. And tonight, I will begin a new journey of bridging that distance which I placed between God and me. I will surrender to His will, surrender to His love, surrender to His mercy, surrender to His peace and comfort. Tomorrow is a new day, and I will face it with strength and determination to not give up the battle, to continue to pray for His will to be done, and to patiently wait while God works his magic in my life as well as in my daughter's life. Please keep us in your prayers.

Dear Val~ You and your family ARE in our prayers.

We "rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises." (Psalm 119: 146-148).

"The Lord delights [...] in those who put their hope in his unfailing love." (Psalm 147:11). "There IS hope for your future, declares the LORD. Your children will return to their own land."

HOPE in our LORD, is never in vain. And though we may tire and grow weary, our hope in the LORD "will renew [our] strength. [We] will soar on wings like eagles; [we] will run and not grow weary, [we] will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40: 31)

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

Standing in the gap with you...Your Partner in SANITY!!!


tonkasaucke said...

I feel like I have found someone who can finally understand everything we are experiencing with our 21 year old daughter, Brooke! Some strange connections... your daughter has lupus nephritis... in our situtation, it was I who has lupus glomerulinephritis... I had a kidney transplant when Brooke was 9 years old. My daughter left home last year with her "fiance" - since this person has come into her life, she has taken on an attitude of ungratefulness, entitletment and anger. Brooke was raised in a Christian home, attended a Christian school and was a wonderful child and young adult. She is getting married on May 30th, 2009... and we were not invited to the wedding (not that we would attend anyway). It's been a horrible, horrible nightmare and I keep hoping we'll wake up and our daughter will be home. Our only comfort is in our Savior. I could go on...

Karen said...

Thank you so much for sharing this testimony! The message really spoke to me as did the new theme song. The term "drawing a line in the sand" has been on my mind also, and I wrote a post about that very thing earlier in the week. The Lord is affirming that stand as I read your words...

Dawn said...

I am so sorry. It must be incredibly difficult to see this happening in your own life when you have counseled so many others. Thank you for sharing so transparently.

Our son is back in Teen Challenge. So many bad choices, and the drug is so alluring for some reason - no matter what the drug is. Satan is having a hey day. His day will be over, soon I hope!

Valerie said...

Dear Tonkassaucke - I wish there was some way we could get in touch with each other personally. My daughter is getting married in August and she is now pregnant. We refused to attend her wedding a long time ago because this young man is so abusive towards her. My daughter wants us to be there, she wants us to accept her relationship with him - but we cannot. I'll be praying for you - as I know your heart must be breaking. One of my most precious dreams was to help my daughter plan a wedding to a godly man - and this dream is now shattered. Yes, our only comfort IS our Savior.

Karen - You're welcome. It was very painful to write. Just as "drawing the line in the sand" was very difficult to do. But, my husband pointed out to, it was also the most loving thing we could do for her. We have to stand up for what we believe and not back down.

Dawn - thank you for your kind words. I will keep you and your son in my prayers, too. The devil certainly seems to be on overtime lately!

Valerie said...

Diane - Thank you for your prayers and your passages from the Bible. Today is May Day, and what better day than to start a new chapter in my life! I'm keeping you and your mom in my prayers, too!

tonkasaucke said...

My husband and I have reached the point where we, too, had to "let go and let God" with our daughter. My sister-in-law reminded me of Jacob and how, before he wrestled with God, he referred to God as the "God of his fathers." He wrestled with God before he had his own personal relationship with God. Of course, Jacob walked with a limp afterward because of the injury to his hip... but I relate the story of Jacob to my daughter. She is wrestling with God right now... but He will be her God, she'll have a personal relationship with Him when it's all said and done. I don't know what "injury" she will sustain in the process. I also have to remind myself every day that my daughter is HIS child first and HE loves her even more than I do or can. That is so hard. Throughout this journey, I have been given the verses: Exodus 14:14, Psalm 37:7 and Psalm 46:10. The common theme in all of them is "be still." Whenever I feel the need to do or say or act, I am reminded in one fashion or another to be still. One day it was a car that pulled out in front of me with "BE STL" on the license plate. So, yes... my heart is breaking, and I cry often...but I pray every day and I wait on the Lord to complete His work in my daughter's life. Just as in the story of the prodigal, the father didn't go and chase after his son...he gave him his inheritance and let him go... then he watched the horizon for him to return... I'm watching the horizon.

