Friday, April 29, 2016

The hard and the holy.

It happened. They said it would. Not from him. I thought I was prepared so the sting took my breath away. From behind the closed door, “This family is stupid. I wish I was never adopted.” Do I open the door and say that I’ve heard? Walk away? The anger seems too big to carry alone. Too big for a 10 year old boy.

I walk in and ask him to look at my eyes. I ask if he would like to share those thoughts with me now? “No.” I ask why he said it . As his eyes meet mine, “Because I’m angry.” I tell him I understand that but we don’t speak hatred out of anger. I tell him I’m glad he is using his words but there are different ones to use. Ones that won’t hurt people like his hurt me as a tear gives way. I tell him I am trying to help him learn healthy ways to deal with his anger and give him some paper and tell him to write his feelings down if he needs to and I turn and walk out.

It is said calmly. It is said with love and concern and understanding. It is said with bravery. I didn’t want to have that conversation but I did. Because I can do hard things and so can he. I get to teach him that. And with God’s help, we can do it with love.

It had been a hard day. Behavior issues I thought we were past reared their ugly head. He had lost a privilege for two days. I was ruining his life. Your average tween things except for this isn’t average. He is an average boy that has been through a not so average life. I’m an average mom trying to love extra ordinary. Life calls us to hard sometimes.

I realize that part of our day could have very easily triggered things in him and wonder if he is just having a hard time verbalizing them. I feel a hand slip around my waist, “Mommy, I’m sorry for my behavior today,” and he squeezes me with every ounce of himself. This is the boy I know. This is the boy I’ve watched him grow in to right in front of me.

I hold this little man boy’s face in my hands and thank him for his apology and accept it. I let the tears from my face land on his because I want this sweet boy to know that I take loving him very seriously. I want him to know this mother son thing is hard and it hurts and it heals and we will always figure it out together. I squeeze back even tighter so that message is felt deep in his bones. That is bravery. To ask forgiveness is brave. This sweet boy walked in to my life at the age of 3 and opened up his heart to me. He let me love him when I’m sure there was nothing scarier. He loved me back. He loved new siblings, a new dad, new aunties and uncles, cousins and grandparents.  He forgives us when we fail him and he shares his feelings with us when it’s hard to. He let joy in to his life and some days needs to remind himself over and over again that he’s deserving of it.  This boy so many define by his adoption, his grief, his loss. This boy that is so much more than that. This boy has taught me courage. 

This kid. My son. What a beautiful gift it is to be his mom. Hard and exhausting, maddening and emotional…a privilege and a joy…. In the midst of this ugly I wanted to scream and cry and feel sorry for myself. With that little arm and that soft low voice asking forgiveness, I was reminded, God, that you see me. You are ever present, God With Us. In the ugly and the wonderful, in the hard and the holy. In it all, You are working. If we let you, You will write this story and it may be difficult but oh, will it be beautiful. Thank you, God, for it all. May it shape us both in to who you’d have us be.  



**Are you in the hard or the holy? God is in both. Trust that.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Painting toes and praising Jesus

Some times you don't make it to church on Sunday. Some times grief sneaks up on your child and comes seeping down her face. Some times you put everyone else in the car and you sit that little girl down and you talk to her about the hard things. You hold her face and you look in her eyes and you tell her how sorry you are that she has to do such hard things. You tell her how valued and worthy she is. You talk about the grief and her biological momma and your chest will ache from the pain she carries. Your tears fall with hers and your shirt will cling to your shoulder where her tears and snot have settled. You talk to her about the good and you carefully and honestly discuss the not so good and you paint a picture of a life before you, a life she no longer remembers. You show her the picture, the one of her first mom and her beautiful smile. You point out the similarities and the ends of her sweet mouth turn up at the sight and the blank look in her eyes of not recognizing her mom's face catches in your throat in a mass of the things missed. And you don't even try to wipe the tears anymore. Hers or yours. You just simply say, when things get hard, I will never leave you. When you are sad, I will be here with you in it and we will talk it through. While you miss and love your first momma, it doesn't push your forever momma away. There is enough room here for that love and longing. It's okay here. I am so sorry you are hurting. You tell her it is completely understandable and normal that she feels like this and that there are other sons and daughters all over the world feeling just like she does right now. You tell her she is not alone. You tell here that sometimes it makes you angry and that's okay if she ever feels that too. You tell her about Jesus and His love for her. You tell her He was adopted. You tell her your love for her is unconditional.  You tell her that love often looks like service and sacrifice. You sit her on the couch and you grab her little feet and you wash them and you put lotion on them and you paint those little toes and you have church right there while you do it. Church right there with the little brown feet and the snot and the tears.

You serve her with the best of you. You sing praise songs and the tears slow and she will look at you with that sweet look that shows you just how important you are to her. And your heart...your heart can barely take it. This sweet girl struggling to share her grief with you and not hurt your feelings at the same time. This sweet girl in this sacred time trying to balance all of that. You hug her with a fierceness that says we are in this together. You show her your love for her in the simple task of painting her toes. You feel God's presence there...in this space...in your family room surrounded by a dozen little bottles of bright spring nail polish and tear stained faces because church is wherever we bring it.