Monday, October 31, 2011

What Are You Thinking?

Revelation 10:9
So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, "Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but 'in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.'"

Bright as a button, but never one for schoolwork - that describes my youngest stepson, Nicco, to a "T". No matter how we cajoled, helped, berated, punished, or bribed him throughout his school career, he fought us and his teachers tooth and nail. Every struggling step of the way.

When he failed a class, he failed abjectly. When he passed, it was usually by the skin of his teeth. If he didn't like a teacher, it was over before it began.

The harder we tried to convince him that there will always be the unlikeable boss or co-worker in the real world, the more staunchly he dug in his heels. We couldn't get though to him.

Our advice fell on deaf ears.

Always . . .

At this point, maybe you're wondering the following: "What? Wasn't there anything you could hold over this child's head to turn him around? To make him tow the line? To help him make the grade?"

The answer? Nothing! Nothing worked. We tried everything.


We were exasperated. At least, we thought gratefully, he hasn't committed a crime or landed his rear in jail. Things could be much worse, right? Right? Right?

Just when we thought it safe to exit the bunker, the bomb dropped . . .

Nicco turned eighteen the day I drafted this blog. His decision? Drop out of high school.

Drop out of high school??? What are you thinking? ARE you thinking? Do you know the consequences? We've warned you! Repeatedly! Dropping out of school means leaving us, living with your mother.

Nothing sinks in for him but the sweet promise of freedom from school. The rich, honeyed taste lingering on his lips for days, for weeks, for months . . .

Until the bile rises, vile and nauseating.

The school of hard knocks, the one called life, turns the stomach sour, leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

It's only a matter of time, but it is a certainty. It is a sadness, profound and ponderous.

May he be the prodigal son . . .


For whom are you praying to return "home"?

Let us pray: Loving Father, we have all been, in some way, shape, or form, where Nicco is today. We were in that place where we didn't think we needed You're love, Your favor, or Your forgiveness. We know better now, but we pray in earnest for those who don't. Please reclaim them as Your own for Your Name's sake; bless them in the sanctity of your love. Save them in the power of Your Spirit.


Psalms 56, 57 (58) or 64, 65
Nehemiah 6:1-19
Revelation 10:1-11
Matthew 13:36-43


  1. Hopefully Nicco sees the light and understands the errors of his way; it's a tough world out there and school is probably the easiest thing one ever has to do. You should feel good that you did everything possible in the best interest of Nicco but many times folks have to learn lessons the hard way. My cousin Victoria took a similar path and ended up in jail for drugs before finally seeing the light. Prayers for Nicco and family!!!

  2. There are two routes to learning: via academics, which course allows the answers to be learned with little or no consequence beyond a particular lesson, or reality, which comes with every imaginable consequence beyond a particular lesson. Both are useful, in the long run. The rub is opportunity lost to have a fruitful life in the interim. I suspect the problem is not the teacher. It is not Nicco's intelligence. The problem, I suspect, is that Nicco has never tasted victory. Nicco has not learned the lesson that he IS bright, and that learning is actually fun and rewarding, and that once he knows that he has abilities beyond his preconceptions, then he will enjoy using those abilities. As you know, Martha, it is fun, AND rewarding, to receive the highest grade in the class. Nicco is capable of that. He just doesn't know that. One taste of victory, one taste of wildly exceeding his own expectations, could light a fire that will be difficult to quench. Lord ignite Nicco's fire to quest knowledge. Show Nicco that he can exceed where he thought he could only fail. Give him the strength tho persevere and successfully complete his high school education. Lead him to understand your plan for his life and to become a success in all that he attempts to do to fulfill that plan. AMEN.

  3. It is true and the reality is so hard to watch. I have always thought that what we feel as parents, the joy and the disappointment, is exactly how God feels about us as he warns us, watches us, and then pick us up.

  4. well there is always the army. for me it was the navy i wanted to see the world. i am sure you gave him a good heart. god bless

  5. I have 3 kids 22, 17, 15,,,all going through the school of hard knocks...will be needing this payer and man others...As always...XOXOXOXOO

  6. I will pray for's so hard to sit by and watch out kids make what we know are mistakes. Unfortunately, when they are that age, that's all we can do, is watch, pray and be there when they fall to catch them. May God light the path before Nicco, may he find something he is passionate about and may he pursue that, finding meaning and a way he can support himself.