tonkasaucke said... far as the wedding... our daughter is our only child. For Christmas this year, we had my hope chest recovered. I also wrapped up a set of pillow cases I embroidered to go in the hope chest. Our daughter did not come home to see us at Christmas...but we are saving the gifts for her. The hope chest is in hopes of the man God has intended for her life... not the person she is with now who has brought so much destruction to our family. I feel for you knowing that your daughter is now pregnant. That is one of my biggest fears...that my daughter will get pregnant. My heart aches knowing that I may not get to enjoy my grandchildren. We had told our daughter long before she was engaged that the person she was with should bring out the most beautiful sides of her...which was something we had not seen in her since this person entered her life. I liked the term you used... "venom and spit." That is exactly what we experienced. There's so many things I want to share with you because I feel like you can completely understand our heartache. I feel like I'm living in the twilight zone. If you would have told me 5 years ago that we would go through this experience with our daughter, I would have laughed in your face. Like you, we did everything right. We sat down to meals as a family, we attended all of her school functions, we took her to Lambeau Field for a Green Bay Packer's game (her favorite team), we took art classes and quilting classes with her...took her horseback riding in the mountains...took an interest in everything she was interested in. I don't understand how she can just walk away from us like we are nothing to her.

Heidi Pocketbook said...

Tonkasaucke and Valerie--

Valerie, I know I left a comment before on one of your other guest posts telling you how some of this I could have written myself, and tonkasaucke, the same thing with your posts. The guy she hooked up with has totally changed her. It will be a year this month since I've seen her face-to-face. The last contact we had with her by phone was in the fall. She has cut off our entire family, her friends, etc.. We have no idea if she and this guy are married yet, and I pray that there won't be children involved so if she comes to her senses she won't be tied to this guy and his family.

I'm in a deep valley with this now--and twilight zone is a good definition how we feel. Never in a million years did we think something like this would happen to her, to us, etc...

Valerie said...

Tonkasaucke and Heidi - Thank you for ministering to ME. I came over to this site this morning with a heavy heart, but reading your words or wisdom and knowing others are experiencing the pain touches me immeasurably.

Diane - is it possible to form an online SANITY support group?! :-)

God bless you, ladies. We will watch the horizon together, with hope in our hearts, and prayers on our lips. . .

Diane @ Partners in Prayer said...


ONLINE Support Group?

We're workin' on it!

We will be up and runnin' shortly!

In the meantime, don't forget the online Forum Communities....where parents in pain are praying for one another. It's a cyber miracle! I am so blessed by the words of comfort, encouragement, and support that are offered and spite of their own pain. God's family has connected in cyber-space!



Valerie said...

Yup, I was aware of the online communities, but seem to have not kept up with you on the online support group - I'm sorry. But, you know my life's been a bit "crazy" and busy lately - just as yours! I'll send you an email this week about a couple of things. God bless!

tonkasaucke said...

Diane... I am in Minnesota, in the Twin Cities Metro area. How can I find out about these SANITY support groups? Are the majority of the attendees mothers... or do both mothers and fathers attend?

tonkasaucke said...

...although, I may have more luck getting my husband to "attend" an online support group. I like that idea.

Diane @ Partners in Prayer said...


In fact, there is a new SANITY Support that just started last Monday! Woodridge Church, Medina, MN. (Really close to Plymouth). Week Two meets tomorrow night (Monday) at 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. There is a group of both--couples and mom's. YOU WOULD BE MORE THAN WELCOME! It is led by a fabulous woman who has been implementing the 6 Steps of SANITY through some very difficult challenges with her two sons simultaneously!

Please email me at so I can give you the adress, etc. Do you live in the western suburb area?

I sure hope so--this would be a great opportunity! Our online courses will not start for a little bit--this way you could start your SANITY journey almost immediately!

How wonderful that you are in the Mpls./St. Paul area.....and so AM I!!!



groovyoldlady said...

Wow. (((((Val)))))

Valerie said...

Wow, I'm glad that tonkasaucke was able to find out about the new support group! And Groovy Old Lady - thank you for the hug!!!

tonkasaucke said...

Is anybody else dreading Mother's Day as much as I am? I wonder if I'll hear from my daughter this weekend.

Diane said...

Mother's Prayer

I pray you'll be my eyes
And watch her where she goes
And help her to be wise
Help me to let go

Every mother's prayer
Every child knows
Lead her to a place
Guide her with your grace
To a place where she'll be safe

I pray she finds your light
And holds it in her heart
As darkness falls each night
Remind her where you are

Every mother's prayer
Every child knows
Need to find a place
Guide her with your grace
Give her faith so she'll be safe

Lead her to a place
Guide her with your grace
To a place where she'll be safe

Valerie said...

I'm dreading it, too. It's also my birthday. I had to re-establish the boundaries yesterday, and it was very, very painful. I doubt if I will hear from her for a very long time. Also, she found her birth mom - and that is weighing heavily on my heart for many reasons that I can't share right now. But, I do wish all of you a blessed Mother's Day (I couldn't really say "Happy", but blessed seemed very appropriate as we look at all of God's other blessings He has placed in our lives). Diane - if it's okay, I'm also going to post that on my blog. I think I did last summer sometime, but it especially holds true for me right now.

Heidi Pocketbook said...

