Saturday, July 28, 2007

Joshua's Journey

It's been a busy week and I was oh so weary this morning. Many business decisions have been pressing upon us. I slept late and felt like I had a monkey on my back all day. Then around 12:30, my handsome, sweet son came in our front door. Joy of all joys! What a pleasant surprise!

He was able to spend a couple of hours hangin' with his dad before dad had to head off to work. Shane got his weekly wrestle in and was just simply enjoying having his big brother around.

This evening, a heart to heart talk transpired, as I sat in my big comfy chair at the computer and Josh sat on the floor, leaning against the closet door. Shane sat on the twin bed in our office/guest room. Tears were shed and true feelings were brought to the surface. We went through this same thing last summer when he told us he didn't want to return to college. My world came crashing down around me. I thought I was a failure. Boy did I have it all wrong! I came to realize again tonight that I have been wrong about a certain train of thought I had been prescribing to. I was harming my son more than helping him! I had jumped on a band wagon with so many others, trying to convince Josh to do something he does not want to do. That realization broke this mama's heart in a way I can't put into words. As Josh shared his burden, the thought came to me: "How would I like it if so many people were telling me how to live my life?" A very emotional Josh even asked me why people couldn't just encourage him in what he has chosen to do.

I also remembered that back in Josh's high school days, we discussed him doing apprenticeships rather than college. Out of respect to his parents, he endured one year of college, dorm life and all. Josh began working with his uncle at around the age of 14. He worked regular hours during his summer breaks. During school year, he worked 1 to 2 days aweek and some Saturdays. His uncle called him his "Pin Monkey". Due to his young age, Josh couldn't do certain tasks or use certain tools and machinery in the construction business. Josh was able to observe, help, organize the trailer, sweep up the job sites, run for tools the other employees needed. During his year of college, he worked as the church/school janitor each evening and on weekends. Even on Sundays, he was pretty much on call for all plugged toilets, spilled KoolAid, people's up-chucks! Last summer, when college was over, Josh went back to work with his uncle John full time and loves it. John tells everyone what a good worker Josh is and how good he is getting at certain things. I reminded Josh tonight how that apprenticeship helped him get a good paying full time job and he has learned more than if he had enrolled in the VoTech school in Tampa and paid them to teach him. Instead, he received pay for learning!

Shane was so attentive and concerned during the talk. At one point, I was tempted to ask him to leave the room, but I could sense his concern and I also perceived that he was learning about real life issues.

After the long conversation, Josh suggested ordering pizza and he was buying. He called his friend Matt to tell him he couldn't meet up with him tonight as they had talked about at church Thursday. I was thrilled to have the extra time with him at home of course.

Josh left around 8:30 tonight with some encouragement I hope, from his mom and little brother. It turned out to be such a sweet time together, even though we shared broken hearts through out the long conversation. I hated saying goodnight to him as he drove out of the driveway. He knew Shane and I were getting ready for our evening walk. His last words to me were: "If you and Shane go out walking, be sure not to lock yourselves out of the house." A typical statement from a first born, don't you think? That's my caring Josh for you!

Please say a prayer for him when you think of him. He is a fine young man who is growing in his walk in the Lord and in his walk in life. No, he isn't perfect, but he is a good man. He is happy with the path he has chosen for himself right now. It is not an ungodly path by any means, but he isn't fitting into "the box" so many would like to put him in. It is disheartening to him to walk into church and be constantly peppered by inquiries as to why he doesn't get back in school, or telling him he NEEDS to get back into school. Those people don't know his needs! Would it be too hard to simply encourage him in what he has chosen? Doesn't God tell us in His Word to do that? I mean, it might be different if Josh were living a sinful lifestyle or something, but he isn't. He daily works a hard construction job in this Florida heat. Josh is a man now, not a boy of 10. He can make his own decisions. He does have several friends who understand him and have been there for him at his lowest points. One of those friends he mentioned tonight is his cousin Joshua Vernoy, Jungle Mom's son.

I'd like to say more here about Joshua's journey, but I would need to speak to him first for permission. Thank you all for listening to this mom's heavy heart.

I would love to hear your comments about this type of situation. Are there any other homeschool mom's out there who have had their child, son in particular, choose not to go to college? I feel so alone in this journey!


Happymama said...

Pam, it's difficult to tell our children to pray for God's guidance and then watch them follow. It's obvious you've done a great job with Josh. He seems to be grounded. Just continue to encourage him and everything will fall in place...whatever, wherever that may be.


