The Prodigal

So, I confronted the adult child who is living at home on their lack of good coping skills.  This one is so much like my husband.  Total denial of any problem, attempt to place guilt on me for thinking they would be doing anything that is potentially harmful to themself, and emphatically stressing that I am all wrong and am presuming the worst.

I needed to say something, for this offspring of ours consumes 6-12 standard drinks per week in our house, plus who knows how much while out with friends almost every night.  Pot smoking occurs frequently while in my house and often while out with friends.  (It is illegal in our state.)

I recommended that this adult child move out so that they can get away from the dysfunction of alcoholism and work on achieving better mental health for themself.  I told them that I have watched their dad utterly destroy his life and I cannot bear to watch it happen with them.

I wish there were a nice Hallmark movie type ending to this situation.  It’s not happening yet.  Since our little chat a couple days ago, this child has totally avoided me.  They have deliberately chosen to not even speak or look at me while I try to make conversation.

I have been reading through a chapter a day in the book of Luke.  Today’s chapter was on the prodigal son.  So appropriate for my life right now.  Waiting for my adult child to turn back to the love relationship with Jesus is hard.  Waiting for the day when we can have a peaceful and civil conversation is hard.  Trying to focus on my schoolwork is hard.  Watching my husband be in pain and go for several days without eating much is hard.  Knowing that the people I love are hurting is hard.

I think that it is time for me to take care of my own mental health.  I have prayed.  Now it is time for watching a movie and taking a nap.  Schoolwork can wait.

One song that has been in my head today is “The Prodigal Son” by Keith Green.


The speed of life

This morning I was counting my blessings as I tried my best to stay in bed.  I have so much to be thankful for.  As the song says, “I’ve been blessed beyond all measure”.

Two things stuck out in my mind.  My life lately seems like that Lucy in the candy factory episode.  Things keep coming at me quickly and I have a hard time adequately tending to them all.

This morning I thought about the contrast of my husband’s life.  I watched him go outside to smoke the other day.  He walked like a very old man, holding on to counters and walls to slowly get to the door.  His arms moved almost in slow-motion to get the door open.  Right outside the door is a small chair.  He carefully lowered his body onto that chair in a way that was similar to putting a baby in a crib: slow and steady movements.  Once seated on that chair, he just stared up the narrow stairway into our back yard.  I waited a minute or two, thinking that he would close the door since it was below freezing outside and the furnace had kicked on.  He didn’t.  I quickly walked over and shut the door.

This morning, as I was remembering this incident, I wondered what he was thinking as he sat on that chair.  He cannot go up that stairway for there are no railings.  He has not been in the back yard since summertime.  He can barely walk from the house to the car.  He has not been able to drive for over a year.  Does he feel like a prisoner?  Every day I ask him if he is ready to get help for his alcoholism and his answer is always negative.  He is living in a jail of his own making.

His Love Endures

These past few weeks have been incredibly busy, but for the most part, I felt as if I was safe in a house while a storm was swirling all around.  Besides it being the most condensed portion of the accelerated program I am in, several issues with our grown children came up that just broke my heart.  So many hurts that I cannot fix.

One thing that I have been reminded of is from a song that Matt Boswell and the Boyce College Choir have on Youtube.  “Our sins, they are many, His mercy is more.”  That one line keeps popping into my head as I sing many different songs throughout the day.

Husband got mad at me a couple times for not taking out every bit of garbage when it was trash pick-up day.  He even told me that I don’t work hard enough.  I laughed.  It was an utterly ridiculous comment coming from the one who does nothing.  Statements like that would have made me mad last year.  God has changed me.

I have seen a glimpse of just how good God has been to place me in this spot at this time in my life.  I have wonderful friends who pray for me and my husband, and that is a major factor in my continuing sanity.  As I look back over the patients I took care of this term, each one seemed hand-picked for me.  Each one had a particular disease or mental illness could be related to my family members.  My entire clinical placements have been an amazing learning experience that has given me clearer insight to those family members, and will certainly help me next year when I have a job in the real world.

