Friday, September 23, 2016

Manipulators and Stalking

Manipulative people do not understand the concept of boundaries. They are relentless in their pursuit of what they want and they have no regard for who gets hurt along the way. ~Unknown

Every time I would begin to write on my blog, my thoughts are consumed by what is going on within my family, and yet every time I begin writing about it.... Well, I just cannot really type out what I wanted. I do not have writer's block, but rather I am blocking my writing. I am stuck in a perpetual loop of wanting to write about what I feel and yet I feel I should not write about it at the same time.

It is wearing.

I am watching as the anxiety my daughter is feeling internally manifests externally into sleeping problems and a skin condition that she had overcame from her anxiety about school last year.

I am often chasing after our new puppy, who has to go out about every hour during the day, chews on anything that happens to be near his mouth and thinks grabbing shoes or socks to play the keep-away game with me is just the funnest game ever...the little dickens. He is a welcomed diversion, but quite demanding of my energy and attention, both in short supply currently.

Also, I am loosing weight unintentionally. It is a very rare thing in my life, which only happened a few times ever. I did fast about a month ago to lose weight, but usually when I am under stress I tend to eat more and gain. This time I am forcing myself to eat and then I usually feel worse afterward. Right now I am at a good healthy weight for me with clothes fitting more comfortably, but how my body is handling it presently feels like as if I am underweight by about ten pounds. I have little energy to spare, I get headaches nearly every day, I do not sleep well, and I get shaky and sometimes lightheaded.

So, even though I have written bits and pieces over the past year with the most recent being Deception and Distrust, which also refers to this last incident, I am going to type about this elephant in the room right out loud here:

I do not understand any parent who thinks her son is just "a learning young man with teenage feelings" after reading through an Instagram Direct Message where her son convinced my daughter, who has a desire and gift for helping people, that she is helping him divert his attention away from his porn addiction because they are "married in the mind" and then he proceeds to try to manipulate her into being his cyberwife on demand KNOWING she is not really understanding what he was doing (because he himself even wrote that she was not "getting it") and then he seals that deal with saying everything between them was ordained by God and moral since they are married in the mind!

My daughter is so trusting and lacking in discernment that when someone tells her God told them or God has given His blessing on anything, she believes them, especially if she trusts the person. Unfortunately, not all people who say such things are worthy of that kind of trust.

When they were talking of hugging and cuddling, my daughter quite literally was thinking of hugging and cuddling, but J-Void (my nickname for him) was thinking something quite beyond that. We had to explain to my daughter what J-Void was actually referring to, because as the boy already knew, she really did not know. She turned white and became sick. When we explained that she had become his "alternative" to porn, she looked so hurt, confused, and angry. J-Void apparently had promised her that he would never think of her in that way...and yet he did far worse, by making her the object of his lust and trying to manipulate her into being a willing participant. It was never consensual, because she honestly had no idea what he was doing, only that she trusted him not to use her in that way.

Being that there was no physical contact, some might think no real harm done or that I did more harm revealing the truth. Well, obviously, they are not the ones who are living with the fallout from this kind of violation to their own daughter or what is like to have a manipulator have such a hold on your daughter, when you know she is being used.

There are far more details to this than I am going to write here, including text and email messages between the mother and us beginning from about a year ago. In fact, if I did not have the hard copies of all the evidence in my own hands, I would have difficulty believing that ANY parent would say the things she has, especially after something like this latest thing, and without any apology whatsoever as to what emotional harm this has done to my daughter. Here are two of my favorites she texted to my husband:

  • "Aside from our parental issues which I would welcome working through, if there would be someway for us to allow these two to see each other occasionally in a supervised setting with other friends, I think it would be healthy for them so that their only connection isn't limited to strained stolen digital moments."
  • "I feel fairly certain [the Princess] will be in our lives in some way in the years to come." (We took this one to be a veiled threat.)

The gist of these two quotes, that she wants to have my daughter and J-Void have a chance to see each other, combine to be the only constant theme in all her communications with us...well, there are two more to add to that:
  1. The mother uses a shame-blame tactic stating we are hurting both of the kids by keeping them apart. (As if hers and son's deeds are inconsequential.)
  2. The mother is always accusing us of making assumptions about her without asking any questions. (As if she is the victim.)