Candy said...

Hi Pam, what a special post. We can sure tell how much you love your son and how your heart aches for him to just do well in life etc ..thats what all us moms want for our kids.
But ya know, I really believe God's got it all figured out. Just keep praying for him, loving him and encouraging him. Prayer is the key. We serve such a great big amazing God who already has plans laid out for our kids.
You are an awesome Mom!

candy :)

Penless Thoughts said...

I think it's wonderful that your son felt free to have that kind of a talk with you. I agree the younger one probably learned a real life lesson, too. Truly God is the molder of the clay and the refiner in the fire. Thank God He is!!!! Wonderful Mother/Son relationship displayed here. I appreciate your realness, Pam. Your sons will be blessed.

Jungle Mom said...

Dont feel alone! Your son is a great man! You did an excellent job raising him and have much to be proud of.
Just remember God knows the heart of your son and not other PEOPLE!

Pat said...

Our ways are not always God's ways, and we may not understand as we cannot see the full picture!!

Many times we try to rush the process, but God has other plans. And, our child may not learn the things along the path that He has planned!!

Yes, I have a child with the same burdens as Josh,a nd we hav heard all those comments.......and we tell them that maybe God deos not want all young men in the ministry, but rather a Christian man that honors God in whatever....., even working in the nursery at church!!!
REMEMBER PAM: GOD LOVES JOSH MORE THAN YOU EVER COULD, AND IS MOULDING AND SHAPING HIM TO BE THE MAN of GOD HE WANTS HIM TO BE....not the son with the chosen path you as a parent may think he needs.
We give them wings to fly while in our home so God can use them mightily for His glory.

A journey begins with just one step!! Let him make those decisions, and praise God he is still sharing all that in conversation with you!!!!YOU ARE BLESSED!!

Josh has a tender heart for the Lord's leading, so allow him to listen to God's voice!!


Jodi said...

Pam ~ Yes! I'm emailing you later today. (I wish I could crawl right through this computer screen, give you a big ole hug and sit and talk about this face to face for about 100 hours! Okay ... in that amount of time we might squeeze in a few other topics, too.) :o)

Anonymous said...

Dear sweet Pam ~ you're an awesome mother with a heart for her son. You and your husband raised him in the Lord, his faith is grounded, and he's now a man. The Lord is working in a big way here - iron sharpening iron - bringing to fruition all that you've prayed for. Your son's life will glorify God, no matter his college education or choice of career. How precious - how wonderful - to have a son willing to share his heart, willing to do what the Lord is leading. I'm so very impressed by your son's stance. This is a positive thing, through and through, imho. (((((((((you)))))))))

On the flip side, El's college plans have changed dramatically. She was enrolled to begin college but after praying for some time, came to Clark and I and said she believed she is to go to bible college instead (online from home this year) and begin preparing to plan for marriage. We knew it was the right thing. Interesting though how some folks share that she's wasting her college years - that she should be pushing for that Kiniseology degree rather than pouring over the Word. This, from Christians. No. Our daughter is going against the flow. She is seeking that which the world does not understand or support. She is viewing her decisions in the light of eternity.

Be blessed this day, dear lady.

Mizz E said...

Yes, I've walked this road too and I know how distressed you were feeling. I'm happy to say it all worked out for me and my son.

After high school graduation my only child and son joined the Marines. What! Not going to college? That's not the road we envision for anyone who's going to carve a meaningful life. But join up he did -then my 18 year boy fell in love with a female Marine and to top it all off - they got married. So now I had an uneducated boy soldier married to a strange, uneducated girl soldier from Georgia. Then, horror or horrors he was called up to go the Desert Storm.

Before he deployed I flew out to Camp LaJune and spent the Thanksgiving holidays with him and his bride, who I was glad to get to know. We fixed a great turkey dinner in their cramped married housing - [For lack of plugs, I used the electric mixer in the bathroom:)] The following Monday he shipped out to Saudi Arabia and then moved onto Kuwait. During his year over there, I developed an ulcer, even though we were both on national prayer lists....if I hadn't put in my requests, no tellin' what might have happened.

Finally, he returned safe and sound in body and spirit a year later and served out his remaining 2 year commitment to the Marines. When they released him in December, 4 years had passed since his HS graduation and enlistment. Immediately he used the GI Bill, entered the spring term at the Un. of Houston and went straight through w/o time off and got a BA in English Lit in three years. That was 14 years ago. He's happily married to a great ICU pediatric nurse and now I have a fantastic grandson!

