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The Miry Clay

Drawing by Grace


I wrote this because I needed something like this myself when I discovered that my daughter, Grace, was cutting. I had heard about cutting on the news, but never paid attention to it; it wasn't an issue in my house.

The day of discovery and for years after, I read forums from parents and kids and all kinds of medical websites, but I never found a book written by a parent that described the initial discovery and day-to-day or month-to-month experience. I felt so incredibly alone, and reading someone else’s parental journey would have helped me. Reading about this from a clinical perspective was one thing; reading about it from a parent who was living it would have been entirely different. And, I was embarrassed. I did not want people to know what we were going through, so I did not talk about it in detail for a long while. Bear in mind this was almost a full decade before mental health was openly talked about, and before words like triggered became mainstream.

I was part devastated, part sad, part sick to my stomach, part defeated.

My situation was also fraught with complications. I was re-married and navigating the lanes among my last two of four children, two daughters, who were still in the home, my older two who were in college, and my husband and his kids, who were with us part of the time. He retained his own home in a city to be near his children; I retained my home where my youngest two children were.

As I look back at this time, and in fact each time I re-read the various chapters I’ve written, I am struck by other decisions I could have made, but did not see as options at the time, I am struck by parenting choices I would not make now, and I’m struck that we actually got through it.

I include Scripture at the beginning of many chapters. I wish I could tell you these same verses sustained me during the crises with Grace. I come from a Christian but not an evangelistic background which possibly makes this more profound and accessible for those of you with similar backgrounds. My husband was from a fundamentalist and evangelical practice.

The truth is that it was only in hindsight that I could see how various Scripture applied to our situation.

As you read this, let it be a reminder that you are not alone. Others have travelled this path – some with worse stories than mine, and some with stories just like yours.

Above all, do not walk in fear.

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, the

the Lord, your God will be with you wherever you go.

Chapter One: The Trap Was Sprung

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