Between the boy and his mother, we have experienced every one of the manipulation tactics on this list since this whole thing stated last year. (Yes, there is a father, but we have heard nothing from him.)

I just want to point something out here - GOD NEVER USES THESE TACTICS!

Now for the rest of the story:

This is the profile of the intimacy-seeking stalker:

Intimacy Seeking stalking arises out of a context of loneliness. Victims are usually strangers or acquaintances who become the target of the stalker’s desire for a relationship. Frequently Intimacy Seeking stalkers’ behaviour is fuelled by delusional beliefs about the victim, such as the belief that they are already in a relationship, even though none exists (erotomanic delusions). The initial motivation is to establish an emotional connection and an intimate relationship. The stalking is maintained by the gratification that comes from the belief that they are closely linked to another person. These are the longest in duration compared to the four other types of stalkers.

Remember that J-Void was a very shy boy, who did not talk to anyone at school, and then like flipping a switch he was professing his love for the Princess after they began talking for just two weeks on Hangouts, while he was constantly trying to get her to reciprocate. Sounds innocent considering they were just fourteen, but within just a few more weeks J-Void's actions became more bizarre. I have to say that in this case he was somewhat successful because the Princess also believed she was in love with him, so J-Void believed he had some confirmation that his feelings were reciprocated, even though neither one of them is mature enough to understand what "love" really is.

In the last month, without direct access to the Princess, the boy has gone into a stalking mode on the Internet. We dealt with him harassing my husband at work through texts and calls as well as us both through emails months before, but this time he is using her friends on Instagram to see her. When her account was public, he followed everyone that she did and probably everyone that followed her. Now her account is private and she is blocking him AND I have full access to her account, plus I started my own which is public. We had changed her name, so he would not even know who she was or if she was still on Instagram, but he later figured it out.

We are not changing her name again because...well, it is poetic: Shadow comes out to play. As parents, we felt like we have been trying to hide her in the shadows of the Internet and she was in the shadows at times circumventing us, but now everything between us is in the open and in the Light. She would rather have more privacy, but she is not a confident in her judgement about who she can trust at this point, so she is more accepting that I will be monitoring all her private conversations, in compliance with our rules.

J-Void figured it out the new name and addressed her directly (they call it tagging there) after she commented on a mutual friend's post. The Princess warned him to stay away or she would ask her parents to get a restraining order. However, this was just one more time of a number of times this boy has crossed the line. We had previously sent his parents an email warning for him and and his mother not to contact our daughter in ANY way from that point on or we would seek legal action. We have ZERO tolerance left on this matter when it comes to protecting my daughter. I do not know if they bothered to advise the boy or not and, at this point, I do not care, because it is obvious he is obsessed and thanks to the Internet and his fantasy, he is on a perpetual "date" with or "marred" to my daughter "in his mind."

We requested an officer's report on this incident last week.

There is still other stuff going on with this beyond what I have shared here on this matter, but this is as far I am going for now.

My Lord, I am so tired, so very tired of this situation, of seeing what has done to my daughter. I want it to end but I am concern it will not. This boy, my Lord...all I can do it pray that You will intervene in his life so he will let go of my daughter in his heart and mind. I ask whatever soul ties that have been formed between them be severed completely.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Three Nights with No Midnight

The cat is the only animal which accepts the comforts but rejects the bondage of domesticity. ~Georges Louis Leclerc de Buffon

When you're used to hearing purring and suddenly it's gone, it's hard to silence the blaring sound of sadness. ~Terri Guillemets

Introducing a new member to the family always requires adjustments. Mishka, being young, adjusted easily to the new environment and schedules, but he has not been really introduced to our two cats. He has seen both cats from a distance, but we are allowing the cats to take their time to get acquainted in their own ways.

Sharii has been the bolder one, mostly because he has the stronger claim on the home territory and stays closer to home most of the time. He was a kitten being introduced to our Hanah about six years ago. He warmed up to her quickly. He always rubbed up against Hanah purring loudly and Hanah used to try to back away because eventually he would begin wrapping around her legs and biting her. Sharii loves just about everything that does not make loud or strange noises. That same Sharii has sat on the back deck watching Mishka through the glass door without any threat. He even was within a foot in the back yard with a fence between them. However, Mishka is a little too much puppy for Sharii to try his direct affections on him yet.