I just know and trust you and Josh will have a really wonderful story to tell - 14 years from now. :)

Mizz E said...

P.S. - I love your Mexican mujeres in aprons painting. I saw and made friends with several of these precious women in Mexico. When I get around to finding some of my photos of them and posting them on my blog - I'll drop you a nod. I think you will enjoy seeing them.

Anonymous said...

Pam, this was such a thoughtful post. I am so glad you and your son had this conversation, I think the best thing in the world is to just keep the lines of communication open. I know my brothers and I didn't make all the choices my parents would have liked. I, for example, have dropped out of college twice. Both my parents have advanced degrees and expected the same accomplishment from me. We had lots and lots of conversations, some that went well and some, not so well. Overall, I respect their opinions and they accept my choice to be a full-time mom, because they listened to my decision-making process. This way, I didn't just rebel and do the opposite of everything they would want!! =) I hope this makes sense. I do know how it feels to see my children make choices that are not the ones I would have made. But you can rest in the knowledge that you and your husband raised a good son who knows how to seek the Lord's will in his life. I know he will continue to make you proud, no matter what path he may choose!!!!

Pam said...

Kristi - He is grounded, and I'm learning some real lessons through all this.

Candy - I do love both of my boys so much. Thanks for reminding me that God has it all figured out!

Penless - Thanks for your kind words and encouragement. You always know just what to say.

Jungle Mom - You are probably a little prejudiced here! LOL Thanks for the kind words, sis. You said exactly what I came to terms with last night: All these people on his case don't know what his heart is. The majority haven't taken the time to really get to know him or spend time with him. Why in the world do they think they know best for his individual case? Stay safe!

Pat - I had forgotten you and I have actually discussed this in person a little bit. I can't believe I forgot you have a son whom you homeschooled in a similar situation as Josh! It helped me so much to see your comment here.

Jodi - I too wish you could crawl through this computer screen! Well except then you would see my messy desk! YIKES! LOL I will check my email as soon as I finish here.

Haus Frau - Your words were very comforting. I remember you asked me to email you once about the change in college plans. I needed the reminder that God can be glorified whether Josh has a college degree or not, just so long as Josh remains in the Word of God and walks faithfully.

Mizz e - Your story of your son joining the Marines touched my heart. Josh was on the verge of joining the Army a couple of months ago. I'm so glad your son returned safely and has done well. I can't imagine what you went through as a mom, seeing him off and then hearing he is to be married to someone you haven't even met yet!! I must admit though, that your incident of using the mixer in the bathroom made me giggle! Thanks for your words of encouragement.

Kitty - You are so right about the importance of keeping the lines of communication open. I beleive that is why last night was so necessary and special. Josh and I haven't had a heart to heart talk in quite awhile. It was long overdue.

Frazzled Farm Wife said...

My son also does not really want to go to school...he says he wants to stay home and farm. My husband and I both agree that he needs some sort of education, whether it be a technical school or college. All he knows is the farm and he is a shy kid and we think he needs to get out into the world and test a few options that he wouldn't even see if he did not go on. Besides, to farm anymore, you really need some further education. I hope we are not making a mistake by encouraging him to go to some sort of school.

I loved hearing that your son came to you to discuss things. He sounds like a very grounded and well raised young man. Kudos to you for being a great influence on him.

Pam said...

Frazzled Farm Wife - I so appreciate your kind words. Josh and I do have a strong relationship and I thank God for that.

You said you hoped you weren't making a mistake encouraging your son to go to college. I think you must encourage him. He may fall in love with it and feel that is the way to continue. We encouraged Josh and saw he was miserable with a capital M, even his personality changed. (Not for the better!) This has been a process we are working through. I had my hopes built up that he may go back now that he has worked a year and saved some money, but he isn't in the least interested. He does have goals and ideas, which helps me accept his choice.

I do know that being a godly man is more important in God's eyes than what level of education he has.I guess as parents, our pride plays into all this.

Ruth said...

It's wonderful that you and Josh were able to have such a good talk and understanding. I haven't made it to where you are oldest is 14. I know my mama's heart, though. It sounds like you have reached a great place of support for your son. Blessings to you all!

Ashley said...

No, I don't believe it's zGod's will for everyone to go to college, I know quite a few people who never stepped over the threshold of a college and are doing great! I believe whatever God would have them do, they go for. Like, not all people are meant to be missionaries. Not all are meant to attend college, it's not a sin not to go! It's not for everyone! I believe you do what GOD calls you to do and not what PEOPLE TELL you to do.

