Grieving couple creates care package

thWe are getting Chandler’s first care package ready to send out today. More of his clothes, his backpack, shampoo and conditioner, more pictures to add to the photo album Marti made that we sent along with him, a personal CD player (remember those? He has no access to the Internet so Pandora and iTunes are out), some CDs I think he might like, his camera, and two sweet notes that two of his friends dropped by — the most unlikely ones to do such a thing. These are kind kids. Most of his friends are furious at me for sending him away.

I’m finding that anything I can do for Chandler is therapeutic — like somehow filling in some of the empty space I feel inside. Like I took his camera to a camera store yesterday (did anyone notice camera stores are becoming obsolete?). It had a shattered filter on the lens that I had replaced, and I also got him a camera case. Chandler is an excellent photographer and uses a Canon Rebel we got him for his birthday. It was a joy to get it ready for him.

I also went to a local record store in town (yes, LPs are coming back. They have more LPs than CDs in this store and the owner said they would be out of business if it weren’t for their sales of vinyl). I told him about Chandler’s tastes and he suggested a couple CDs I bought for him. This is a bit of a challenge since Chandler doesn’t recognize music by the artist or band as much as by style and the online programs that play music randomly by genre.

I even went to the local convenience store that he and his friends frequent and got some of his favorite candy. Awful stuff, but I got it anyway.

Anything to help lessen the pain.

When we talk on the phone — which has been almost every day so far — something’s different. The first few days were brutal, but it’s getting better now. We talk about things I would never talk to him about if we were in the car together driving somewhere. He would have turned me off in mid-sentence. And get this: I wasn’t in on this conversation, but he told Marti he got the note I left him in the Bible I packed in his bag for the plane. He said he took it as his first assignment and he already completed it. Well, that’s great, except I didn’t leave a note in that Bible for him. Nor did I leave him an assignment. What a great idea that God had me working on something months ago I must have left there. He took it for an assignment? You can bet I’ll be sending him some more.

I hope I’m not boring you with these details, but it’s all I can write about right now. Please pray for Marti and me that we can get through this depression; our work requires full attention. And pray that we will be kind and forgiving as it is easy to take out our frustration and guilt on each other. Everything seems to be magnified right now — especially our differences. I find myself having to be right about the dumbest things. Who cares how you water the lawn or cook the soup? Why are these things suddenly so important? We’ve got to get closer, not further apart. We have an imaginary sign we use with each other sometime. It says, “I was wrong; you were right.” Time to bring that sign back out again.

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24 Responses to Grieving couple creates care package

  1. TimC says:

    Prayers for you. Keep us posted.

  2. Julie Banks says:

    Do not apologize for your posts. I promise that God is using them to minister not only to you, but to someone out there who’s going through something very similar, if not the same thing. Sometimes just knowing you’re not the only one going through an ordeal such as this is the most helpful. You experienced some of that with your early posts on this topic. I continue praying for your family. Thank you for the insights you’ve given me over the years – I believe God will continue to use you to speak to people through this journey and beyond.

  3. Lisa in Sunland says:

    How wonderful – in a way – it is that you are feeling what you are feeling. Of course you can’t think of anything else right now! Every raw nerve ending is connected directly to your great love for Chandler. That you are lost and confused is a testament to that love. If you didn’t have great feelings for him, then your feelings wouldn’t be all adrift now. He’s so blessed to have you. And you are ministering to us by sharing and letting us walk with you thru this pain, and we are glad if it brings some small measure of comfort for you to share. And yes, those of us who have pain of all kinds are feeling less alone. Prayers for Chandler’s healing (of course), and that you and Marti can find ways to turn towards each other in love, and to rest in His mighty grip.

  4. Your real honesty is refreshing to all of us. Thanks for sharing your difficult journey as so many of us are going through similar hard things with our adult children as well as teenagers. There is hope and reading about the tidbits of hope in this messy world is what keeps us all going. God shows up in the most unusual ways surprising us with his messages of mercy! Don’t give in or give up. Praying with you.