Now Midnight is quite different in her approach. For one, Midnight is not a dog lover, nor much of a cat lover either...she is a people lover, although I am her favorite human as far as I know. While Hanah was trying to get away from Sharii, she also just loved Midnight, but Midnight did not love her. Midnight would run away from Hanah and Hanah would chase her within our perimeter. Pretty much, Sharii would do the same, so Midnight often leaves the property to go to other places around the neighborhood or in the woods for much of the day. Being the smallest cat in the neighborhood has its disadvantages, but one thing she is very good at is finding places to hide and she is a very friendly to everyone. I often see her approach someone, plop down, and roll around in front of them...who cannot resist petting her or even picking her up? Most people think she a half-grown kitten but she is five years old.

So, Midnight was not even in the mindset to want to warm up to a new exuberant hunk of fluff that likes to chase and out weights her by more than double with paws about half the size of her head, but when she saw me picking up the, her protector from dogs and Sharii, me, who makes sure I spend at least 20 minutes almost every day giving her quality time and primming her. Well, her look said it all.

Midnight has stayed away overnight before, but not often. Unless she has food from a hunt, she usually comes home for dinner and when she is not here, we ring a bell. We have done this since the cats were kittens. We rang a bell when they were eating so that they would associate the bell to meals, knowing they were to be outside cats. I can ring it at anytime of the day and because it can be heard all over. They both usually show up within in few minutes even if they are not that nearby.

We came home on Tuesday from our errands and Midnight did not show up even to the bell. I was a little more concerned than usual because of the new puppy factor, but puppies need lots of attention so I was distracted most of the following days. I had not seen Midnight and my daughter failed to mention that she had not come to dinner the next day either, but I knew because even though Sharii is rough with her and does not mind her being out and about during the day, he sorely misses her when she does not come for dinner and he is all alone in the garage for the night. Sometimes he will not eat if she is not there...well, he will not eat right away. We heard his mournful howling for hours.

Thursday evening after ringing the bell and not seeing my Midnight, I began knocking on a few neighbors' doors showing a picture of Midnight on my smart phone. Yeah, that cat gets around but most said like us they had not seen her for two days. I have always had this concern about Midnight that someone would take her or at least take her inside their house so she could not get out. Midnight loves going inside houses, but also hates being forced to stay in. I often let her in on hot or cold days to take a nap on my lap or a chair. She paws at the glass door in the back when she wants to come in.

I went out the next morning calling her and meeting some of the parents at the bus stops. Still no Midnight. I was planning to go a different direction to knock on doors that evening, but a neighbor I had talked to stopped by and showed me a picture of Midnight saying his daughter was friends with a girl whose family had found the cat, although they would not be home for a couple more hours.

After dinner I went to get my cat. The father of four young children answered the door and I showed him the picture, He said he figured she belonged to someone and he was just holding her until they could locate the owner. I thought this family might be new to the neighborhood as we now have quite a few rentals here, but no, they have lived here for six years. He said Midnight just walked right up to him and was very friendly. I told the children that if Midnight comes around again that they can pet her but I asked that they do not take her inside the house because she cannot come home and that she has a "brother" that missed her so badly that he has been crying for her for the past two days.

They said good-bye and I asked if they would like the collars back because I do not put collars on outside cats that hunt and can get them caught, but the father said no. I carried Midnight home, who seemed happy to let me, but she was not herself...she was not purring as she usually does when being carried by me. One of the collars was a flea collar, which makes me ill and they do not stop fleas anyway. I think Midnight hated it too and it was making her sick as well. I took off both and began combing her out. Fleas are always a problem for the cats, but they are a bit happier after I comb them out.

Midnight seemed to just be tolerating the combing instead of fully relaxing. After her dinner and a night with Sharii, everything was back to normal the next day. Midnight even tried to approach me when I took Mishka out...she came within 18 inches of him. I picked her up, showing her again that I will not let the puppy pester her. Her willingness to approach me while with him proved to me that she was not staying away just because of Mishka. She was content up on her regular perch on my left shoulder...but she has not yet purred once for me since her return.