I believe Josh can do anything he sets his mind too! And as long as he seeks God face and follows Him, of course he can't go wrong! Just because it's a college-less road, doesn't mean hopeless!

Success is measured on how you serve Christ and how you use the gifts he's given you! Not your degree!

jennifer said...

Pam I will email you tonight. You are such a wonderful mom. Please come over to Pen of Jen...I was thinking of you today!

Abouna said...

College isn't for everyone. There are some folks who are better off without it. My second oldest decided that college wasn't for him. I respected his choice and today he is an ace auto mechanic, with a clientel that is the envy of most mechanics, and he makes more money than I have ever earned. He is just as happy in life as are his brothers.

I shall pray for Josh that he finds his happiness and place in life. With God on his side and you and your husband to be there for him, he will do just fine.

Grace Bowden said...

you know when I see people I try to see the person's heart. If he is doing the best he can and is loving the Lord with all his heart. Then I think he is awesome. He is an awesome young man and he was like a brother to me and I miss those car rides with him. He was so funny, but in those car rides he could be the most christ-like teenager I knew at that time.

Grace Bowden said...

I wanted to know do I ever get to be on show and tell jk lol

Lyndy said...

Pam, Not being a parent I have no words of wisdom. I do see your heart though and it is so wonderful that you have a relationship where you son feels comfortable talking to you.

College is not for everyone. He is also young enough that he may realize he wants to go to college down the road.

The bottom line though is you want a godly, happy son. It sounds like he has his head on straight.

Love and Hugs, Lyndy

Pam said...

Ruth - our Mama hearts can sure realte to one another! I know God is the completer so I must trust in His plan. Thanks for your kind comment.

Ashley - You are so right! Success should be measured by our walk with Christ and our devotion to Him. We as Christians seem to fall into the secular trap of thinking a degree makes a person a success. That is so wrong!

Jen -- Your email was most comforting! I appreciate your friendship so much!

Abouna -- I was so glad you told me about your son who chose to not attend college but is gainfully employeed. I am going to share your comment with my son.

Grace - what a lesson you could teach others! Look at the heart and life of a person! Thanks for leaving an encouraging comment. I may just have to do a show and tell about you since I now know you really do read my blog! LOL

Lyndy -- Josh does have his head on straight and isn't out partying or wasting his money. Thanks for encouraging me.

Webutante said...

Pam, your story is so poignant and certainly one I can identify with. Have had those tearful talks with both my grown children over the years and after it's over and the air is clear, it brings such clarity and forward movement.

When I was first married with one baby and one on the way, my mother was diagnosed with acute leukemia and given only one year to live. My father wanted my then husband and I to move to the small town 80 miles from Nashville when he got out of law school to join the family business and to help them out.

My then husband and father bought a house for us (without my ever seeing it!) in that town and plotted our move up there.

Only one problem, right after our second child arrived, I fell deeply depressed and knew in the depths of my heart it was not my/our destiny to move back to my hometown from the big city we were living in.

I knew this in the depths of my soul and was devastated to have to tell first my husband and then my parents. My father was also living under cancer fear, as he had had a serious melanoma removed a year before mother was diagnosed.

When I had that heart to heart first with Will on a cold, gray January day, I was shocked to discover he was ecstatic! He didn't want to go anymore than I did and wanted instead to stay in Nashville and practice law! He had been doing it to be nice and accommodate everyone else! What a shock!

So then, we turned to the dreaded talk with my parents, to tell them we,and I, would be with them every step of the way, but we would not be moving there.

It was a devastating, tearful, humbling occasion. Much was said and healed in the process. And of course, my dear mother was indeed dying and it was a very, very tough situation. She lived three years.

But it was one, if not THE, most important and right decisions I/we ever made. Far from being a flight from caring, getting situated in our own lives---and not just being an extension of theirs---positioned us to better love and care for and serve them in the difficult years ahead.

And they came to peace with our decision too, though it took a few months.

I was holding my mother's hand when she died (as I had the profound privilege with my father, decades later.)

All this to say, we must be true to the life path God has set before us. I think it is far too easy to make family and family expectations an idol in our lives.

Your time with you son sounds like such a gift and blessing for you both.

God bless you all.

groovyoldlady said...

We homeschooled our 1st two all the way up through high school. Folks were forever hounding them "What college are you going to? What are you going to DO after school?"

