22 September 2014

the love thing...again

You know, it is relatively easy for humans to believe that since we are a sinful race, 
God can't truly understand our pain.

  Intellectually, we may know it to be true,
 but sometimes we discover it
 on a visceral level...
and it is liable to be in a place where we are not quite prepared to be undone.  

In Sunday School, for example.

Why we don't consider that a place for our hearts to be cut open, I'm not sure.  
It is a place, after all, where (hopefully) 
the Word of God is taught and expounded.  

And sometimes a person can waltz right into a Bible Study and get mowed down by
 that two-edged sword.

It has happened to me more than once.  

Sometimes, it is conviction.....
the Holy Spirit seems to be able to use any Scripture to get His message to cut right to the quick of the matter....

And other times, it is a blow that is both powerful and gentle all at the same time.  
Like this Sunday.

We are studying the fact that God is a Lover.  

You remember that post I wrote not so long ago about dying to love someone?  

Well,  I should know by now that when I make a declaration and encourage perseverance,
 I will get the chance to see if I can live it.  
And I was tested on it in a big way.

It's hard for me to be so open here.....
where, there is this delicate dance in being authentic and open and honest....
and being discreet in how much I share.  

I haven't got to the place where 
I can willingly lay it all out there.

Let me just say this: 
 Recently, I was dealt a couple of devastating blows to my emotional center. 

 It physically laid me out for nearly a week.  
I felt physical pain from emotional wounds. 
 Some of them were very old wounds that,
 from time to time, fester and God will bring them up to cauterize them again.  

It is painful. 

Both the "little girl" me and the "mama girl" me were knocked out from unexpected events that, from the outside, seemed very benign.

And so, I felt the pain of rejection both backwards and forwards in a way that had not been combined for many, many years.

The bottom line is that I wondered once again, why it is so hard to accept that a child will not show love to its mother. 

The adopted mother.  
The one who wants desperately to make up for whatever happened 

"I am forced to restore what I did not steal." psalm 69:4niv

That verse jumped out at me two weeks ago.  David wrote it.  
It is a Messianic Psalm.  

 I felt it was for me. 
 Because, the trust that I have endeavored to build for 14 years was not broken by me.  
Yet, as the mother of a child
 with attachment issues, 
I live with the consequences of it. 
 I have spent more than a decade
 trying to restore it.

And.  It.  Breaks.  My.  Heart.

That week?  
It was rejection on steroids.  

And I know that kids pull from their parents. 

I know that teens pull away.

I'm not explaining it well if you think 
that is all I am talking about.  

An adopted child has issues that are
 uniquely hers.

She will fantasize about her "real" parents.  
She might not vocalize it, 
but it is something she thinks about.  
A lot.  

I'm not adopted, but I have been told this,
 by people who were adopted, 
enough  times to believe them.

And then, there is the thing about the 
language disabilities combined with the developmental delay.  

It's like an old LP record when the 
needle gets stuck.  
It keeps repeating the same small part 
over and over.

She doesn't know how to say what she is feeling. 

And she is stuck in a cycle
 that is 
 on her development. 

And her development is stuck in her disability.

The thing is this:  

If you are parenting a special needs kid who has not bonded to another adult in her 
earliest of years, 
she will likely take it out on you.

Sunday morning, during Bible Study, we turned to the Old Testament book of Hosea.  
God was talking about Israel.  
I read this:

"When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 

But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me."
 Hosea 11:1-2niv

 ...and the tears started flowing down my face.  

I couldn't stop them.  

I have learned not to try.  

Because, if you can't be real and vulnerable 
in the midst of 
your brothers and sisters in Christ, then, 
well, there is no place 
you can be real.  

Although the context of the verse is

 Israel's relationship to God,
 my heart also read the name of my child and the country of her birth.

How could he really expect me to be like Him in the day-to-day rejection?  
The silence?  
The avoidance? 
 The panic of a future living with someone who doesn't want to be with you? 
 The pain of not knowing how to fix it?

I thought that, God being God...
(you know, being self-existant, 
not needing anyone)
...He really couldn't relate to the emotional pain that an adoptive mom with a resistant child...
(a special needs resistant child)

And I was so wrong.

He took me "further up and further in".  
A glimpse into the suffering that He suffered.  The Bible calls it the Fellowship of His suffering.

"How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel?...My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused." 

Hosea 11:8niv

 Accepting the assignment to love 
without that love being returned is
 never easy.  
It is tempting to give up trying.  

And yet, there is really no choice, is there?  

How does it glorify God to say that 
this is too much? 
That I won't do it?
 That it is too difficult? 

What is the Truth? 

God is with me.

He loves me.

He loves her.

He chose me to parent her.

This is not about me.

This is about Him.   Loving her.  Through me.

Her delays, disabilities, and disorders are TEMPORARY.


He gives us, through our various bouts of suffering, the opportunity to know Him in an intimate way. 

That must be the focus.  

There is still quite a bit of SELF scarring up the work He has prepared for me to do.

Don't lose heart.  
We will pray for each other.


  1. Thank you for this blog post! It spoke volumes to my heart. I am not an adoptive parent, but I am a stepparent, so I can very well relate to much of this! I am also a stepparent to a little girl whose mother is in and out of her life and whose father (my husband) wans't a big part of her life until she was around five, so I can understand this. I'm praying for you, and if you find time to pray for us I would so appreciate it! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Stacy,
      Thank you for your perspective. I did not consider the pain a stepparent may feel, though I should have done so. There is power and comfort in praying for one another and in the Word of God. Thank you for commenting.

  2. The Lord led me to Hosea when my heart was torn to pieces over my unsaved husband. Through this book, I felt the heart of God, I felt His pain. I saw how much He loved my wayward husband. And even rebellious me. It transformed me. God will bring you through this painful time. He will not abandon you. He didn't leave me. I pray that you feel His presence in a new and tangible way. Bless you.

  3. Thanks Deborah for sharing your pain and the difficulties of living life on its terms. Your faith is strong and the actions you are taking with God are taking shape. In my experience no matter the circumstances that cause suffering the important thing is to continue picking up the broken pieces and draw closer to Christ. I never know when God will ease the pain, but I know He will and all I have to do is keep close to, Him and continue serving others. Peace be with you.

  4. He gives us through these bouts of suffering, the opportunity to know Him in an intimate way. Simply beautiful, Deborah. You have a kind and compassionate heart and again, I'm so glad God found the right home for your daughter. My cousin was adopted and has struggled with many of the same issues. Your ability to teach her directly I know has a huge impact. She is blessed to have you.

    1. Thank you, Kristi. Your encouragement means a lot.

  5. Yes the adopted child has issues that are uniquely hers - but God is able to meet all those issues with His comfort, love, and grace. Your child is lucky to have you - seeking after God's heart - as a role-model for her.

    1. I appreciate your words very much, Dr. Bengtson.