There is so much going on in our lives right now, but as I prayed about Midnight, God was telling me that she would be coming back...vague on the how and when, though. So I was not highly worried, I just wanted to get her back where she belongs. Midnight was out and about yesterday to come around at dinner time. I gave her lots of attention and combing out yesterday as she fully relaxed in the early evening, but still no purring. She is out napping in some cool spot right now, I would think, enjoying her freedom once again.

Thank you, my Lord, for all my pets, and for protecting and bringing Midnight back to me. Of all the pets I have ever owned, I have always felt she needs my protection the most.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Real Puppy Love Coming Very Soon

Happiness is a warm puppy. -Charles M. Schulz

After losing Hanah, we have been looking for a puppy. I love the look and smarts of Belgian Tervurens, but they can be rather demanding of exercise and attention. Hanah was a rather hyper German Shepherd (GSD) because she was originally from Czechoslovakia lines, which are working dogs a bit on the smaller side of the breed. We tossed it back and forth between a Terv and a GSD, but breeders are fewer for Tervs and I finally decided to it would be better if we had the calmer-temperamented GSD.

I was not in a big hurry to get another dog, because I still have not finished the master bathroom. I have been kind of under some emotional strain of late as you might understand from my previous post. However, it is also because of that emotional strain that we decided we need some REAL puppy love in this house hoping it would be therapy for all of us, but especially the Princess.

My husband found a wonderful breeder about three hours south of us. Yes, there are other breeders closer with available dogs, but my husband is quite particular about not just the dog, but from whom the dog comes. We wanted a male with the plush or rough coat, which has longer hair than the stock coat. Our first GSD, Sasha, was a rough coat. This breeder had two males left both with rough coats.

We drove three hours one way to see the two puppies about two weeks ago on a Sunday. They were about six weeks old. One had a teal ribbon on his collar and the other, green. They had been outside in a moveable pen so all six were let out. We watched them together and how they played with each other and the toys. One kept catching my eye more than the other. The teal one seemed to be just as happy playing with a toy by himself as being with the others. The green seemed to just like everything but not anything particular thing and was maybe a bit more cuddly. The sun's position made it time to take them inside. Being so young, then they mostly wanted to sleep. However, the teal one would try to stay up and play. I watched him struggle against his sleepiness three times, lying down and then going back to a toy, before he gave up completely and the green just succumbed as soon as he found a cozy spot in the whelping box. Guess which one we all picked?

I like cuddly but these males will be about 85 pounds full grown and we want a loving but well-trained, protective dog. So, after handing the breeder our money to hold the cute teal one with the stronger drive, we stopped to eat and started on names. For the AKC registration, we have to pick a name that began with "F," because he was in the F litter. (It's a breeder / records standard thing.) We could, of course, have a completely different call name.

For the papers, we decided on Fenris, a Norse mythological monster wolf. I just think he would be every canine's dream hero. We thought about using the same name for his call name but everyone had other ideas.

The breeder was anxious for the call name, knowing we did not like Frankie as she had been calling him for training. Oh, At six weeks, her puppies have learn the German commands, as done in Schutzhund training (now called IPO), for sit, lie down, come, and here. Our last two dogs were trained in Schutzhund commands well, but Hanah actually was formerly trained and passed Level 1 trials.

We discussed, laughed, got frustrated, and argued over names for a few days. Hanah was already named and at six years old and we actually liked the name, so we kept it. Sasha was just the perfect name that my husband and I both liked, and because it was so perfect it has been a greater challenge to find a another really good one. Sasha is a Russia male name derived from Alexander which means "friend and defender of men." I looked at all the other variations of Alexander but none really stood out. We found it funny that most Americans think of Sasha as a girl's name here, even my mother-in-law referred to him as "her" for the first few years.

So, our previous two GSDs were Sasha and Hanah...and I had in mind another foreign name and, although it was not that important, in the back of my mind I think I was also hoping for one that ended with an "a". Then I came across one that just hit me and the Princess just right. My husband was slower to warm up to it, but he is letting us go with it. So this is....

