Real Families. Real Hope.
Offer God's hope to hurting families.
Yes, I will help struggling families!
$

The Other Home: When Kids Change Their Minds

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
An illustration of a child walking from one home to another
© FOTF - Anneka Jack
How one couple trusted God when their teenager decided to live with the other parent

When Christine and I got married, she already loved my teen daughter, Sarah. Although Sarah lived with my ex-wife, she and Christine spent plenty of time with each other. We were her other home.

But just a few weeks after Christine and I returned from our honeymoon, we were faced with a challenge. Sarah dropped out of school, and my ex-wife asked if Christine and I could offer a more structured home where Sarah could start fresh. My wife and I agreed to take her in. 

Sarah was a gem, putting up with new rules and expectations. She agreed to everything, even though I wasn’t easy on her, and she lost much of the freedom she had been used to. Christine poured herself into helping Sarah thrive as a home-schooled teen. She even took a monthlong work sabbatical to jump-start our daughter’s academic excellence. In the year that Sarah lived with us, we saw her grow. 

During this time, we thought Sarah was happy. But it was all a facade. It turned out we had a very troubled teen to deal with. When she had the option of going back to live with her mom four states away, Sarah was able to push an eject button on her relationship with us. And she did, though we weren’t sure why. Nothing had happened to warrant an abrupt exit. Without a goodbye, she was gone, back to her old life with my ex-wife. 

Supporting each other

For months, various stages of grief enveloped Christine and me. We sought help from the Lord and each other in dealing with disappointment in ourselves and Sarah.

Christine struggled with denial, saying, “Surely she wouldn’t abandon us for her other home. Perhaps she’s just wanting to spend more time with her mother before returning.” Knowing Sarah’s flighty history and lack of commitment and loyalty to relationships, I helped talk Christine through these patterns that had become so predictable. 

Even as I helped her, Christine was an understanding ear for me to vent my frustration to, yet she consistently exhibited unwavering grace and love toward my daughter. It moved me toward forgiveness. Forgiving Sarah for the ungratefulness we felt from her despite all we’d done to help. We’d upended our lives to make her feel welcome, and she left without any explanation.

Discouragement can distort our perspective. Sometimes kids just need time to grow up. Maybe we do, too. Many times, in the midst of my bitterness, Christine suggested we stop and pray. The Holy Spirit convicted me to speak words of affirmation about my daughter, replacing complaints with gratefulness for the time we had with Sarah.

Trusting God

The situation was no longer in our control. All we could do was trust God’s sovereignty, and in time, He showed us the bigger picture. Focusing on what went right and the good that God accomplished during Sarah’s stay nurtured acceptance in us so we could move on. 

We chose not to second-guess our decisions, but instead we relaxed, knowing that her abrupt departure hadn’t surprised God. We trusted Him. The experience eventually helped us form better boundaries and expectations for our other children. 

A few years later, Sarah reached adulthood and apologized for leaving so abruptly, thanking Christine and me for all we had done to help her. She acknowledged the love and sacrifice and recalled happy moments with us, including some of her favorite memories of being with Christine. Sarah and I agree that although it was difficult, we nevertheless treasure the time we had together.

Today, Sarah is a woman in her mid-30s, and our relationship is wonderfully sweet. It’s a joy to make new memories together and see her interact with her teenage half sisters. 

Our faith and reliance on each other kept Christine and me going. The journey felt long, and there was no guarantee that time invested in Sarah would have a return for us. But as we continued to trust God, we saw His hand guiding our family. Through this experience, we learned that God is bigger than all of the messes life throws at us, and knowing this has brought us comfort.

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
Emerson-Eggerich4-840w

Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.
Book Cover: Aftershock A Plan for Recovery

Aftershock: Overcoming His Secret Life with Pornography: A Plan for Recovery

This book is for women who have discovered their husband’s struggle with pornography and other sexual infidelities. Based on biblical principles and psychologically sound advice, Aftershock is designed to help women heal, grow, and receive restoration for themselves, their husbands, and their marriages.
ttwmk-3

That the World May Know

Join renowned teacher and historian Ray Vander Laan as he guides you through the lands of the Bible. In each lesson, Vander Laan illuminates the historical, geographical, and cultural context of the sacred Scriptures. Filmed on location in the Middle East, the That the World May Know ® film series will transform your understanding of God and challenge you to be a true follower of Jesus.
Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

You May Also Like