I know you. I see you. I am you.
I know what’s going through your mind on any given day. I know what you whisper as you recover from an 8-hour battle with your kid, or walk out of an IEP meeting defeated because there’s no sign of progress. Trust me. I know. If you looked at an X-ray of my heart it wouldn’t look like the perfectly formed plastic model you’d see on the corner of a doctor’s desk. It’s been broken so many times over my child, it’s deformed and morphed, like lava flow into ocean waters morphing into new land.
“Is this it?” you wonder, in the murky midnight hour, as you stare at your ceiling fan spinning endlessly. “Is this the best it’s gonna get for him?” You try to figure out where you went wrong, or what you could have done differently in the beginning. “Maybe I should have learned about trauma earlier?” “Maybe I’m making it worse?” “Will this be my child’s entire life?” “Will our circumstance ever change?” “Will she ever stop hoarding food?” “Will his behavior ever be better?” You beat yourself up, you wrestle away resentful thoughts, and then you punish yourself for giving in and allowing them to flood your mind, like a breached levy. You love your kid…no question…but find yourself constantly battling the voice that whispers, over and over, prompting you to believe…it’s over.
Absolutely No Mistakes.
Oh, how we’ve been there. I’ve wondered if this is the best it’s gonna get as I’ve picked up broken pieces of plates, or keep-sake Christmas ornaments, after an all-out tantrum. I’ve walked out of IEP meetings, hearing no progress, and no hope, and wondered, “Is the story over?” I’ve been to the darkest places possible in my mind, and heart. I’ve all but given up on a few occasions.
But here’s something I believe…
I don’t believe that any human being is a mistake…ever. I think there are some humans in this world who’ve lose their way (clearly), and choose to live opposite of their great purpose (definitely), but no human life is a mistake. And even though I’ve been to those dark places in thought and spirit over some of my children’s choices, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their life has purpose and meaning. They have a future, and hope. It’s just hard to see through the tantrums, battles, and constant challenges.
But, it’s not over…
The Story Isn’t Over.
Not even close. There’s still time on the clock. It may feel like the bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, and no one on base, but listen to me….it’s not over. Regardless of where they are on the journey, or how out of control they are, or how much they push you away, or how impulsive they are, or how disrespectful or defiant they are, it’s not over. I believe this to the deepest depths of my heart.
Want to know how and why? Because I’m living it as we speak. Sister, your situation is my situation. Brother, your painful, unexpected journey, is my painful, unexpected journey. You say, “But my kid was so out of control she couldn’t live in our home anymore,” and I say, “Me too!” You breeze down the list of “Yeah, buts,” and I can too. “Yeah, but you don’t know what his birth mother did to him before he came to live with me!” Yes I do. “Yeah, but he’s been kicked out of school and he’s turned coaches, teachers, and therapists against me.” Smack dab in that trench.
I still say it’s not over. Why? Because our stories weren’t over when we were 9, or 11, or 15. Lord Almighty am I ever thankful for that truth. My story wasn’t even close to ending when I was 15. It’s still not over at 40. Neither is your child’s. You can’t determine your child’s future based on their current 8-year old (or 5-year old, or 15-year old) behavior. There’s hope for every human being. Even if they’ve been broken by trauma experienced before birth, or early on in their life. Even if their attachment is severe from multiple foster homes before you.
You can’t determine your child’s future based on their current 8-year old behavior.
I believe the words of Jeremiah 1:5 over my kids…. “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
Translation? There’s a future and hope for everyone of our children. Truth! The story isn’t over.
Have you struggled to see the bigger story with your children? Share with us in the comment section below.