  5. Mark Seguin says:

    Dear Pastor John, you wrote: “I hope I’m not boring you with these details, but it’s all I can write about right now.” You’re not and I can honestly write I looked forward to reading more. It also is my & i thoroughly believe many other Catch readers honor & great privileged to pray for you, Marti and the entire Fisher family.

    God’s speed! 🙂

  6. Kathy Wadsworth says:

    Dealing with mental illness is so difficult. We’ve loved my brother-in-law through paranoid schizophrenia for 45+ years. Thankfully, he’s had great care the last 20 years and so much has improved in the quality of care that I’m sure with your love & prayers and the prayers of your partners, Chandler will go on to lead a fruitful life that honors Christ. Thank you for your openness in sharing the grief and love that overwhelm.

  7. KaT H. says:

    Doesn’t matter what HIS friends think. Only thing that matters is what is best for your family. And, I am enjoying reading about your family “recover.” Much love, Kathleen

  8. Grace says:

    Honesty is never boring and neither is transparency!!

  9. Martha Nelson says:

    We are all full of rebellion and contrariness. We want our way and what is easy and will dull pain! I feel for him and I feel for you and Marti! What was best is to “speak the truth in love” and you did it with “gentleness and respect” by not letting Chandler continue on his road to self destruction. I had loving, Godly parents who lived out what they preached and as a small girl I saw wrong turns people were making and I said, “I would NEVER” do this or that. The Holy Spirit would not let my arrogance remain because I already belonged to Christ by asking Him for His free gift and making my profession of faith. He removed His protective hand and over a period of 20 years I made every wrong choice in sin that I SWORE I would never make. He waited patiently until I came to the end of myself and He let me know that He never left – I was just ignoring Him and looking the wrong way! Sometimes,by someone else – and this time it is his parents – outside force must be exerted to protect us from the foolishness of youth. Thank you for doing what I believe the Lord has directed you to do. Now pray and let the Almighty God do His work in Chandler’s heart! Rest easy and let your Christ help you to “walk on the wings of the wind”! He will carry you and Chandler on a cloud of grace! Lord bless and keep you all in this difficult time! Martha P.S. I love the Lord more than I ever could have if I had not been allowed to see how each of us are just one step away from failure at any moment and NO ONE is any more righteous than anyone else – “our righteousness is as filthy rags”! It is only through the righteousness of Christ that we are covered by His blood and made righteous! Praying in FAITH!!

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Sally says:

      John and Marti,
      My heart is with you on this journey. As a parent, our children are so much of our world, especially when they are hurting. It sounds like sending Chandler his care package helps you feel connected to him and assists you in the desire to do what you can for him. I must agree that God is working in him already if he thinks that you purposely left the assignment inside the Bible that you packed. I love that he already completed that. It sounds like you got some comfort and joy from that, too. It also sounds like you love his friends, too. I would guess that means a lot to Chandler. I pray that the progress that you have already seen continues in the days to come. It is my prayer that someday you will look back on these difficult days and the good that God will do through them will make you full of His joy. My prayers are with all of you.

  10. I love that you are allowing your Catch family to walk this journey with you. it’s a privilege to share this burden with you. Thank you for your transparency as you share your depression and the daily struggles you and Marti are facing. I pray for all of you daily.

  11. oh it is so hard to love people “right”–your writtings give us all the opportunity to pray you both thru this sadness!! God himself [I believe}feels badly when he has to use discipline/love on us–otherwise where do we get these feelings from–He gave them to us–designed like His own heart!!! You will survive & so will Chandler, & I pray the 3 of you will reestablish the relationship that has been getting a battering lately!! All in God’s care–whoever thought that parenting is easier doesn’t know the depths of love we have for our children. The friends will forgive you also–just wait & see

  12. Catherine G says:

    I can identify with everything you are saying, and I empathize with your pain. Know that this is a season – and while difficult — it is ONLY a season. Keep asking God “what” rather than “why” — focus on what He would have you do in this season rather than why the season. I’m praying for all of you!

  13. kevinm1957 says:

    Revealing your hunamness could never be boring John. Thank you so much for being an example of what we all need to do with each other and others. And those differences you are noticing, try and figure out what God want’s you to learn there. It was a great growth spurt for me when I went through that type of thinking in regards to each of my children and learned to accept not only them as they are, but their way of doing things without need to sneak in afterwards and “fix” it..

