Brokenness

It’s paying off

Some years ago I started to record things I was grateful for.  In the midst of hardship I longed to notice things around me that were good.  Apparently this was life changing for Ann Voskamp who struggled with pain from the past and depression.

I kept at it but there were seasons I put the practice down for it was not as revolutionary for me as it was for Ann.  Hardship and emotional roller coasters increased and I was really trying to notice for I did believe we always have things to be grateful for but, it did not change me.

At times it was hard to even come up with one thing but with the practice always in the back of my mind, my list got longer slowly.  And just a few weeks ago I realized out of nowhere… this practice was actually paying off.  Being in emotional pain daily, with God guiding me and Tim to embrace it for we are not the ones who will control changing the pain, all I have is little things.  And do you know how amazing it is to be so delighted, truly deeply delighted, over chirping birds, or over a warm wind touching your face, over lavender scent, over a sweet potato dish, or over dew on grass that glisters as if there were diamonds all around?  Or over noticing a whole group of birds dancing and playing right in front of your porch where you are sitting, and you have never seen birds there like that ever before?

The years, the months, the days of recording are truly touching the depths of me.  This is what Ann talked about.  In the midst of deep deep suffering, God is still showing Himself and thus we can endure.  I still am, because of this.  And even though the joy may last a second, joy was there.  These small moments make me live on, they give me energy, they encourage and show me life IS good in the bad.  It makes me small, who am I to know such gifts? I want to shout out… friends… this is such a MIRACULOUS something.  If you are in pain, no matter what kind, God transforms through the little, the truly important.

 

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I want my name back and Love is not free

Hard and painful it’s been. Tim and I have not been spoken to for over a month.  The boys seem to take turns (unplanned) and as of right now, neither one is talking to us.  The home is being terrorized, things get broken and calling 911 is on the table.  We no longer have a life.

It’s very sad the boys can’t see what they’ve been given.  They have been given family, they have been given future, they have been given love.  But love is never free, someone is paying a price. It’s costing someone something.  And to the boys… it’s still a blaming game, they are not seeing fault in themselves, and things are getting worse.  And we realize (with the help of a team) that it’s being abused, we are being abused.  And so we need to change things around here.

We can’t love more, and we can’t do anything different.

As sad as it is, Tim and I need to withdraw emotionally.  We’ve been battling this for a long time.  We don’t want to withdraw; we took in children who needed a home and safety to love, not withdraw.  So I am broken.  Broken over needing to let go. Broken over not being able to love more or do something different.  And so sadly, I need my name back. Today the boys will hear (in a therapy session) that I am considering asking them to call me Maddy again.  For how can I let go when, when I hear ‘mom’, everything in me wants to rise up and love.  I need distance.  They need distance.  There were times Boy 1 stopped calling me mom and started calling me Maddy, out of anger. My name switch is done out of self-preservation and, love.

We dont know where we’re headed.  The future is unknown.  We still know all children from hard places can heal.  It’s just not something we can control or make happen on our own.  So we surrender and embrace our circumstances no matter how it goes against nature, or our will.

 

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In His eyes

The lady who touched Jesus’ cloak and was instantly healed.  Jesus stopped in His tracks and asked: “Who was the one who touched me?” This woman had to confess it was her, in front of all the crowd.  Rising shame.  Would He be mad? Would the people laugh?  Would they make fun of her?

I am watching, I’m part of the crowd.  I want to choose the woman’s side and stand by her but I am too worried about the crowd singling me out with her. So I don’t.  But I know what it is like to stand alone.  Surely she shouldn’t have to.  But I am too scared to be made fun of.  I won’t risk it!  So either way I don’t feel good. It’s either pain and quilt or shame and fear.

But there is a good I can choose.

Good.

