February 25, 2016

Rest for a Weary Soul

Just about a year ago we made the very difficult decision to fight a private and sensitive battle, publicly. With the help of our talented and supportive friends, Brandi and Danny Ebersole, we created a video to shed light on how our family was facing the challenging diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder.

This video explains what we were embarking on, and why, but we did not discuss the HOW.

Since we opened our hearts and our family up to the world on this matter, I would say that I have received an average of 2-3 messages per week asking for the HOW.  I have not answered that question publicly because I am not an attachment therapist nor am I qualified to diagnose or prescribe treatment to a child. However, I have spent numerous hours discussing symptoms and strategies with strangers who are simply desperate parents who, like me, have found themselves (unofficially) diagnosing their own children out of complete desperation to get them the appropriate support and treatment.

Since we are only a year into what will likely be a life long process, I do not feel that I have enough "victory" under my belt to say definitively what works and what does not, especially for others. However, through insatiable research, brilliant attachment therapy, sound Biblical counseling and good, old fashioned common sense... I feel adequately qualified to confidently prescribe one component of our therapeutic approach across the board to all families who are navigating the war against disordered attachment:


  1. 1.
    a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant.
    "the refugee encampments will provide some respite from the suffering"
    synonyms:rest, break, breathing space, interval, intermission, interlude, recess, lull, pause, time out 
  1. 1.
    postpone (a sentence, obligation, etc.).
    "the execution was only respited a few months"

Yes, to all of this.

Yes to a short period of rest or relief. Yes to a break in what is difficult and unpleasant. Yes to breathing. To space, an interval, a pause. 

Yes. Yes, please.

I literally ugly cry when I read the definition of respite. The thought of respite for my body, my mind, my soul is like seeing a mirage of a spring in a desert.

I have not had a significant time of respite in over a year. I committed to going away for a time of refreshing before starting this intensive therapeutic approach with Harper last year between Christmas and New Year's. I spent that time sleeping and eating and researching the best approach to take. I tried to fatten up and rest up because I was going into battle for my son. Upon returning home, I very quickly lost the weight and strength I had gained during that time. I was weak, underweight, exhausted and extremely lonely.

My friendships have suffered, some have all but disappeared. I stopped attending church, book club, Bible study, and most family or social functions. I did this partly because the process required my constant presence, and partly because it felt like there was simply nothing left of me. I have been very dry and nearly empty.

But, that was 2015. This is a new year. We have made some significant progress, and though we still have a daunting number of obstacles to overcome... I am a little fatter, and little stronger, and a little fuller. I have recommitted to feeding myself - like actually eating food, but feeding myself spiritually, socially, and emotionally. I am no good to Harper when I am a shell. I am no good to my family. I cannot be used by God to the same capacity if I am not growing.

So, 2016 is looking a little different. I am slowly, but surely replacing my personal belongings that have been destroyed during the past year. I am going to the gym every morning to pump  so little  iron. I am making time every day to be with my main squeezes (Jesus, and Tom) and I am being more intentional about spending individual time with each of the kids - who have started to feel a little like collateral damage over this past year. 

And after fighting through exorbitant amounts of guilt, I am taking respite. Sweet, sweet respite.

I was  verbally abused  encouraged by my friends and family to accept a once in a lifetime opportunity to take a free trip to the Bahamas with my friend Sweet Melissa. I know, right? Who needs to be talked into that kind of opportunity??  

Because of the generosity of my dear friend who works for Jet Blue, I am able to fly to the Bahamas using a buddy pass and will be staying for free with Melissa's friend Neda who happens to live in the Bahamas. Did you know people live in the Bahamas? It's true, and it's happening. You know what else is happening? Melissa force-feeding me lobsters. 

It is all happening because I am surrounded by people who love me and want to take care of me and support me in any way that they can. And so God is choosing to meet one of my greatest earthly needs at this time through people with plane tickets and island homes and a violent desire to fatten me up. 

So, tomorrow morning I will get on a plane and fly to the islands. I will breath, I will drink coffee while it is still hot. I will laugh with my head thrown back, and I will attempt to tame what happens to my hair in humid climates. I will let my weary soul find rest, and I will come back with a fresh resolve to do do whatever it takes to love my hurting boy with a healing and unconditional love.