The drive heading West from Indianapolis is not very scenic. At least at first glance. If you drive it during the winter you will notice a peculiar gray shade created by the droves of naked trees lining the expressway. The only real landmark is a city or two. The rest of the scenery feels desolate.
Last week, we made this drive and it was painful. When I close my eyes, I remember it vividly.
Every mile that passes, the emotions choke in the back of my throat. My eyelids are like dam walls holding back a flood of tears. In the passenger seat, next to me, sits my wife. Most of the way she tries to sleep, or read. Occasionally we have conversations. A few times I hold her hand while my other grips the steering wheel. She’s in as much pain, or more, than I am.
In the back seat is our 11-year old son. He spends most of the ride listening to music, or playing games on my iPad. Every-so-often he catches me looking at him in the rearview mirror and he smiles. I love his smile. In fact, I love his heart. He is one of the most compassionate kids you will ever meet. That’s why this drive is so hard for us.
On that particular afternoon we are driving him to a boarding school, many hours, and several states away from our home. It’s a school that specializes in helping children with extreme behavior, addictions, or oppositional defiance. While my son is a good boy, with a good heart, he suffers from a mental illness that has made it difficult for him to make good decisions. He has made choices that have put our family in real danger in the recent past. It’s difficult to write those words because it’s hard to admit the reality of our situation. The road we’ve traveled with him has brought us to our knees.
We know he needs an environment that is structured, disciplined and focused. We know he needs more than what we can provide. What we found in this school, is a group of people who care for his heart as well as his choices. We made this decision because we believe in his future. We don’t want him to end up making a choice that could ruin his life forever. We know something most of this world does not- He’s better than that!
He’s way better than that. We can see it in him. With all of our heart and soul, we believe God has a great big plan for him. He’s going to use our son to change the world! We believe in this so strongly that we’re willing to do whatever it takes to help him through his difficulties now, while he’s still young.
The Principle Of The Path.
I usually never comment on the stock photo that we use for our posts. That’s because they usually speak for themselves. Today, however, I want to comment on this particular picture because I carefully chose it to go along with this post. This is how I picture our path in life and this picture feels peaceful to me.
You see, I believe with all of my heart that God is going to use my son to do amazing, world-changing things. Just this morning as I prayed for him, a calming feeling swept over me. I believe God Himself has a plan for our boy. We have put our son in a position to fulfill that plan. Our son is now able to choose to walk the path that leads to this destination.
Andy Stanley has this great quote that I have shared over Twitter and Facebook several times. He says this- “Your direction, not your intention, determines your destination.” Simply put, if you don’t like the destination you’re heading for, choose a different path. Move in a new direction. You can’t wish, hope or even pray your way to a new direction. You have to actively move in the right direction.
We know that our children will ultimately choose their own path in life. They have the freedom of choice. We pray every day over their choices. For now, as parents, we choose the path our family travels. We choose our direction. Our intentions mean zilch. We have to make choices as parents, that are sometimes difficult even though lead to healthy destinations. Our hope and prayer is that our choices now will help lead our son down a path that opens to a bright future.
Leaving In Peace.
My emotions almost overtook me that afternoon. I couldn’t bear the thought of my little guy living in another state, far away from us. I love him so much. For the first part of our admissions meeting I couldn’t look at the guy talking. I couldn’t even acknowledge what he was saying or even the questions my wife asked me. Frankly, I couldn’t really believe we were there.
Then, as if someone slowly poured a warm bucket of water over my shoulders, and down my back, a calming spirit washed over me. We left in peace because we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that our son is in good hands. We trust and believe that this is exactly what he needs to change his heart, and his behavior.
We made this choice because we love him. If he were sick and the only way we could find a cure for him was to travel around the world, to a remote place, to see a special doctor that cost tons of money, then we would. We don’t want his choices to someday get the best of him. We don’t want him to wind up at a destination that could have been avoided. We want to provide him with every opportunity while we still can. We chose this because we love him!
Have you ever had to make a gut-wrenching choice for your children that you believed would make them a better person in the long-run?