Tag: mothering

We Remember: Lydia

We remember Lydia Schatz today, February 6, 2017.

Seven years ago today, 7-year-old Lydia Schatz died after her adoptive parents disciplined her to the point of death.

Lydia was a vivacious little girl, adopted from Liberia.  In the photo below, her smile shows a missing upper tooth — in the same place where my 5-year-old-son is missing a tooth.

Lydia Schatz

Lydia Schatz

 

February tends to be a hard month for me.  I don’t know why it is, but it seems some of the biggest emotional challenges come around in February. A big part of it is remembering and mourning Lydia Schatz and Sean Paddock, and facing the reality of abuse within the church and Christian families.

Lydia’s adoptive parents, Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz were convicted by the courts. Kevin was sentenced to two life terms for second-degree murder and torture and will serve a minimum of 22 years. Elizabeth Schatz sentence is for over 13 years for voluntary manslaughter and infliction of unlawful corporal punishment. These sentences were the result of a plea bargin — originally they were charged with murder related to Lydia’s death, torture related to her sister (also adopted) who was hospitalized but recovered, and cruelty related to a biological son’s injuries.

O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.
Psalm 10:18-19

Lydia’s autopsy revealed that she died from rhabdomyolsis, a condition related to kidney and heart failure from toxins released when muscle tissue breaks down. Lydia’s muscles broke down as a result of repeated beatings over time, though her death was proceeded by an especially long “discipline” session.

Lydia’s parents used a plumbing supply line, which is recommended by Michael and Debi Pearl in their book “To Train Up A Child.” Both plumbing supply line and TTUAC were found in the Schatz home and the older children have attested to those methods being used in their home.

While death is not a common result from the implementation of TTUAC, this is not the first time that a child has died when parents have carefully and consistently applied the so-called “child training methods” espoused by the Pearls. In February 2006, 4-year-old Sean Paddock was killed. How many other unreported cases of quiet abuse are happening under the influenced of these harmful, unBiblical teachings?

Compounding the tragedy is the professed love of these parents for their children, the desire to nurture their children through homeschooling, the commitment to seek out help in parenting.

Further compounding the tragedy is that Lydia and her sister Zaraiah were adopted. Her parents needed to provide love, security, attachment. . . and instead beat them with a plumbing supply line. Sean was a foster son in the process of being adopted.

We need to remember Lydia. We need to remember Sean. We need to remember Hana Williams.

We need to remember the children who need families, who are in families.

We need to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

We need to open our eyes to the abuse within our own communities.

May God have mercy on us all.

 

Lydia Schatz Memorial

CONNECTION, noun [Latin See Connect.] The act of joining or state of being joined; a state of being knit or fastened together; union by junction, by an intervening substance or medium, by dependence or relation, or by order in a series; a word of very general import. There is a connection of links in a chain; a connection between all parts of the human body; a connection between virtue and happiness, and between this life and the future; a connection between parent and child, master and servant, husband and wife; between motives and actions, and between actions and their consequences. In short, the word is applicable to almost every thing that has a dependence on or relation to another thing.

Webster’s Dictionary, 1828

A Theme for Twenty-Seventeen

What is your word for 2017?

I think it is great to have a theme or organizing principle for different seasons in life. It helps me prioritize my energies and serves as a catalyst for growth.

Yet I admit… I’ve been resistant to choosing a “word of the year” for ages — simply because it’s a popular thing to do. Even when it may be helpful, I bristle at adopting something that might seem trendy. Prideful much?

Over the past few months, however, the same theme keeps coming to the surface. In my journalling, my prayer time, my discussions with my husband. . .

So when I listened to Gretchen Rubin’s What’s Your One Word Theme for the New Year?, the word came to mind again and I really knew I had to dedicate 2017 to this idea.

Connected.

A whole-orbed connectedness.

Connected to God.
Connected to myself, body and soul.
Connected to my husband.
Connected to my teens and young adults.
Connected to all my kids.
Connected to my community.

Connected. I feel the Lord has set in front of me the need to really be connected in this season in life — especially connecting to Him and to my teens.

Connected is my theme for 2017.

 

 

**I balk at trendy things, but love Gretchen Rubin? Yes, I have my inconsistencies.

Shifting Sands. . . and Teens

Life has shifted.

My oldest has been away at college for three years. The next three teens graduate high school in the next three years. One right after another.

I had four kids in five years when I was in my 20s.

It was exciting, it was fun, it was exhausting.

Well-meaning people would be sympathetic to the work and energy required, and would offer advice and encouragement. “remember, they are little for such a short time!” I embraced that. The days are long and the years are short, was my mantra when I was knee-deep in laundry and nursing and noise.

What those well-meaning people didn’t remember to say was that they are only teens for a short time, too. One day they would all be starting high school, then I would blink, and they would be gone.

We did treasure the early years. We have happy memories of making play dough and building pyramids and the Sphinx. We did treasure the middle years. We built our family traditions. Even now the kids know to expect socks and underwear in their Christmas stickies, along with some candy and an orange — a tradition started during our leanest years when I tried to make the gifts under the tree look more abundant with necessities.

Your memories are likely much like mine, full of funny family stories and laughter. You were intentional, investing your time and yourself into your children. Even when you remember the struggles, I bet overall you feel like it has been a joy.

Life is good now, too. Yet, I feel a shift in our family dynamics — and something isn’t quite how I want it.

I don’t have the energy I once had, and the intense emotional and intellectual needs of teens is hard. I’ve felt myself become more distracted — distracted both by the logistics of life and the technology right at hand.

I love my teens dearly, and we’ve been a close family. Yet, I get surprised by what I don’t know about them. I’m sad that we aren’t as attached as we once were. I know that they are growing and maturing and that is good — and at the same time, I feel like we can get to a place of being more connected.

This has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s been in my conversations with Hubby and even with the teens. I don’t want us to just drift through these last years at home and drift apart. We need connection.

Reminders to Myself, When Struggling

A friend who homeschools her  kids was sharing her struggles the other day.  I heard in her words such self-condemnation, such self-blame.

When I read it, it reminded me of the downward spiral of thoughts I’ve had at times. . .  “I’m a terrible mother… I’m a terrible wife… I’m a terrible Christian…” These thoughts take hold and have such sway over me, because they are key elements of my calling in life.  Feeling like a failure in areas that are so important to me go swirling in my head.

More often than not, when these feelings take hold in my heart, they have been amplified by hormones.  My post-partum depression felt like PMS on steroids.  Identifying that connection has helped me observe these thoughts and feelings for what they are — thoughts and feelings that are not the full sum of reality.

Do you ever feel that way?  Like the things you value most as a mother are the things you struggle in the most?

Remember, YOU are just the right mother for your children.  God has chosen YOUR children to be nurtured by you.  Regardless of what you are or aren’t doing, YOU are JUST the right mother for your children. THEY are the children God has given to you.

Your strengths and weaknesses are being used by God, in His sovereignty, as they grow in to the people God has created them to be.

I heard my friend share words of frustration — and wanting encouragement to really press in to the effort needed each day.

And I heard her say words  of condemnation — which is not what needs to be taking hold in our hearts.

In the context of struggling to do what we want to do, and the struggle not to sin, Romans 8 reminds me, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 ESV)

Jesus calls us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

And for me, with all the failures (and good things) through the years, I keep meditating upon the the comfort,

“But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
(Lamentations 3:21-23 ESV)

This is the encouragement I need to hear each day.

Please be gentle on yourself, as you accept God’s gentleness. . .