17 and 18 year-olds often do not KNOW what they want to do/be (or what God wants them to do/be)! There is no crime or shame in working a few years while they figure it out. After all, my hubby didn't decide that he wanted to go into nursing until he was 24. Guess what? He went to college THEN.

My mom didn't figure out that SHE wanted to go into nursing until she was in her 50's. Guess what? She went into college THEN!

I don't think there's any gain or virtue to push and rush kids into college. None at all!

Pam said...

Web -- Thank thank thank you for sharing your story. It brought light to the fact that we can't live to please everyone! (Josh can't live to please his parents decisions for him or live for others who are seemingly pressuring him.) I can't wait to share all these comments with him.

Groovy - You helped me remember that I have a dear aunt who went ot school to be a nurse in her late thirties and she loved it! I have a millionaire uncle who never went to college. I'm anxious for Josh to see that there are folks like you all, My blogging buds, who would be so encouraging him understanding of his choice.

Wow, I am amazed at the beautiful responses I have received to this post, a true heartfelt cry from my heart, met with Christian love and words of encouragement!

Julie's Jewels said...

Oh Sister...bless your heart. I have a son of 21 who didn't even complete his homeschool curriculum. Talk about a failure!! I felt like that. But my husband helped me to understand that it is next to impossible to get a child to do something that they just aren't wanting to do. We tried everything to get him to complete his schooling. But he just didn't. He chose to go to work full-time for a Christian business owner. He works very hard also (construction..running a bobcat tractor) in this Georgia heat. He works more than 50 hours a week and is engaged to be married to a wonderful girl. Am I happy that he chose to not complete his school? No absolutely not. But he knows the challenges that face him with jobs should he leave this one he has now. He also knows that unless he gets his GED he will struggle with employment. But it is up to him. Like you said...he is a man and he has to make his own decisions. We as parents will try to guide them and tell them what they need to do but in the end it is their decision. Ronnie is a smart young man but has much to learn. I'm sure that Joshua does as well. If other people would stop trying to enforce "their" desires on our kids then maybe our kids would have a chance.

Mrs. C said...

I just read this post and wanted you to know that I am praying for this situation. The Lord knows the plans He has for your son. He loves him even more than you do! :)

Continue to lift him up in prayer. Trusting our children to make right decisions is tough sometimes, but God's grace is sufficient.

Mrs. C

CaraqueƱa said...

I don't know you, Pam, but I sure feel that I do! I think that just the fast that your "man" will come home to talk to you and share proves that "you done a good job, hunny!" Who invented college anyway? Was it God? Why do we accept things so easily, like hospital births, college for everyone (or you're a dummy), public school (um, you know, home schooling isn't even for everybody!)? Anyway, God is a unique and personal God, working with each of us in a unique and personal way! Yek and JM left Venezuela; we're still here. God works with us in different ways in His time! You're awesome, Pam...can't wait to meet you someday!

Mishel said...

(((Hugs))) Thank you for sharing Joshua's journey. I have a good friend who's son is going through the very same thing. And her daughter just graduated from high school and has opted not to go to college right now (possibly next year)--both of these kids and their parents have prayed about all of this and have peace. But you know what is sad? It's the people at church who give them the hardest time about *not* going to college. And it's not like they are doing *nothing*.

I believe that college is *not* for everyone--and that to go just because it's expected that is what you *do* after high school--is not a good enough reason to spend all that time and money. Of course, I am not saying going to college is wrong--not at all. We need to encourage our children to seek the Lord and His will for their life--whether that means going to college or doing something else. And you have done just that with Josh! I think you've done a great job! : )

Anonymous said...


Your dad and I will be the first to say that you and Agustin have done an excellent job in the training of Josh and Shane, not just because they are our grandsons.

You cannot find a more peasant, loving, caring, considerate, mannerly, hard worker, and clean young man than Josh Rios. I just wish those who keep asking about his "College Degree" could know him, as I, his grandmother, knows him.

His heart is sensitive to the things of God. He has always been "My Comforter" he knows just what to say and when to say it. Josh is not a man of a lot of "jabber." He has a lot of wisdom ( so much like his grandpa). Josh knows what he is doing, and so does God.

Josh will make some godly woman a loyal, honest and caring husband. Just as his dad Agustin has always loved and provided for my daughter Pam and his two boys Josh and Shane.

Pam, you have nothing to worry about concerning Josh. God is good! All the time!

Grandma, Loretta
II Cor. 12:9, 10