Mishka (MEESH ka)

Mishka is a Russian name deriving from Michael, meaning "Who is like God?" In Russia, it is used for both boys and girls...and something else: here we have the teddy bear, there they have the mishka. It is also a term of endearment in Russia. You may have heard in a movie "my little mishka." I knew it was not the top three picks for my husband but I thought he might get to like it more because we have pet names for each other and his is T.B. (for teddy bear).

There are a few other cultures that use Mishka as a name. In Hindu, it means "gift of love." In Arabic, it is "light of the candle" or "illuminator of knowledge."

We just cannot go wrong with this name!

We have been receiving pictures and updates every few days. One thing the breeder-trainer told us is that Mishka pays a LOT of attention when being given commands. We knew he was the one!

We made arrangements for picking up Mishka on Labor Day, but it worked out that Sunday was better for the breeder, although it is two days short of the eight week age, which she prefers. Yes, we will be skipping church, but we just cannot wait for our little Mishka!

Thank you, my Lord, for this young life that will grow to be our protector and our friend. We are looking forward to the years of companionship he will bring to our lives.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Deception and Distrust

When one side benefits more than the other, that's a win-lose situation. To the winner it might look like success for a while, but in the long run, it breeds resentment and distrust. -Stephen Covey

On the day my daughter finished her standardized test and I was feeling rather elated, I found out something that she had been hiding from us...and my emotions went to a very different direction. This all happened on August 17th and it is the reason I have not been blogging.

Just a week or so before, I discovered that the Princess had opened an Instagram account about two months prior without our permission. I looked it over, what I could see on my computer, and there was nothing going on with her and her contacts that my husband and I would oppose. So, even though we expressed our disappointment with her breaking our rule about not opening any accounts without asking us first and then not telling us about for two months, we decided that we would allow it on two conditions.

The first was simple: change her user name. She had used her real name and I will not even use my real name online, which is one of the many reasons I will not do Facebook. She has been warned about this many times and it was a simple fix.

The second one...well, that takes some explanation. There was a boy at the Learning Center that had a crush on the Princess from the beginning of the school year last year when they were both 14 years old. Having full access to all my daughter's accounts, I was reading all their Google Hangout conversations. Things went from casual teen talk to professions of his love within two weeks and I noticed that he seemed too possessive. Our daughter had been having anxiety and sleeping issues and she became a bit too dependent on this boy at the same time. It just seemed to be an unbalanced and unhealthy start for just a first crush. We had to restrict her tech and start placing extra rules on her about how often and when they could talk. That is when we began to really see obsessive behaviors from him.

After the high school retreat in the first week of November my husband and I decided to pull the Princess out of the school mostly to get her away from contact with this boy and his mother. I am not going to go through all that transpired between that time and this latest incident as I have already bogged about in November and December last year (2015), but I just want to say that could easily see where this would go if the boy was not supervised and with what happened at the retreat, we also felt that his mother was not someone we could trust either.

So, the boy, now 15 years old (and just a year away from having car), was also on Instagram because he and the Princess understandably share some of the same friends. Seeing this, the second condition was that the Princess kept everything between them public and would not allow any private contact. We were hoping that this way they both would keep things on a friendship level. She agreed. I even asked her if she had contacted him privately and she said no, but there was just something....

My husband suspected she was in contact with the boy two months before and she again was not sleeping at night, dragging in the mornings. Seeing the Instagram we thought, we hoped, it may be just that, although I do not think either of us really believed it. I wondered if there was more I could see if I had direct access to her account. Apparently, Instagram only shows the public stuff and the general account settings on a computer, but when I downloaded the app to my cell phone with account access...well, let me just say that I was not happy to see that she had been talking to the boy privately even after she said she had not been. Teenagers!

But what really upset me is what I read.

Now, I just have to say that my daughter is naive in a good Christian way—was naive, actually, because we had to explain to her just what the boy was referring to during some of their conversations. Once she fully understood, she began seeing the boy in a different tint than the rose-colored glasses she had been wearing. He had dishonored God and her. She is hurt, confused, and quite angry. My Princess has a tendency to try to shut off her emotions, hold them down, and not be angry at anyone, but there are times one has to allow herself to be angry at the person who hurt her to overcome it and truly forgive, otherwise the unresolved anger will sour many other relationships. Trying to let it out has been a trial for her as she is sorting out her emotions.