    Love, Prayers, Faith, Hope, and Charity,


  14. Carole in Midland says:

    God’s sent a Care Package to y’all too – it’s filled with the prayers and concern expressed by those who love you, those whom you’ve helped and are helping thru their own pain. Look in the corner – my prayers and long-distance hugs are in there too. The best thing about this package is that it will never be empty. There’s always more love in it – after all, it was sent to you by Love Himself.

  15. Tim says:

    To my fellow catch members I just want to say that the last thing John and Marti need to worry about is the catch budget or personal finances.
    I’m sending an extra 100.00 out tonight above my personal commitment.
    My challenge to you is to give.

  16. Polly Holt says:

    I know your pain because I have two grown sons who are addict alcoholics. I attend a support group on Monday nights at6:30 at Theeffect in San Juan Capistrano. We share and learn how to navigate these rough seas! is a recovery center, church and meeting place for lots of people dealing with substance abuse in some way. Praying for you all.

  17. Catherine G says:

    I wrote earlier that I would be praying. Tonight as I lay in bed, I heard a message from God for you.

    I remember when you announced Chandler’s birth and adoption many years ago. You called it a “redemptive work,” and this is something you must not lose sight of. God chose you and Marti for Chandler, for His divine purposes. Though the journey is hard, the work is His, and you must not lose heart or faith, despite your current pain. Chandler is, first and foremost, a son of the Most High. He who knows every hair on our heads is continuing to work through you for Chandler’s good. He loves Chandler even more than you do, and in that you can rest.

    Don Moen’s song, “God will make a way” has been continually in my mind all summer long. The more I meditate on the simple phrase, “God will make a way where there seems to be no way, ” the more profound it becomes. God’s purposes will be done for He will make a way.

    Don’t lose heart. Ask what God would have you do on this season. Love each other as He loves you. Keep it simple. Take Satan’s malicious distractions directly to the Lord of Hosts, where they will fall by the wayside in the light of God’s everlasting glory.

    God will make a way. He always does.

    All my love,
    Catherine Giesbrecht

    • Carole in Midland says:

      Catherine, your note is perfect, so it MUST be from our Dad. This is wise advice for all of us, and I am taking it to heart.
      My thanks to you and the Lord for sharing this.

      • Catherine G says:

        I am not one who usually has a “word from God” to give to others, but this was so very clear that it couldn’t be anything else. It wrote itself. I’m thanking God too — because I need this reminder as much as anyone else!

  18. Tim says:

    Hang in there it will get better you did the right thing. Keep updating us on Chandler. Remember Jesus knows what you are going through and He will get you through it.

  19. Toni says:

    The one thing my husband and I committed to during our difficult years with our son was to agree to never make a decision about something related to him until both of us were on the same page. Often one would have to wait for the other to agree on a particular thing. Just keep talking, talking, talking….processing your grief and allowing each other space to do it as well, and to sometimes do it differently….and cry together….. PRAY PRAY PRAY together. You will weather this and be stronger for it! Best of all…..Jesus will come close.

  20. Colleen says:

    Ahhh! The struggle of guilt and the blame game that you both knew had to happen when trying to benefit the welfare of your child! It’s almost like a miscarriage, because someone is to blame right? Naturally his friends will also see you and Marti as the “bad” guys! After all the are Chandler’s friends and not yours. They only see the separation you caused among their pack! I am sorry you are going through this difficult time and Yes, I will pray for you and your family!

  21. Lisa says:

    Hello John, I used to receive catch of the day years ago. I just found you again. I am reading about Chandler and your struggles. My grandson just graduated from a therapeutic boarding school (shelterwood academy). He had become belligerent with his mom and out of control. It was heartbreaking to see this all happen, but his mom found shelterwood, he was accepted, and attended for a year. He has blossomed into a wonderful young man. It was not a mistake to send him there where trained professionals could help him. You and Marti will get through this and so will Chandler. Chandler will learn so much about himself, and you have already started learning about yourselves. That hole in your heart will start to fill in. I hope I have encouraged you.
    We all have our stuff don’t we?

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