There is good.  What is it?  Surely walking up to this woman laying in the dust, feeling so alone… afraid… ashamed… not knowing what she did was allowed.  Shame weakening her.  I reach out, one arm reaching underneath hers, one hand reaching for her hand.  She gets up in the steadiness of my body.  I let her lean into mine.  She’s no longer alone.  If there is to be any shaming, we’ll be shamed together.

We’re deadly afraid, not knowing what’s to come.  Both trembling on our feet, our hands shaking.  And then… there He is. We face the Lord.  And even though the crowd is loud and rowdy, mocking us, we see it in His eyes.  The woman, now my friend, has done what is good.  And I have chosen what is best.  We no longer hear the crowd.  The crowd has no meaning to us.  Because… it is in His eyes.  Her and I are one.  I’m grateful for what she did, her courage.  Without her I would not know His eyes.  I did not lose out.  I guess I was courageous too.

~ For I know the plan I have for you.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future. ~

 

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Being like Him

We are there again… exhausted deep into our soul.  Sad, angry, hopeless, living in a stressful environment 24/7.

It’s been a week since Boy 1 spoke to me.  Blow ups are happening constintently and like never before do I see his manipulation and the fact that it is hard to trust him.  I am sad about him walking this path of not talking again, angry about the fact I feel he’s not pulling his weight. He could be going to therapy once a week, he could be showing us he’s all in by going to group therapy, and he certainly could put in every effort in school rather than ignoring all the help that is there for him.

I am that tired that I know it is okay to not pursue him right now.  I can take a break and make sure I stay well in it all.  So my schedule is emptier and the ‘only’ things I do is take care of the home chores, work just a little, drive them places, go on daily walks, sleep when I can, visit the boys’ soccer games, focus on my marriage, focus on the other 2 kiddos, sit with my Father on a very regular basis and meet only with people that understand or energize me. That is all I can take.

Still the anger and stress is getting to me.

Then my husband joins me on the front porch this morning, sharing his thoughts with me.  I am blessed with a husband who always strives to be better, who has the ability to SEE and always desires to be Compassionate and have Love.  He reminds me that we don’t want to become indifferent to our boy.  That we do not want to loose our compassion for him.  That our disappointment or anger can not take over.  We have to remember where he comes from, his reasons for his rollercoasters and getting out of control.  We have to keep working with his brokenness and let God fill us with Hope.  I start shaking my head as if to say yes yes yes. And even though my anger is trying to hold me back, I know Tim is right!  I realize it is okay that I am not fully pursuing this boy, that it’ll come back to me… I can take space for me, at the same time I can foster compassion and love.

So I get still even more… just trying to sit in God’s presence who in mysterious ways fills me up and changes me. Compassion will come back, love will overtake once again, I don’t have to worry about it.  We will always strive to be better!

 

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Art by Jean Keaton

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Respite in my Sanctuary

I have organized respite for boy 1.  He does not like me to call it respite for he has many bad memories when it comes to respite. I explain to him that it’s time to give respite a positive connotation.  After all, he is not being send away, this respite is because HE can request a respite; when he is so tired of life, tired of the hard work he constantly has to put in in order to be part of a family. He gets exhausted and then behavior gets too painful for all of us.  We have learned to give him space, and a place where there are no ‘have to’s’ and he can just be.

So off he went yesterday, at the same time when I was supposed to have my time away from life.  I was scheduled for time in my Sanctuary, something I try to do on a regular basis.  I go to this cute little cottage where I get quiet, I don’t see anyone, I don’t speak out loud, and I practice sitting in the presence of God.

As I arrived I was still working on the respite for boy 1, this was an unexpected circumstance that was trailing behind me. But even before this current circumstance, I knew I was going to arrive tired and full to begin with.  I had already let myself know I was there to rest.  For me, being quiet turns out to be work, it is not easy to let all feelings and thoughts just pass. And so, I told myself I should just read novels instead of study books,  And I could sleep the time away.  I also brought my computer this time, so I could have fellowship with friends overseas who were long due for a special devoted connect time. And I ended up binge watching some things I had not seen for over a year, something I just can’t do in daily life.  But… it didn’t feel like rest.