However, I believe she finally understands that her father and I set rules about all conversations on the Internet to protect her from whomever she is talking as well as protect both of them from themselves. Chaperoning all her contacts online and in person is the only way to insure that such contact is kept honorable.

I had planned to start homeschooling the Thursday after the standardized test, but instead my husband had read the conversation Wednesday night and decided to take off for that day for a family emergency and... then actually ended up getting sick from the stress it caused him. Even though the mother had known about the private conversation three weeks before us—we knew that because she posted a message to our daughter through her son's account—she did not tell us anything about it. After my husband contacted the mother by text about the conversation, she still tried to get us to think about allowing our daughter to meet with her son...supervised, of course. My husband advised her to get some expert help.

Details will not be discussed here, but...yeah, it is that bad!  Next step if the mother or her son contact the Princess ever again is to get a restraining order and they have been warned. Even our daughter wants no contact at all from the boy now.

It will take some time for the Princess to recover from this one. Right now we have to focus on the emotional well-being of our daughter so that she herself can recognize the difference between a healthy, honorable relationship and an unhealthy, dishonoring one. Almost an entire year has been spent on this, but at least this time, this very last time, the boy did exactly what my husband and I knew he would when given the opportunity and our daughter could see it for herself.

Still makes me very sad for both of them.

My Lord, the world is so different than when I was fifteen. We did not have the Internet to provide 24/7 access to any of our friends. It has its good points but also it has its bad side, especially for teenagers who lack maturity. Too much access to too many things that teens should not have access to. I pray the boy receives the help he really needs and that this situation will not escalate. Please help my daughter to deal with her feelings of betrayal.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Still, Still Pleased Homeschool Mama

The idea is to educate, not follow anyone’s schedule about when something should be studied. –Ray Drouillard

As required by my state every three years, the Princess did her standardized test. It was the California Achievement Test (CAT) from Academic Excellence. This time I chose the untimed online version. Last time my daughter was in tears because she was unable to finish math portions of the timed online version, even though she still score above average in math. I wanted her to have opportunity to build her confidence with this test and I hope to to the timed test next year to challenge her.

She did very well. I ranked this from highest to lowest scores like I did in Still Pleased Homeschooling Mama. The Language Usage & Structure portion did not get recorded the first time she took it and she rushed through it the second time, making more errors than she might have the first time, so I think her score reflected that. I was also pleasantly surprised with her score in Mathematics Concepts & Problems, but not really because I have always thought that she is strongest in that area of math.

Remember that a percentile rank of 50 means that 50 percent of all the tests scored in that range. The raw scores are finite, but the percentile scores fluctuate year to year. However, in this test it does not because it is based on 1970 percentiles, which I am sad to say are still higher than our present day scores because the raw scores are lower now.

Subject Raw Score Grade Equivalent Percentile Rank Stanine
Language Mechanics 77/80 13.699 9
Reading Comprehension 37/45 13.6 95 8
Language Spelling 28/32 13.6 938
Reading Vocabulary 31/40 13.0 82 7
Mathematics Concepts & Problems 36/50 13.6 79 7
Language Usage & Structure 28/54 10.7 58 5
Mathematics Computation 35/48 10.3 52 5

The grade equivalent score do not mean that she knows as much as someone at the 13.6 level, but that if a person at the 13.6 level took this same test, he would be in the same range of right and wrong answers for the raw scores.

The Stanine is a bit different. It is based on 100% broken down in set percentiles for each rank of 1 - 9. For instance, the 9 rating would only be received by 4% and on the other end the 1 rating would only be received by 4%. 7% is set for 8 or 2, 12% for 7 or 3, 17% for 6 and 4, and 20% for 5.

I am writing this not just as a brag but for any homeschooling parent to understand something. This year of homeschooling for us...well, my state requires the equivalent 180 days with 4.5 hours. I do not even think we did even half  of that, because of many emotional issues that were going on within our family and yet my daughter still learned. She loves to write and read, so she still learned. I provided her with a strong foundation for all the years previously and I see how that pays off.

