"Mom," I asked through tears, "how can I possibly do everything the experts suggest??"
For the past three months, things have been tough with one of our kiddos. Past trauma and current realities have danced in ways that leave us all pretty tired at the end of the day. I had a stack of adoption and trauma related books, a highlighter, and pen sitting out - determined to figure out what we needed to change to make things better.
I began to explain all the expert advice I was trying to adhere to: make eye contact while talking to your child... don't force eye contact... get to the root of behavior with your child... deal with behavior immediately... let them feel in control by presenting choices... don't overwhelm them with too many choices... let your child feel in control... be in control because children need to know adults are in control... use time in instead of timeout... give your child space to process their emotions... anticipate great things from your child and let them know you believe in them... don't have low expectations, it can be damaging... don't have high expectations, it can be damaging... make sure your child knows they fit in... make sure you embrace your child's individuality... don't ignore behaviors signaling a deeper need... ignore lying that's done out of an inherent need to self-protect... be present and connected all the time... take self care breaks... don't let other people meet you child's needs... don't be the only one to meet your child's needs.
No wonder I was exhausted.
In the age of the internet, we live in an overwhelm of information. While it's helpful to have specialists who can assist us in understanding things like the effects of trauma on the brain, the world wide web is teeming with self-proclaimed experts who are ready to lay down the rights and wrongs of parenting --- perhaps, especially in the realms of foster care and adoption.
when the trauma gets to us.
As parents, we have a great responsibility: show our kids Jesus.
As parents, sometimes we overwhelm ourselves when we take on the responsibility of trying to BE Jesus to our kids.
Yes, we want to be His hands, feet, and heart. We want to speak His words, love with His abandon, give with His generosity, and interact with His compassion. And we should purpose in our hearts, words, and actions to do so. The Bible is clear that we, as followers of Jesus, are to love one another - and this obviously includes our children!
However, we are not Jesus. We will never be Jesus. Saving, redeeming, perfecting, healing - it belongs to Him. We have been given authority in the Name of Jesus. We have been made joint heirs with Jesus. We, as parents, are wholly, fiercely, completely dependent on Jesus - which is why our goal should be to teach our children to do the same.
When the trauma of our child's past explodes into the present with a vengeance that rocks our worlds - Jesus is still on the throne. When we respond by yelling, instead of being the embodiment of connected parenting - Jesus is still on the throne. When we question how we can wade through this mess another day - Jesus is still on the throne. When we fall short, and our heart, words, and actions don't align with Jesus - Jesus is still on the throne.
Our children are not beyond the reach of His grace, and neither are we.
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grace in God's Word.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ. It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of His new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 3:4-6 NLT
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9&10 NLT
I would be honored to pray with or for you if you are going through a season of struggle! After talking to my mom, she gently picked up my pile of books and as she walked out my front door with them, she told me I needed to spend some time praying - asking God what He wanted me to be doing. It was so simple, but profound - and precisely what I needed. I didn't need another 34,290 to-dos by various experts with differing views. I need heavenly wisdom from our heavenly Father who loves our children and who loves us.
If this has been helpful, you may want to check out the other posts from our Reminders for Foster & Adoptive Parents Series:
To the Parents of Kids from Hard Places: You Are Not Alone
To the Parents of Kids with Attachment Issues: It's Not Your Fault
Do you have a favorite scripture or worship song that reminds you that His grace is sufficient for YOU? How do you daily embrace His grace for you and your family?
Here you will find the musings of a homeschooling, work from home, adoptive Momma of 7! Adventures in faith, family, adoption, and training up a tribe to follow hard after Jesus are spilled into these posts --- most often written with a cup of coffee in hand. I hope you'll stick around a while and find something - more likely SOMEONE! - that brings you hope!
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