Monday, June 23, 2014

The Gift of a Challenging Child

all photos credit alanmathews photography

First of all, let me be clear that I never expect my children to bear my grief or counsel me.

Yet, God has given my nine-year old son an amazing gift.

I don't say this with pride, but with awe and tears.  Because it has been birthed through great hardship.

For this child has some ongoing challenges that are much more complex than the other children.

He is the toughest one to parent.  He's the one who often runs away in anger.  Like down the streets of Washington, DC.  That kind of running.  Crossing roads of a big city alone.

However, his personal struggles have cultivated an amazing ability to be in tune with the feelings of others.

In our family, he is Little Bitty's greatest advocate.  He knows minimal about her personal story, but he loves her deeply and grieves intensely over her future.

Foster care, and his own personal difficulties result in this child grieving and praying in a very authentic way.

His hard places have planted seeds which have sprouted into lovely green meadows of compassion.

His dark caverns have produced lanterns that glow with the dazzling light of truth.

God has used his gripping fears to paint a palette of bold hues of courage, brushing faith and truth across the canvas of our home.

This child calls me to more.  He believes in me.  He fights for me in way that is an in your face strength...he fully believes that I am better than my sin.   He is like his daddy.

This child calls me to repentance.

These are not things I expect from my children.  Ever.

This is not how I envisioned shepherding hearts.
My heart the one being tended.

I have gazed in wonder, as the Father has carved the steep, shaky, trails of this child's difficulties into flat, firm, pathways.

I can't explain it.

I am just an observer.

For this is God's hand, not mine, who is shaping this child.

Today, during a morning of extreme defeat- the liquid of my incessant sin pouring into a blender with four rotten hearts- violently pulsed into a milkshake of bitter.

Here, in the messy, shaken rot, this precious boy came near with open hands.

He sat down in my lap, his hand outstretched for mine, urging me not to bury my anger in the wreckage.  

To talk about it. 

Because this child has lived deep anger, deep anxiety. 

At nine-years old, he is an old soul.

He laid his head on my chest.  He grieved for me, his tears streaming.

I said, buddy I know you understand some of my sin struggles right now.  You understand the tightness in my chest.  You've walked down this path.  You know this is not who I really am.

He nodded his head and wept, as he held my hand.

We talked about how God uses it all.

The struggles turn into beauty, ministry.  Over time.

We talked about how it is a process, learning to grieve and trust.

Like building a tall Lego tower (that's all I could think of!).

The tower takes effort and investment of time.

Trust and faith in the process.  Courage and perseverance.

Yet, when completed, there is a strong and beautiful tower.

That's my lame analogy for a nine-year old.  Trying to put it
in simple terms for a boy-- God's process of creating beauty.

It takes time.  It takes faith and perseverance.  But there is beauty in His time.

My precious boy understands deeply.

He didn't let it go after the Lego tower talk.

He pursued me further to show me breathing exercises and relaxation techniques.

For my spouting anger.  For my broken heart.

And I sat in awe as he ran off to play with his brother.

How the Father reaches down to love me, at my worst, through the tenderness of a child.

He uses the fire to mold and transform.

Creating beauty.

Propelling us to more.

Even within the walls of our broken home.

These children, all of them, teach me more than I could ever train them.

Truly a gift.

But Jesus called the children to him and said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.'  Luke 18:16

1 comment:

Melissande said...

Love. This. Thank you so much for sharing.