Basically… I need a “redo” as in the words of Karen Purvis.
Over the past week my heart has been twisted and basically knocked upside the head (if the heart had a head, that is). Maybe it was talking with my Aunt about avoiding freeways for my cousin. Maybe it was hearing a friend talk about possibly putting her daughter on medication. Maybe it was going bowling and seeing my son smile and soak up praise and cheers- something he has rejected for a very long time. Maybe it was hearing a friend talk about what she learned at the Empowered to Connect Conference about discipline and behaviors in foster children and realizing I have been faking it for a long time. This week has been full of in-my-face realizations that something has been terribly wrong with the relationship I have with my son right now… it’s been terribly wrong for a few months… and it’s been eating me alive every night when I sit in the quiet of my house and think over the day.
Maybe it was God bringing all of these things to twist my heart in knots so that today I would listen… today I would get it.
There is so much training to become a foster parent, but I have to admit when you are finally in the middle of it, a lot of those things fly right out of your brain as you just try to survive the day. Everything you thought you knew about parenting is completely challenged as you watch your child throw himself into the wall or bang his head on the floor. Everything you thought you knew about children is challenged when you see a 3 year old manipulate a situation like they have been doing it for years in order to get their needs met. Everything you thought you knew about discipline is challenged when you are hit, kicked, spit at, bitten, run from, screamed and you forget the original issue you were trying to deal with.
And after years of everything being 100 times harder than it has to be, battles of power and control happening every 5 minutes, starting days by waking up to your house being destroyed (Ever clean up a dozen cracked eggs off tile floor? Ever try to get a mix of toothpaste, shampoo and poop out of your carpet?– It kinda starts the day off on the wrong foot), not being able to open any outside door without unlocking 3 different locks, having to use a physical restraint to change a pull-up, put on shoes, brush teeth or buckle a car seat…. rational thoughts can sure be tested.
And today I realized that I have been carrying around the worst, most damaging irrational thought that I can… That I am in a war with my son. It has been him versus me in my mind and a thought like that will lead to thoughts that he- a 4 year old little boy- is my enemy out to destroy me. Oh, how I want to erase those words right now.
And today I sat in a conference and heard the words that I needed more than ever… that all of this week had been leading up for my heart to hear: It is not ME versus my CHILD, it is US (me and my child) against their history.
My battle, my struggles are not with my child… it is FOR my child and WITH his past. I am in a war to save my son, to undo what has been done, to help him find his voice, to abolish his fears and heal his heart. And in order to do that I need a complete “redo”. In order to do that I have to lay down my pride, my frustration, and my selfish nature– I need to lay them down at the feet of the One who called me to this path in the first place. I need to lay them down at the feet of my Father who has provided the perfect outline of discipline with grace and mercy.
God is kind, but he’s not soft. In kindness he takes us by the hand and leads us into radical life-change. Romans 2:4 (The Message)
God saw my brokenness, accepted the mess I was and adopted me into His family with love and grace in order to lead me to radical life-change. He did not try to heal me by waging war against me… He healed me through mercy and love. When I fall and sin He does not throw His hands up and banish me from His sight… He picks me up, dries my tears and in loving mercy disciplines my actions with grace pulling me closer to Him. What better picture do I have in how to deal with my son when the patterns and learned behaviors overshadow his precious spirit?
My battle is not against my son, but against what he has endured in his young life. My mission is not to break him but to break and reconfigure his view of the world.
Today I was reminded of the kind of mommy I want to be… the kind of mommy I CAN be… the kind of mommy God has called me to be. I am so thankful for “redos”.