The last few weeks of parenting the youngest has caused some disruptions in my heart, and it’s messed with my mind a little bit. If you’ve been reading here for awhile, you may know we were foster parents to him when he was eight, after a year and a half he was moved to try a reunification with his birth mother. When that failed, (after trying for a year and a half) he returned three and a half years ago and we adopted him into our family.
That “into our family” part has been tricky. It’s hard to pull in someone who is resisting. But, a few months ago, much of his darkness departed and he began to make good progress. Less argumentative, more peaceful. Brighter eyes and an open attitude towards many issues. My sister recently told him that she had heard he was making some good choices lately and that she was happy and proud of him. He told her “Well, I’ve been doing some healing lately.” Good, good stuff.
Then a few weeks ago it began to feel like everything was coming undone. Anger and deception were back. Arguing and manipulation resurfaced, and then sabotage followed, even an in school suspension this week. But that’s where this post will stop describing him.
Here is what began happening to me, I became full of anger, fear, frustration and bitterness. After so many years, and so much effort, time, tools, therapy, mentoring, teaching, techniques, prayer, prayer, prayer and more prayer, why and how is this happening all over again??!! I was sucked back into the vortex of what seemed dark.
I felt justified in this anger and frustration. For everyone who ever wants to come right out and say “Well, if you just did it this way…”, I invite you to come into my world and parent into this for as many years as I have and then tell me which way to go. (Do I hear a little resentment too?) Which isn’t to say I don’t need direction, I do…oh my gosh…I do.
A few friends – who love me and love the Lord – spoke into me. They allowed me my feelings of anger, frustration, even bitterness. Then they boldly told me those feelings needed to be dealt with so that they could not take root. This was truth, and I knew it.
I needed to open my Bible, Where to begin, what do I need to read? I wondered. I was led, by what I believe was the Holy Spirit, to go right back into my already established reading plan. I know where you are in the Bible, I felt God would tell me.
So I opened my Bible and read Matthew 8, Jeremiah 42 and Isaiah 52. And the prayer flowed….Lord, if you are willing, take away my fear, bitterness and anger…as I continued my prayer – straight from scripture, confessing both my unworthiness and my need for forgiveness, I asked boldly for a calm to the storm – not the one on the outside, but the one on the inside. That I would awake and clothe myself with strength, that I would remember that the Lord goes before me, and is my read guard.That I would act wisely. I confessed my inadequacy and my limitations to parent this one from such a broken foundation. And I placed my eyes back upon Him and asked in His great love, mercy and compassion, that He would hear my prayer.
I was talking to a friend this morning about this and as I shared my prayer, she asked if I would be willing to send her this prayer. She said in her own parenting struggles she could really use this to begin each day.
Maybe those of us who sometimes really, really struggle – maybe we are not alone. But in the darkness, it’s easy to feel alone, and embarrassed, by our feelings – or lack of feelings. I’m here to confess to all of you – sometimes I’m off track. Sometimes I lose hope. Sometimes I do not know what to do with the feelings that well up within me. But then I am reminded, sometimes by a good friend, that Someone knows my course, I have a God in which to place my hope, and He knows exactly how to dispel the feelings as well as shed light on the darkness.
If you need to know this today, then consider this a message from a friend ~ Allow for your feelings, then make sure you deal with them so that they do not take root.
You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you. Psalm 86:5