Y'all are about to get all my stuff.
Ya know that really heavy baggage you don't really ever want people to know about? Yeah, that's the kind of stuff I mean.
When I went to bed last night with a thousand things racing through my head that needed to be done before the wedding this Friday, I prayed that I could keep these acts of kindness (and more importantly an attitude of kindness) in the forefront of my mind today. I really hate that feeling when you realize that you have gotten so wrapped up in what is urgent, that you have lost sight of what is important. So, I prayed for perspective and the ability to keep my eye on the goal: to glorify God with every thought, word and deed.
Then I woke up this morning.
I wish I could start this story with "it was just one of those really rough days when..." but when you are raising a child who comes from some sort of trauma, basically every day is "just one of those really rough days when..." I don't care what the "hard place" is that a child comes from, whether it be foster care, an alcohol saturated uterus, or just a really sensitive spirit struggling to cope in a harsh world, some kids are fighting through life more than others, and raising them is really, really hard.
Our beautiful, talented friends, Brandi and Danny Ebersole, have been an integral part in helping us tell our family's story by creating the video below. It was very hard for us to share at first, but we have come to the realization that shame and silence further isolate struggling families and nobody was going to benefit from our silence. You can see what I'm talking about here:
Rough stuff right? Well, when I went to bed last night, I prayed for God to be glorified through my personal agenda . When I woke up to His agenda it was not fun. My day was much less productive and much more painful than what I had planned for myself, and I spent a bit less time on the "urgent" things from my to-do list, and a little more time on the important things.
Harper needed me. He needed me to walk him through his emotions, to name them and define them. It takes a lot of time to do that with him. All day long. And I'll be honest, I am really weary.
And as frustrating as it was to see hours of my day just evaporate when I have such an extensive to-do list, I had to stop and recall my prayer the night before. I prayed that I would glorify the God who adopted us, who calls us His children, for no other reason than because he loves us and it pleases him to do so. How foolish to think that there was an act of kindness more important to complete than struggling through this hard place with my boy.
For Day 9, we gave someone a washing machine. Long story.
Day 10, I spent time today encouraging a couple moms who are in the trenches with their boys with various special needs. I had a long conversation with a newish friend, I wrote a letter to a friend of a friend, and sent some encouraging words to other moms that I know could use it. Again I find myself wanting to qualify this with "I know it wasn't much, but..." but, nothing. Some moms get calls from their child's teacher daily to discuss the problem de jour. Some moms get pushed down the stairs when their child is angry. Some moms spend all day and night changing feeding tubes. Some moms have been hospitalized with depression and/or exhaustion. Some moms have to call the police to restrain their child during a rage. Some moms feel really, really alone.
So, it's a great kindness indeed to let someone know that they are not alone. To be reminded that the God who sees, and knows, and cares, is walking ahead of us, and beside us, and around us is truly a comfort on this road with a traumatized child. I cannot imagine a better picture of the gospel, than adoption. The fact that God chose us and made us his own, and he loves us and forgives us even as we abuse his grace. He is the ultimate Father and he has taken every harsh word, every fist shaken at him, every hurt and betrayal, and he has loved us anyway. It is my hope that we will remember this redeeming love and that, we too, will love those who are hurting, and forgive those who betray, and lay our lives down for our enemies and those who harm us... perhaps even though they are sometimes our children.