I sat down with a friend right before coronovirus became a household word and told her that I missed writing. I couldn’t put my finger on what made me so suddenly stop, but I recognized that it was some form of survival. However, I simultaneously saw that the ability to process through my thoughts and experiences was significantly hampered by not writing. She gave me wise words:

You need to write, Teeli.

But I couldn’t.

Some of me was overwhelmed at the prospect of catching my imaginary audience up with the last nine months. Really, I’m a person who adores symmetry and harmony and simply skipping whole swaths of this journey felt disingenuous. I promised to be real through the ups and downs of what was brought to my door. And then what was brought to my door was Asher’s release from probation in an official letter signed by our courts.

And I suddenly recognized the time-delay in writing.

I did start this blog to shed much-needed light on a situation left in the dark. And I certainly started this blog to help me better understand my own thoughts and feelings in the midst of terrible pain. And I absolutely started this blog to remind me of the goodness of God on days when it feels so very far away. But I also started this blog six months after The Call actually happened. Why? Simple. I was in shock. What I didn’t expect was that emotional shock would happen again when Asher came home. And had I not already been writing, I don’t know that those first several posts after his release would have happened. But when I had to look, full in the face, at the prospect of my hopes and even expectations of Asher’s homecoming being such a far cry from the reality I was experiencing, shock is absolutely where I went.

The following months from my last post are filled with innumerable ups and downs. Asher fell in with the proverbial wrong crowd. He had a horrible side-effect to a normally incredibly well tolerated ADHD medication. He threatened self-harm at school and was nearly suspended while we were forced to take him for a mental health assessment at the local ER. He lied. He told the truth. He gave in to impulsivity. He made good choices. He switched meds. He switched again. He switched counselors. He switched again. He manipulated, conveniently forgot commitments, and felt sorry for himself in ways that infuriated his father and me. He also worked hard to stay focused in school, connect with us and his siblings, and figure out how life works in a functioning family on the outside of the juvenile justice system.

And I didn’t know what to do but barely survive through it all. Because yet one more thing missing from any body of information or encouragement for the family facing this living nightmare, is the fact that bringing home your previously (but possibly still) recalcitrant child from jail will throw you into another level of emotional shock similar in so many ways to the shock you experienced when the nightmare began.

I didn’t know which way was up let alone how to write about it.

So, I’m extending grace to myself – in the same way I would want you to extend grace to yourself – and starting from where I am now. I’m sure the context of our current life will provide ample opportunities to fill in the holes from those previous months. And I will trust the Holy Spirit to bring to mind those incidents about which He wishes me to write.

Thank you, dear reader, for taking this journey with me. And thank you for your patience as I stepped aside for a long, and necessary absence.