Hey Hey! Welcome to week two of our Blog Birthday Bash celebration! Last week was great and we are going to keep the party going this week!
Today, I want to introduce you to my sweet friend Kathy. Kathy and I started doing social media work together earlier this year and I have grown to love her so much! She has a genuine heart for the Lord and is so open about His work in her life. Join us as Kathy shares a very intimate story about her family, a struggle and how God’s mighty hand always shows up to remind us that He is on the throne!
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The hardest choice my husband and I ever had to make was facing us. Our young teenaged daughter was struggling with depression and anxiety. We sought guidance from God, doctors, therapists and resources. When we came to the end of what we knew to do, we realized we could no longer help her. We made the heart-breaking choice to enroll our precious daughter in a therapeutic boarding school. She had been struggling for two years at that point and we were no longer able to keep her safe. God was clearly leading the decision, but it broke our hearts to see her suffer. She was hurting and we couldn’t fix it.
We dropped her off at the school in late October that year. The thought of celebrating the coming holidays without her was unbearable. The thought of sitting down to a family feast without her there was intolerable. Staying home as an incomplete family, missing one of our children, was unthinkable.
We had two other children at home and while life felt upside down, we needed some fun and normalcy for their sake.
So, we made the decision to go to Disney World for the Thanksgiving weekend. With the help of the therapist at the boarding school, we decided our daughter didn’t need to know about the trip yet.
When you enroll a teen in a school like this, it is common for phone calls to be short and infrequent at first. The student needs to settle in. We had a set Sunday appointment to talk to her. Emotions were intense and calling home was incredibly hard for her. As you can imagine, they were tough for us as well.
On Thanksgiving Day, we had a special holiday phone call scheduled. I knew it would be a challenge to find a quiet spot to talk while we were at Epcot. The last thing we wanted was for her to hear “It’s a Small World” in the background! I scouted out a quiet corner near some bathrooms and a pay phone. We each talked to her for a few minutes.
It was hard for her to be at the school on holidays. Kids who were further along in the program could go home. Our daughter was one of a few kids who had to stay there with the staff. The phone call ended in tears all around. While she knew the school was the place she needed to be, she longed to be home. She longed to be free from her struggles. We wanted that too.
Her time at the school lasted for 14 months. Her graduation day is one of my most treasured memories. She moved home, and finished high school. Not everything was perfect when she got home, but we worked together to get her through to graduation.
When we asked her what we should do to celebrate her graduation, she said she wanted a trip to Disney World. What a wonderful full circle we had come. It was so much better to be there with her!
God had been faithful even during it all.
During our graduation trip, we visited Epcot. As we walked toward a restaurant where we had dinner reservations, we realized we were at that same spot. This was the exact place where we had taken that phone call. The tucked away corner near the bathrooms and the pay phone was plain and bare. As I looked around, I was feeling a mixture of sadness and joy. I was sad for the last time we were here and joyful that we were back with a healthy and happy daughter.
My husband stopped me and turned me around. Opposite that quiet spot the sun was setting over a lake. The sky was stunning with clouds and color. God was showing off for us. It was as if he was saying, “Look at all I have done! Don’t miss this. I am redeeming the world. I can redeem anything, even a concrete area outside a bathroom. I have your sweet daughter in my hands and I have you too.” I almost missed it. I was more focused on the memory of that day and that phone call.
The beautiful sky got my attention. God redeems. God redeems lives. God redeems time. God even redeems bathroom areas at Disney World. He brought us through that challenging time and showed us the beauty on the other side.
It is easy to miss God’s handiwork. Where is God bringing redemption in your life? Don’t stare at the concrete bathroom area. Don’t focus on the negative. Turn around and look at the sunset. Focus on all he has done for you. Look to see where He is showing off.
Are you so focused on your situation that you are missing the ways God is redeeming your life?
Kathy Erickson is an author, speaker, blogger, mother, wife and broken Christ follower. Through many struggles and trials, the promise of a spacious place became an important concept, drawing her close to God. You can check out her Bible study, “A Spacious Place” on her website! Kathy lives in St. Louis with her husband and three spunky teenagers!