Not too many blogs ago I titled one writing, "Momma is Stronger" although this is an accurate statement when compared to my new son, it wasn't the best strategy to show him what Brandon and I know he needs most. From the very beginning of our adoption journey, we decided that the reason we wanted to adopt was because God called us to show his love, grace, and mercy to one of his children. This is a call that required us to make many sacrifices but it wasn't a call to a journey of conjoined misery, but a call of learning what true love is.
Our 3rd day home, the battle of wills began. Following my past parenting experiences, I was determined to show this child that I was stronger than he was and that I wouldn't tolerate his outburst and vile disrespect. This parenting felt so wrong and so impossible with this new child of mine. We were both exhausted, frustrated, and overwhelmed. I thought that if I could just keep it up long enough that he would eventually succumb to our authority and follow along with our normal. This is the advice I had read so much about from "experts" in the field of kids with trauma histories. After a second day of repeat performances in both of us, I knew that something was not right. This kid had a history of trauma, so why was I trying to create more trauma?
That night as I showered, I asked God what I was doing wrong and how to show our son the love that God showed us. Almost immediately, I felt like God was bringing to my mind how He called us to Him. Although God is indeed stronger and has the ability to force people to follow Him, He wants us to choose to follow him in submission and trust. How does He call us to follow Him in submission and trust? Certainly not by showing us that He is stronger. He bids us to trust him and submit to His authority by showing us that His Love is Stronger!
Why would I expect this child who has never been shown how to control himself, this child who has had a history of adults that didn't care enough about him to show him that they would love him always, this child that thinks he was taken to the orphanage because he was bad, this scared and delicate child? Was it our job to force him to behave and be respectful, ie make him mind? The Holy Spirits words of wisdom, said no.
What was our job then? To love him when he is unlovable, to give when he is undeserving, to show kindness when he shows disrespect, to give great measures of patience and understanding when he wants nothing to do with us, to stay calm when he is out of control, to speak softly when he rages, to allow ourselves to be available in the most inconvenient times because that might be when he is ready for some acceptance, to give up the things we want so that he can catch glimpses of our willingness to sacrifice for him.
There were several reasons that I refused to follow God for so many years. Some of the reasons included having bad things happen to me that I had no control of, seeing bad things happen to others that I knew to be good, having been judged and treated horribly by persons that claimed to be Christians, seeing others judged and abused by persons claiming to be Christians, watching glimpses of TV evangelists and knowing right away they were frauds, natural disasters, and an overall distrust that if God was a real God that He was either all powerful and mean, or weak and kindly. Neither of those options settled well with my heart. What I longed for was a God that was All Powerful but also All Loving!
I have the understanding now that is exactely what our son is longing for. Parents that are both powerful enough to ward of evil but also loving enough that he can feel safe. Are we capable of being these parents? Not on our own! Everyday I have to prepare my heart to be a servants heart. We have to choose to love him, we have to choose to stay in control of our own emotions and not expect him to control his, yet. We have to choose to follow the example of our both powerful and loving King and sacrifice our desires for the love of our children. We rely moment by moment on our Lord to give us the wisdom, grace, and mercy to be the parents that He has called us to be.
2 Peter 1:1-4 The Message
I, Simon Peter, am a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God's straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master. Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you-your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.
Our lust was having a picture perfect adoption story with a obedient and grateful son. This is so unbiblical and impossible that we have to turn our backs to our wants and turn our eyes to Jesus, the only one who can love us while he shows us how to love our son.