Some posts are easier to write than others. This is a tough one. In short, Irene has run away (again) and we are absolutely heartbroken. We haven't had any contact with her in over twenty-four hours and aren't even sure where she is. The only thing we are fairly certain about is that she has no intention of returning. She has become incredibly resentful of our authority and the boundaries that we have set. She has been talking about moving out for several months so that she can "do whatever she wants". We've watched with heavy hearts as she has turned against us and the Lord repeatedly, making absolutely devastating decisions. Greg and I have had to admit that at this point, there is very little more that we can do. We cannot even force her to stay under our roof, much less be respectful and obedient under it. We have no control over who she chooses to hang out with or what she chooses to do with them outside of our home.
My heart was absolutely breaking during church this morning and I could not stop the tears. Isaac was kicking quite a bit and it occurred to me that Irene won't be here when he arrives. Where will she be? Will she be safe? When will we see her again? How did we get to this point? What did we do or not do as parents that failed Irene? I replay the last week over and over again in my head, looking for missed opportunites, ashamed of the times I can see that I may have said the wrong thing. I look back over the five years that I've known her and wonder what else could I have done? Can I forgive myself for every failed conversation or every harsh word said? Can I forgive myself for the things I didn't do enough of? Did I live out the gospel in a way she could see it? Did I lift her up or tear her down? Did I show her the love of Christ? I know that no one is perfect, but I have to be honest with myself. The Lord and I have a lot of talking to do.
As you can imagine, Bella is very confused. She doesn't understand where Sissy is and has asked for her repeatedly. She witnessed an argument between Greg and Irene yesterday and only knows that Sissy was angry and then left. Bella broke my heart last night in the car when she told me that she would "be a good listener" and that she "wasn't angry like Sissy". She adores her Sissy, so as a mother I worry about what effect this will have on her. I hope and pray God gives me the wisdom that I need to help Bella through this.
We humbly ask for prayers of protection for Irene, for wisdom and guidance for Greg and I, and for peace for our whole family. Thank you.