Her email dripped with desperation. As I read each line I could feel her defeat, sense her anguish, and understand her anger. According to her, I was her last resort. She was parenting a child with FASD, and it was taking the life out of her. Her son’s decision-making, logic, sense of self, and care for others was missing all-together. All I could think was, “I’ve been there sister. You are not alone.”
Tears welled up in my eyes, and my heart broke in two for her, as I read her words….
“I hate this disability. I hate watching it slowly destroy my child. And there is nothing I can do to save him. I can’t help him. And God is not helping him. Why? He is just going to be another statistic of a child with FASD. Why won’t God intervene?”
Lord knows I’ve shaken my own fists at the heavens a time or two (or 400), and asked God why! I’ve stood alone in our backyard after 8 hour violent tantrums over something as minuscule as It’s too late to start a movie, or You’ve already had a full dinner, and a snack, and desert so no more, it’s time for bed, and wondered what we did to deserve this. I’ve felt rage toward birth parents for making the selfish choice to consume alcohol or drugs days before their due date, and demanded answers from God. I’ve even reached the point of almost cursing His name and giving up on more than one occasion.
I get this precious women’s heart cry. I feel her pain to the core of my being. She was describing the lonely, overwhelming, and frustrating journey we’ve been on for more than a decade. Her tears are our tears. Her questions are our questions.
But her questions weren’t void of love for her son. They were driven by it. So have many of ours over the years. If love weren’t a factor, we would easily find the answers to our questions. The deep love we have for our kids makes this journey hard.
I sat alone in a tucked away corner of the retreat center I was at, reading her email, over and over, praying for an answer to come to me. Minutes seemed like hours. And then it hit me. An encouragement I’ve given to thousands of frustrated, weary, worn out, and searching foster and adoptive parents over the past few years, flooded my heart and mind…
You cannot determine your child’s future based on their current behavior.
I know. Easier for me to say than for someone stuck in a desperate trench to believe in, or practice. Trust me, I’ve even questioned myself over this. I began to tap the keys of my laptop in response. I shared these words with her. I told her about our own difficult season with our son, and how we’ve struggled to find any hope. But then I shared a verse of scripture from the Old Testament that continually brings us hope for a bright future with our child…
“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.” -Jeremiah 1:5.
In-spite of the hard days. In-spite of the questions. In-spite of the battles we routinely face, often at the expense of our family, I believe my child has hope, and a future. I believe God’s words through His prophet, Jeremiah. I believe these words over my son. Right now, his adolescent self is out of control. His disorder is nearly taking the life out of us. But that does not necessarily determine his future. Why? Because God makes no mistakes. He didn’t create the disorder in my child. A broken and sinful world did that. He’s loving and good and He’s making all things new. He’s designed every single human being with purpose and future hope. It may be hard to see right now, but I have to believe in a brighter day, some day.
This is true for us, and our child. This is true for this hurting mother, and her son. We cannot determine our child’s future, based on their current behavior. To do so would limit the healing, transformational power of God.
That gives me hope!
Have you struggled to find hope in a new day, because of the daily battles you face with your child? Share your story with us.