As I have gotten busier, my husband has slowed down.  He needs to hold on to something when he shuffles along because he does not have full control over his legs.  It is a major effort to go up steps, for it involves pulling himself up with the hand rails or doing a modified crawling with hands and feet.  Yesterday he did not eat anything, but still drank as much as usual.  He has had a dry cough for 2-3 weeks.  He has lost 30 pounds this year.

I decided to print out some information of the effects of alcohol for my husband.  He has never wanted to know, and when I would verbally tell him, he would always reply that I was full of bovine excrement.  I do want him to consider changing his lifestyle so that our children can remember him differently after he dies.

In the busyness of my life, in seeing the decline of my husband, in knowing the heartaches of our children, God has been faithful to remind me that He is good and that He is for me and not against me.  His love is overwhelming.  The following song by the Gettys has been replaying almost constantly in my mind for the past couple weeks.

“How great, how sure, His love endures forevermore.”


Let it Slide

I put the trash out on the usual night.  None of my neighbors had their recycling bin out, so I presumed that recyclables would be picked up next week.  Morning came and I was rushing out the door to school when I see that all the neighbors now have two cans at the street instead of one.  I had no time to run back into the house to fetch the recyclables, but I could at least put out the yard waste to the street.  Husband is standing on the porch yelling at me that it all should have been done the night before.  I tell him that I didn’t know which week it was.

“Well, you should have taken care of it last night.”

“I’ve been busy.  Do you think that you can help me?”

“No.  You just need to work harder.”

That comment from the man who does nothing around the house except get food out of the refrigerator ended the conversation.  Why even bother talking to him if that is his mindset?  Everyday I spend hours on schoolwork, clinical assignments, or housework.  Free time, right now, consists of  a couple hours a day.  I am enjoying life, am super busy, but do not feel stressed out.  Why let the delusional thinking of a man who has destroyed his common sense ruin my day?  Let it slide.

This morning Husband got upset because he remembered conversations from a couple days ago totally different than how they actually went down.  The so-called truth that he has in his mind does not even make sense in the real world.  Of course, his memory is correct and I am as “dumb as a rock” and “so stupid”.  More chances for me to let it slide.  Which I did.  But, then our daughter joined in.

She is feisty, bold, angry, sad, and does not mince words.  She loudly spoke truth to her dad which he did not want to hear and did not believe.  He kept wanting me to step in and defend him.  I couldn’t.  I had no words.  It broke my heart to see all the hurt pour out of her.

I did step in when she threatened to take away his alcohol.  The lessons I am studying this week in pharmacology and pathophysiology just so happen to be on drug and alcohol disorders.  I have also covered much of the basic concepts in previous classes.  I gave both of them a two minute version of just how damaged his body is and that going without alcohol for an extended time without medical supervision would kill him.  I didn’t have time to tell them about the alcohol related brain dysfunction that we are currently covering in mental health class.  He was done listening to anything, told me that he doesn’t believe it at all, and that I am full of bovine excrement.  Another chance to let it slide.

“I’m running to the One who knows me, who made every part of me in His hands…Tuning out every single word that caused me pain…I am loved…”  Check out this song by Blanca.

lessons learned?

As I look back over this past week I am so thankful.  For my mental health class it seems as though I have been put with the toughest clinical instructor at a facility that keeps us busy from start to finish.  Quite opposite of other groups.  My classmates talk about how easy and boring their clinical experience is.  They can get homework done or just relax.

On the surface, such an easy time seems very appealing.  I would love to have more free time.  But, I am looking at the bigger picture.  I have had a clinical experience which will be more like my future job.  I have had the opportunity to hone my skills and meet the needs of dozens of people.  My clinical instructor, by pushing us hard, has given me advantages in my other classes.  Just this morning I took a test and was able to answer some of the questions correctly because she had challenged us last week to go above and beyond.

This week I also learned that schizophrenic audio hallucinations are most likely the result of stress.  It’s the mind’s way of crying for help.  Watching the TED talk that is posted below made me so thankful that I have a God who is willing to take all my issues, worries, and cares upon Himself.  Listening to this woman’s story made me wonder why her and not me.  I still get stressed out at times.  Stress causes imbalances in the body.  Christians under stress can have the same consequences sometimes as non-Christians.