  7. Hi Martha:
    This MAY be difficult to hear now and MAY tune it out. Ya know what? That's fine. But I'll say it anyway:
    Eventually, we all find our way. God has a plan for all of us and while you may feel betrayed by your stepson at the moment, KNOW that this isn't the life God has planned for him. For some comfort you may NOT want at the moment, but perhaps later check out these couple of blog columns I wrote about this topic:






    Okay, Martha:
    That should keep you busy for awhile. If I can say one MORE thing from personal experience:
    When I was in high school I didn't excel the way I could have. Even after high school during my first stint at higher education I wasn't motivated. Ya know why?

    It was because I was trying to satisfy everyone else's expectations of me. I wasn't looking out for what **I** wanted. I was looking to make my family say:
    We're proud of you. Because I wasn't trying to make myself happy I failed at life.

    It took me close to 10 years before I understood this. I FINALLY decided that if I was to succeed I had to do what I wanted and to hell w/what other people wanted me to do. So after much discord, I re-enrolled in at Southern CT State University and majored in Library Science. My family continued to pressure me and ask what I was going to do w/a Library Science Degree. I KNEW beyond doubt that I'd be hired at my local library.

    And ya know what? I was.

    So while your family life seems bleak at the moment, know that everyone EVENTUALLY finds their way and it only happens when children are left to make their own decisions. Children have to be left to make their own way. Parents eventually have to step out of the way.

    I know it's easy for me to stand back here and say this, Martha. But trust God. HE won't let you or your family down. As Wayne Dyer is fond of saying:
    Row, row row your boat gently DOWN the stream.

    Don't row against the current. Don't struggle.

    Sorry this wound up being so long but this is something I'm passionate about.

  8. These comments and posts are extremely helpful right now. Thanks for taking the time to put your thoughts down. @CHris - I need to speak with Nicco tonight since he has missed school again; your words have helped me so very much.

  9. @Danny:
    Glad to help. I don't profess to be an expert at any ONE individual's family dynamics. Only speaking from my OWN personal and spiritual experience. I wish you the best during this exasperating time. Know that this to shall pass and you'll come through this storm stronger for having experienced it.

    Good luck!
    Thoughts are with you!

  10. Wow, my dear friends, your thoughts and blessings and prayers for Nicco have overwhelmed me . . . fighting tears of gratitude for all of you right now. What tremendous love you have shown!
    @David - Thank you for your prayers; I hope he doesn't go the way of Victoria - so glad to know she was able to turn it around!
    @Hank - Whenever there was something hands-on at school, Nicco was very successful, so he did see some encouragement there. He has always been strong-willed and hard to communicate with. I thank you for the beautiful, touching prayer you wrote!
    @Roy - Great thought, but Nicco is not the type to take orders. And that's exactly what the military requires. He does have a good heart, just misplaced intentions.
    @Bonnie - consider your children prayed for daily (and you, too, of course)!
    @Jessica - yes, it is so hard to watch your children choose the wrong road but, at Nicco's age, all we can do is pray for him and be there to dust him off when those hard knocks of life come at him. He is talented in working with his hands - we are praying he can get a job using his innate skills.
    @Chris - thank you for taking so much time to share your personal experiences with growing up. It has truly been a comfort! Yes, God does have a plan for all of us and we need to trust that. Our plans for our children are not necessarily included in that deal. It hurts so . . . and thanks for your kind words to Danny - he needs them more than anyone!
    I will be sure to check out the blogs you listed. I need to make a note to myself to check out Google Plus! I'm always forgetting!

    May God bless each and every one of you!

  11. It sounds like school is just not for Nico, but life is. Blessings to him. I know he must have many positive qualities, though he doesn't learn in traditional ways.

  12. Thank you, Myrna, for stopping by today and leaving these encouraging words. The sad thing is that Nicco CAN learn in traditional ways, but has never seen the value in it. It's his way or the highway, so to speak.
    He does have positive qualities and talents that I pray God will use in a mighty way.