Yes, I'm dreading it. I have been for the last couple of weeks. I have no hope of hearing from her. I've had weird dreams about her the last two nights. I spent part of the afternoon crying; maybe that will get it out of my system. I'm sorry to see I'm not the only one struggling with this.

Diane @ Partners in Prayer said...

Dear sisters of my heart,

How I pray that each one of you will be blessed in a very special way on Mother's Day.

As I am just now home from visiting my mother in the sub-acute facility where she remains in emergent delirium, I am feeling such a loss as we approach Mother's Day. It has been horrific spending each day with her and seeing her confusion. While she has moments of clarity, most of her day spent confused, dazed, and weeping. She does not know our names and in fact we frighten her at times because she does not know us or why we are in her room.

As I read each of your comments, it struck me how similar your hearts are aching tonight.....when we love an adult child who is wayward, there are times WE are dazed and confused and don't recognize the young adult they have become. It is a loss nearly too painful to speak of.

I found comfort as I sat in my mom's room this week--knowing that her life is NOT defined by what may be her last moments of life. I felt hope knowing that God is in control and hears my prayers as I beseech Him each minute of the day to bless my mom with His peace.

The comparison continues ladies....for we can be comforted knowing that our adult children will NOT be defined by this one moment in their lives. We CAN feel hope knowing that God IS in control...and He WILL use this pain for HIS glory as He continues to work in their lives.

When you think that in the Bible, there is not one person noted that lived a perfect life....outside of Christ....we find grace written all over our adult children's lives. In fact, some of God's most beloved and respected men committed grave sins with horrible consequences. God's grace is bigger than our failures. His promises are greater than our doubt. His power is great IN our weakness!!!!

This IS the same God that knows each day of my mother's life.....and the lives of our adult children. Psalm 139 declares it: he knows us...he knows each day of our life, in fact, they are written in His book.

To me...that means that He knew that David would kill Bethsheba's husband...he knew that Peter would deny Christ 3 times before the cock crowed, he knew that Saul would persecute and execute Christians....before He would become Paul! David, most beloved, Peter, the Rock, Paul--perhaps the greatest witness of the gospel....ever! God knows how to turn a bad situation around.

So just maybe--for tomorrow--we can offer the greatest gift a mother can give....we can celebrate the victory that WILL BE won!!! Remind the enemy this day, tomorrow and EVERY day...that WE DO NOT MOURN like those with no hope....God is our hope and our strength.

I pray my sisters of the heart...that these words that have comforted me as I sat by my mother's bed praying that she would return to us once again.....will bless and comfort you await your sons and daughters return to you once again.

Your Partner in SANITY!


Rene' said...

I cannot believe I found this site. I NEED it so I read the posts from tonkasaucke and Valerie I could so relate. Just as you...we raised our precious daughter in a christian home, she went to christian school and could not have been any sweeter, until after high school. It has been a downhill spiral since then. She is 26, pregnant and has her live in boyfriend who doesn't work, is on probation for assaulting his last girlfriend, who has a child by him, and he just turned 22! My daughter is 26!! And he was kicked out of high school for fighting. And he had dealt drugs although she swears he no longer does! My daughter thinks he is the greatest and wants to marry him. We pray that doesn't happen. We have always been so close but now things are so strained I don't even know who she is. I have always been an upbeat person and always had strong faith...but I feel myself slippping into a deep funk. I cry every day. I cannot get my joy back.I cannot imagine life without her in it but I can't let her in our lives while she is living such a destructive life with him.I need some support I know.

Valerie said...

Diane - THank you for your beautiful words of wisdom and comfort and strength.

And I wecome Rene' to this site. This common bond can stengthen us in our despair, as we hold each other up in prayer.

tonkasaucke said...

I come here because I find a sanctuary and I know you all share in my feeling of despair... Val, Diane, Heidi, Rene... As my daughter's wedding draws near, I am struggling emotionally. I can't focus, I can't sleep, I cry often...I feel like there is this empty hole that just won't go away. I pray all the time. I keep praying for God to intervene. I did receive a Mother's Day card from my daughter. That almost made my Mother's Day even worse... because it still didn't change the position we are in. The words said one thing, but her actions say another. This heartache is so awful and I'm sorry you are all experiencing it along with me... and yet at the same time, I'm so thankful you are here.

Valerie said...

Dear Tonkassaucke - Your words describe what I am going through exactly. And it does help to know others are going through the same thing. Let us promise to pray for each other in the upcoming weeks, as your daughter's wedding draws near, as Diane's mother's medical situation continues to be tenuous, as my daugher's wedding approaches (August 15th) and her birth mom and future mother-in-law continue to pull Sara and I further away from each other, and as all the ohter commentors face feelings of pain and anguish and despair. Let us not give up on the hope that God will watch over and protect our loved ones because He loves them more than we possibly could. God's blessings to all of you.