My goal in homeschooling was to have a child that loves to learn, be challenged, and finds what she loves to do using her talents. I have to remind myself of that often because I get caught up in what we might be missing too much.

My Lord, thank you for guiding us through a very tough year and seeing that it was not really a set back for my daughter gave us both confidence. Bless our homeschool efforts this year.

Telling a Secret, Breaking a Promise, and Just Trusting God's Timing

Better break your word than do worse in keeping it. ~Thomas Fuller

The Princess is much like I am but more so like I was when I was her age. Her father refers to her as seeing things in "black and white," and I so get that. It makes sense. Either something is in God's favor or it is not. However, the world has many shades of grey and there are times when a gray does not seem to fit into the black or white category. She also has this gift with people, she draws them in and draws things out from them that they would never tell anyone. I remember sitting and talking with the loneliest looking kids in high school, basically segregating myself permanently from the popular teens, who looked down on me. So, I get this with my own child.

This past week, I broke a promise I made to the Princess. From her point of view, it was a promise that was to be for-e-ver. From my point of view, it was a promise that was meant only for a time. It is a sensitive issue that centers around one of her friends and it also, it is an issue that I felt that should be known by the parents of the child eventually.

I love having information at my finger tips and being able to stay in touch with friends far away, but the Internet has its bad side and teens being teens will be drawn into it and pass along this darkside knowledge and practices. Plus, there seems to be no subject that is taboo in this day and age. Having been youth group leaders for some years, some years ago before home computers became a necessity of life, I have to say that we had our share of troubles that go with the territory, but the territory of teens has changed so much that there are a number of things we never even heard of until the past decade. Even then, my husband and I had to walk a fine line between keeping the trust of our teens and keeping the trust of the parents and the church. Sometimes teens tell a youth group leader things that their parents really need to know.

The Princess had been asking me for advice on a matter about an anonymous friend and I so appreciated her trust in me in comparison to where our relationship was last year with her keeping secrets about herself. The more she talked about the problem, little things slipped that helped me to identify the person. Still, I kept this secret for a couple of months until my Lord placed it heavily on my mind every day to inform the child's parents.

Now there were many factors to consider, like how the child's parents would take the news being a big one. However, the biggest factor for me was how my daughter would take me telling them. You see, after all that happened last year, I have been working and praying to have a good relationship with her again. We have bumps, but I knew this one she might consider unforgivable.

I felt like Abraham taking his son to be sacrificed. We were in this good place (so I thought but that will be another post) and here God is now asking me to do something that may sacrifice that relationship with my daughter. I did not want to do it and wrestled with it for a couple of weeks. Finally, I just had to trust my Lord. Trust His timing. Trust Him with my daughter. Trust Him to help this friend and the family.

The mother took it well, although I am sure she was concerned. She thanked me. She is thankfully one of those mothers who would rather know, as I am. This is why my husband and I were in disbelief last year when found out things that other adults in charge of my daughter knew but had not informed us. Forgiveness and restoring trust was high on our agenda for the much of the past year.

So the friend told my daughter that I had told the parents. My daughter was livid. She felt that she was handling the situation herself well because she had been encouraging her friend to talk with the parents, even suggested that the friend could have her there for support. While I appreciated her willingness to help her friend, I also had God tugging me to do it differently. I was hoping that the parents would not say anything that would make it come back to my daughter being the leak, but she told the friend herself.

They are still friends. I hear that the friend is really angry with me, which is understandable, as well as worried that I will not allow them to talk in the future, which is not the case. And, I am again trying work on that trust issue that came up between my daughter and me. I know it was the right thing to do, because I am certain it was God's will. I am hoping my daughter sees that God's will is the best way to go, even when we have made other plans we think are good ones. As for the friend, I think he has great parents who love him and have a very strong desire to help him find the path God has for him. His mother told me about a week or so later that they found a Christian counselor whom her son loves and he is willing to talk. Seeing that it was working out well, made it easier for her to forgive me.

I have been trying to teach the Princess—or more likely it is God—to trust God and His timing, to trust me, and learn discernment. She has many gifts but lacks good discernment.

My Lord, this was very hard for me but I thank You, praise You, that it proved You were guiding us all. Help the boy with his challenges and my daughter learn discernment.