Jacey · Mom it out

The night from hell. It is well.

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Ugh,  It’s going to suck to go here.  I’m finally a little more sane, although still not at complete peace to write this.  I don’t think I’ll ever be.  It sucks to process through hurt.  But 2 things I have learned — what you don’t process, you continue to live and make decisions around ( and I don’t want to be THAT parent), and I have found it’s really good (maybe critical) to know for yourself what heals you, what brings you peace and strength and refreshes you from life’s tragedies and victories.  As anyone who knows me knows, I’m pro-counseling for every person on the planet.  I believe everyone should have a (1) safe place to (2) process life (3) honestly.  GETTTTT. SOMMMMMME.

But, there can be other things in addition to counseling that are therapeutic, that help us cry out, help us fall apart in a healthy way that’s not destructive and bring us to a place of growth.  Because if we can’t find a way to stop and allow life lessons to sink in so we may learn and grow from our struggles, then our pain is in vain.  How tragic that would be.

For me it looks like dancing.  And reading.  Dinner with my best friends, working out, hiking, and, maybe most of all, writing.

Just getting alone with some space and time, music and coffee, and entering that kind of therapy that calms and heals, and puts somewhat of a stamp of confirmation on a feeling felt, a revelation revealed or a lesson learned.

Words have the power of life.  Writing is essentially just a bunch of words, and therefore in writing, for me, I find not only a way to process, learn, and heal, but the very therapy of life.

I recently experienced the worst night of my life.  I do not say that lightly; truly there is no other hour in which I have ever experienced as much hell, and I hope never to again.   Please, God.

I had been gone for a week for funerals and a wedding.  When I was finally home to my family, we spent an evening having dinner and sharing some beautiful moments and just being together.  The Littles went outside to play for a while like they always do, and of course we checked on them a few times.  I saw them playing on the sidewalk, and about ten minutes later went out to call them in for the night…

Miss J came walking up, but Jacey was nowhere to be seen.

A few minutes passsed, and then more time passed, and still no Jacey.

One minute she was there, happy, smiling, sitting next to me… and a few minutes later she was…


She left.

In her mind, she needed a break, had every intention of returning and absolutely zero clue as to what can happen to a child left alone in this world.  I thank God every day that she was not picked up by some stranger, that she didn’t go far, and that He brought her back to me.


for over an hour, she was gone.  My daughter was gone and I could not find her.

At first I was calm, resonable.  But, soon, a few minutes turned into 45 minutes, and the dusk had set in, and me…


I was hysterical.

A crazy person overtaken with fear and shock and heart crushing anxiety.

A mom in the dark, screaming for her child, only to hear silence in return.

I cannot fully go there again in myself to describe the feeling… the darkness… there are no words.  But, if you are a mother, you can just maybe, possibly fathom a sliver of a glimpse… but unless you have actually experienced an hour of not knowing where your child is, in the dark, there is no way to get it.  I couldn’t have, not until that night.  It was worse than the most real nightmare… I still cannot believe that night happened.  Police were everywhere.  Family, friends, and strangers were covering the neighborhood in cars and on foot.  It was like a movie.  A horror movie.

And then…   it was over.

She was found, and as she ran to me I felt the most violent release of incredible relief explode in my heart.  The nightmare was over, and my baby was back in my arms.

My baby…

who is going through puberty,

has 7 siblings and 2 homes,

is going through a divorce, for the second time,

continues to struggle daily with her eyesight making schoolwork just painful,

struggling with her faith, believing in God at all,

has disconnected from many of her once-close friends because she doesn’t want to “talk about the things they talk about” and thinks it’s “so stupid how all the kids at school cuss now”.

My “baby” is in a hard core year of growing up.  And she’d rather just go play outside or dig in sand or ride her bike.  Her teens are just around the corner, and everyone around her is fighting to grow up as fast as they can, and she’s just not.  All the while, she (like all children) is forced to bear the consequences of her parent’s decisions and mistakes and all she has seen and lived through forces her to understand things a child should never have to think about.  Life pushes her to grow up, friends and society pressure her, but she is content to go at her own pace.  And therein is the struggle.

She is present.  She lives in the now.  And life is just a big stupid rush fueled by our sin and desperation for more and better and faster.

She’s a child, and I love that about her.  When I was her age, I had already done almost everything most adults had.  The preteen years were hard as hell on me, and my teen years didn’t get much easier.  By the time I hit my teens, I had already experienced divorce a few times, abuse, brokenness, violence, sex, drugs, alcohol and so much more.  And that was 25 years ago – so times are no better nor easier for a child in this pressure-filled world.  I am grateful for a daughter that doesn’t feel she needs to become like society to please others or find her worth, but ughhhh – the stress of this in-between a child and a teen place she’s suffering through has finally boiled to the surface.  Stupid life.  Stupid growing up.

Jacey is amazing, she knows she’s loved, she’s creative and happy, resilient and so much fun, and every day she shines bright with humor, laughter, and beauty that radiates from her.  But, she’s growing up.  And that’s freaking hard.  And there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.  It’s just going to be hard.