I started to ponder on God’s love for me, as I am.  Was it really that hard to know He loves me, even in this?  In the not seeking Him in obvious ways, in the not using this Sanctuary the way I usually do.  Why is it so hard to be loved as is?  And I realize why I don’t rest.  I can’t have peace about being here in this amazing place and not use it for what it is made for, in my opinion.  I really do not believe it, I really cannot grasp His love for me… as is!

And I think of boy 1, who I’ve encouraged to get away so he does not have to talk to us, so he does not have any ‘to do’s’ like doing dishes or cleaning up after himself, so he can just be a couch potato and rest.  I love him none the less.  I might show him my love even stronger because I am the one setting this up, because I am the one guiding him to what he needs, because I am the one that makes it okay to not talk to us right now and not be capable of doing anything but breathing.  My love is nothing less!  I cover him in my prayers and love from a distance, knowing very well what he needs. I tend to him.

I can be confident that God is tending to me.  I might not even have the energy to think about it just like boy 1 is probably not thinking about me and my love for him right now.  I might be far away of feeling His love just like boy 1 is probably only feeling defeated, alone, lost and plain tired right now.  I am still here, still tending to him just like God is tending to me.

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I checked myself into a hotel

We’ve been talking about it for months… a re-occurring get away for me.  Talking, we didn’t get past talking about it.  And then I noticed how tired I was, and I talked about how tired I have been for some weeks.

We didn’t realized this till a few nights ago.  Tim and I have been operating from this believe that ‘it would all get better’.  But it’s not getting better.  The progression we saw in boy 1 over time seems stagnant now. We thought that when we stick to the hard work, our boys would come to a place of peace, where battle and fight is no longer needed.  But we realize change may not come.

Since my last post, boy 1 went from his darkness to massive explosion.  We have come out of that a bit, but life goes on unchanged, meaning ongoing explosions about every little and big thing.  It’s exhausting and it is cause for great distress ALL THE TIME.  After the big explosion 2 weeks ago, I expected us to see healing and that we would know a longer season of laughter, ease and family life.  And that is not what is happening.  We realize this IS our life.  And the ‘it will all get better’ is not coming.  I do not mean to be hopeless but when I ran this by our therapist, she said the hopelessness is something I should definitely hang on to for it is HOW BOY 1 FEELS.  It’s his connection to us, he wants us to feel how he feels.  And there we go again…  the pain is good for something.

Accept, at the moment I am exhausted.  And so 2 nights ago, after another explosion, I checked myself into a hotel.  I needed rest, I needed sleep and both I was not getting at home.  Being at home meant being in constant tension.  Full disclosure… I have picked up dancing and boy, am I using that to get away from things.  This past Monday I just could not be home with the boys, and I went dancing.  I am learning it’s healthy to escape at times, and I probably needed to do that a lot earlier in the game.  And a dancing class here and there is not cutting it anymore, I am way past an hour get away.

We have 3 more years before boy 1 leaves our home potentially, and we may be in this battlefield for all that time.  That is what our story is.  And we do not have the sweet baby phase to look back on, or the cute toddler memories to cherish in our heart that makes this all a little more bearable.  No, all we know is battle…

I guess we did not ‘start’ a family for the sake of having a family.  We were aware it was going to be hard.  But honestly, in the back of my mind, I was hoping, maybe even counting on, we would feel like a family.

So all I can do now, is ask for your prayers!  Ongoing prayers for the healing of our boys.  Our agency has always said that ‘EVERY CHILD FROM A HARD PLACE CAN HEAL’.  I am trying to hang on to that, but I am full of doubt at the moment. Pray for Tim and I to stay connected and well through all this.  Pray for sustainability for us.  Pray that at least him and I will be and feel like family.  We need God’s grace!

 

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