  13. I could not help but remember the lyrics to Crossroads by Don McLean:
    I’ve got nothing on my mind: nothing to remember,
    Nothing to forget. and I’ve got nothing to regret,
    But I’m all tied up on the inside,
    No one knows quite what I’ve got;
    And I know that on the outside
    What I used to be, I’m not anymore.

    You know I’ve heard about people like me,
    But I never made the connection.
    They walk one road to set them free
    And find they’ve gone the wrong direction.

    But there’s no need for turning back
    `cause all roads lead to where I stand.
    And I believe I’ll walk them all
    No matter what I may have planned.

    Can you remember who I was? can you still feel it?
    Can you find my pain? can you heal it?
    Then lay your hands upon me now
    And cast this darkness from my soul.
    You alone can light my way.
    You alone can make me whole once again.

    We’ve walked both sides of every street
    Through all kinds of windy weather.
    But that was never our defeat
    As long as we could walk together.

    So there’s no need for turning back
    `cause all roads lead to where we stand.
    And I believe we’ll walk them all
    No matter what we may have planned.

  14. Oh, David, this is so poignant, so beautiful, I'm reduced to tears . . .

    "You alone can light my way. You alone can make me whole once again."

    It is God, indeed, who sees us through our times of brokenness and hurt. It is He who will walk us all along the paths He has planned for us. When we are Humpty-Dumpties, crushed and lifeless, it is He who breathes new life and hope into us.

    I am praying for the best in this situation we are facing.

    Blessings, my friend!

  15. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are My ways above your ways and My thoughts above your thoughts …” Isaiah 55: 8-9

    God knows the plans he has for Nicco. (Jeremiah 29:11)
    They may not be your plans for him, but they are God’s. Trust him to lead Nicco.

  16. Thanks so much, Debra.
    We are praying for just that - God knows the plans, we don't. Let go and let God . . .


  17. Martha and Danny - I'm sure that you both have done your best with Nicco. I'm sure too you know that every child is different. My brother too had a lot of struggles with school and eventually never completed his graduation (Bachelors degree - almost a must in India). However, he has many other great skills which he was able to use to get a good job and now start his own business. He is also one of the most knowledgeable people I know - self-learning being his thing. Perhaps, you should get Nicco to do a SWOT analysis to find out more about himself...and so decide the road ahead. Will be praying for him and you both. Keep faith in the Lord and in Nicco -he needs you more than he might let on.

  18. Thank you so much, Corinne, for the marvelous words of encouragement and for your prayers for Nicco.
    I'm so glad things turned out well for your brother in spite of the lack of a degree. That is most heartening in light of what we face!
    The suggestion of the SWOT analysis is also helpful. I will certainly suggest this to Danny!
    Thanks again for all your kindness.
    Blessings always!

  19. Not everything that we believe to be the correct way is the correct way for everyone. Maybe he struggled for reasons nobody ever thought of or found. All people learn differently and in my experience, when school is difficult the learning we are suppose to be doing makes things worse for us. There are many people who made something wonderful of themselves and never finished school. The best thing you can do for him is love him and not harp him. Dropping out of school isn't the end of the world. He is 18 now and whatever choices he makes are his and his alone. Sometimes the best thing for your child is to just have faith that they will find their way without hurting themselves or anyone else.

  20. Encourage Nicco to develop his gifts, talents, and abilities and hopefully in time (with much prayer on your part) he will find his way. What is he good at(Yes, I know this is terrible grammar). In what things does he excel? What does he enjoy doing? What makes him happy? Does he compare himself with others? Has he always been this way? I would suggest you and Danny declare verses of Scripture over him. Decree and declare that Nicco has the mind of Christ and that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him. If he is not a believer, first remit his sins, and ask the Holy Spirit to draw him to the truth who is Jesus so that one day he can become a mighty warrior (and worshipper) for the Kingdom of God. Speak the Word of God over him. For example "We thank You, heavenly Father, that the good work You have begun in Nicco, You are faithful to complete." Also, declare Ephesians 3:20-21. I am citing Ephesians 3:14-21 which is a great prayer: "For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,[c] 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—19to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is
    able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."


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