I still have sadness, fear, insecurities, and anger that I deal with.  Most of the time those things are shoved aside and, for the moment, are non-existent.  I am very good at building walls to hide behind.  Compared to last year, my ongoing issues are decreasing in intensity and frequency.  I don’t think that it is just because I have gotten good at hiding them.  I believe that I am seeing more and more evidence that God is moving before me and all around me.  I am greatly loved and held tight in His hands.  Why can’t I learn that lesson and then remember it?

Past Meets Future

Yesterday I stopped by the house of a friend to give my condolences of his wife’s death.  Then I found out from his neighbors that he had actually died the week before his wife.  Well, I was a bit shocked for, even though they were both in their 80s, he was in much better overall health than his wife.

“Why him and not my husband?” was one of the first thoughts running through my mind. This man was an alcoholic.  He was 20 years older than my husband which likely gave him more overall years of abusing his body, but he only had 4-5 drinks a day compared to the 10-20 that my husband does.  This morning I still wonder why my husband is alive and can he please die soon.

I know that my perspective yesterday and again this morning is mostly due to fatigue.  I am physically tired and mentally stretched with all that I need to do for school.

The song running through my brain this morning as I woke up was Matt Redman’s “10,000 Reasons” reminding me to look at the big picture and get my focus on God and all that He has done for me.  I was having a really hard time until I remembered a conversation I had last Sunday.  One of my friends (named Redmon) felt that God wanted her to remind me of some truth:  that He is slow to act for He desires that nobody perishes.  At the time we did not know why that particular aspect of God’s character was important and singled out.  It sure does fit with my thought processes today.

So, here I am, still tired, still no caffeine yet, still not quite ready to take on my schoolwork.  But, resting peacefully for I know that God is with me on this journey.

In the past, He prompted Redman to write a song based on scripture (  Last week He prompted Redmon to remind me of specific Bible verses.   Both to converge onto today when I need to be reminded of what is true.

Conquering Fear

The first week of a new school term is finishing up today with three quizzes.  Last week I must admit that I was a bit anxious.  The school load is ramping up (accelerated courses) along with beginning two of the toughest classes in the program.  Making sure that I could have access to all the right textbooks was a bit stressful.  Scanning through all the assignments and browsing through my subject matter, I had thoughts of giving up.  It is too much work.  Too many things to know.  I am old and cannot keep up.  It took lots of work and prayer to tap down all those lies.

After Thursday, I felt so relaxed and on top of everything.  All my work was getting done ahead of deadlines and I was able to learn new information without too much difficulty.  The song that kept playing in my head was by Francesca Battistelli.  “Fear you don’t own me, there ain’t no room in this story…I know I’m strong and I am free…”  I took time to relax and get stuff done around the house.

So, Saturday night, knowing that the next day was filled with those quizzes, I decided to start studying specifically for them.  I pulled up the study guides for each class, only to discover that I had not even begun one of them.  One of the hardest classes and I had not even read the chapters!  Logically, I should have panicked and worried.  But I didn’t.  I chose to believe that there really is no room for fear in my life.  God tells me over and over in the Bible to not fear, be strong and courageous, do not be afraid…I choose to trust Him.  Everything has worked out for me to go to this school and this program, to get my degree and eventually get the job that God has waiting for me.  He will help me to get there.

Not being afraid is good, and so is studying.  I focused several hours last night on that one class and I will do more today.  All work must be turned in by midnight, so I have 11-12 hours to study and also take time to go to church.  All is well.  There is no panic in my life at this time.  I will try to remember assignments in all my classes from now on.

Husband is in a good place these past few days.  He has not fallen since Tuesday.  He will take care of most of his messes with very little prompting from me.  He is definitely better physically than he has been, but I know it is only temporary.  He still drinks 15-20 standard drinks every 24 hours.  It makes no medical sense that he is alive.  It is a miracle, but he does not realize that.