I spent a lot of the days following that night from hell in tears.  They still come, spontaneously… just thinking about all the stuff that goes into her little mind, into her little heart; panicking about failing her as a mom and thinking of all the things I could do differently.  Freaking out with anxiety like I have never known, just recalling in my mind those heart crushing moments in the dark, screaming her name over and over.  For a while, I could not even sleep, my brain just wouldn’t turn off.

What if I have failed as a parent?  What if I make the wrong decisions for her?  What if I mess up???  Then, WHAT???

When it comes to Jacey, I just can’t bare the thought of messing up.  Not with her.

But, the Lord came close to me, and whispered, assuring me:

“You don’t have to worry about the what-ifs, baby girl, you HAVE messed up as a parent… and you will again.  That’s why you need me.”

UGHHHHH.  If there’s one thing I wish I could be perfect at, it’s being her mommy.

But, I can’t.

I’m going to mess up, just like every other parent in this world, and she is going to go through things that I cannot do anything about. She is going to experience pain that I cannot protect her from.  Of course, I’ve always know these things to be true, but I realized this on a whole new level that night.

I have to trust her to God.

Again, I KNOW THIS.  I have always trusted her to Him, I know I can mess a good thing up quick and easy; I have always been aware of my need for HIM in me, ESPECIALLY as a mom.

But, the truth is, I’ve only known that in one way with Jace… as a child.  We are coming upon a new season that I have never known.  Jacey as a real live big girl.  Like, for real big.  Big clothes, big friends, big school, big problems, big everything.

No more little.   😦

and honestly… that breaks my heart into pieces.

Don’t tell me you know and you have all the answers.  Don’t assume you understand what Jace is going through or how I suck or don’t suck at parenting.  I don’t care.  Everybody has their parenting opinions and practices, thoughts and ideas… and some things are fixable… and some things you just have to go through.  Unfortunately, this is true even for our children.  Often because of us.

Of course I’ve doubled up on prayers and quality time, she has another eye appt. next week, getting play therapy, adjusting her schedule for more release, play, and relaxation, giving her more attention, more EVERYTHING… as a parent, when something like this happens, you just go over life with a fine toothed comb and do whatever it takes to help your child… & still, at the end of the day, in my mind nothing is good enough for her, including me.

She’s my child.  MY DAUGHTER.  DO PEOPLE EVEN GET THAT??? I’M HER MOM.  THERE IS NOTHING IN LIFE THAT I WILL EVER SEE OR DO OR EXPERIENCE OR FIGHT FOR OR LIVE FOR MORE THAN HER.  Noone will ever see her life or watch her go through stuff or feel her joy and pain the way I do.  Noone.

The bottom line is, my baby girl is growing up and it hurts like hell.

I’ve always said I have a running soundtrack in my head at all times.  It’s not on purpose, but God just brings songs to mind that go right with a situation and it’s pretty cool and sometimes weird.

The day after the night from hell, after I had some time alone to break completely down, God gave me this song.  It played in my head for days.

And then, beautiful Sunday morning, low and behold, they sing it.  I haven’t heard the song in years until this Sunday morning.  The worship leader gets up there and begins to tell the story of Horatio Spafford, and how he came to write this song, after losing everything.

Including his children.

One minute they were there, with him, and the next, they were…


1 son.  4 daughters.

I lost one daughter for less than two hours and went outside of my mind hysterical.  This man lost all of his children.  ALL OF THEM.  FOREVER.

And then he penned these words:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, 

When sorrows like sea billows roll

Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,

It is well, it is well, with my soul.


I kept thinking, too many thoughts, awful wretched thoughts… Among them, I thought, that night could have been the end of me.  The end of life as I know it.  The end.  So many ‘what if’s… so many ‘thank God’s.  And so many times I wondered how on earth it is that people get through life without God?  And how on earth do people go on living after they have lost a child forever?

How?? HOW???

I cannot even begin to fathom the answers…

and right now… I’m just.so.grateful.I don’t have to.

That’s all I can come to, at the end of all my thoughts.  I’m just so grateful… for God, and for Jacey.

That I have them both.

Just so unbelievably grateful.

Music, music is really great therapy also.  Lyrics… words of life.


8 thoughts on “The night from hell. It is well.

  1. Oh. my. word. Stacey, I can’t even imagine … I don’t have words. I just wanted you to know I read yours.

  2. I love you. I am so inadequate with words and writing. But I couldn’t just let this sweet, honest, open sharing go without saying I am sorry it was such a hard scary night.
    That fear is so paralyzing, we had a night like that when Cathleen was 11. I remember it even now. Almost can’t breath when I think of it, and now all that I know because of the training I have makes it even worse. I was pretty naïve back then to all the “bad” that is out there, and I was still scared back then.
    It may be even scarier to watch them grow. My adult children will tell you how I have struggled at not fixing all their problems still…..ha like I really could. Anyway thank you for sharing how God held you in your fearful hours, and held Jacey in His protective arms also. He is GOOD, ALL the time!

  3. I am so glad that you are Jacey’s mama. You are raising a smart, strong
    woman, and we need more of those in this world. What’s her favorite song? Whenever I hear it, I’ll send good thoughts to her.

  4. oh man, this made me cry. thank you for being so vulnerable and open in sharing this. i remember a couple times as a preteen and young teen when i “went off” for awhile. my poor mother.

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