This is the word the Lord has given me recently.
Quite a while ago I stopped posting about the unwelcomed guest in our home: Trauma. I wish I could say that absence of posting = absence of the impact of trauma. Not.so.much. It’s been nearly four years since we were first introduced, and I realize I need to take some time to ‘heal thyself’ in order to maximize my ability to help us become a healing home.
I still ask the Lord to change my hard heart, to give me the patience to respond with compassion, the strength to persevere through the trenches and joy to rise above the chaos. I still make the same mistakes. Not because He isn’t answering my prayers. Because I am so human. I get in the way of His work in me every day. I.am.not.bragging. I’ve been desperately asking God to show me why I am so insistent upon living as the former self, rather than as the new creation He has made me to be.
And He has! It’s all about forgiveness.
Heaven knows I don’t deserve the depth of forgiveness God has extended to me. I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for His redemption. With God’s grace, I have been able to overcome deep wounds and forgive others who have hurt me, only because He has shown me how! But now comes a revelation that shakes me to the core.
I am withholding forgiveness. I am casting blame. Not audibly, but clearly in my heart. And it is spilling over like poison, tainting everything it touches.
What a horrible admission! But maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you are like me and didn’t realize this is brewing in your heart. Let the healing begin!
I realized that I was so beaten down with the impact of my child’s trauma that somewhere in the process I began to blame him. In my heart I held him accountable for the countless hours we spend on the road for therapy, for the constant attention he requires, for taking my focus off the other children, for every time our plans change suddenly because of his reaction or response, for the fact that he must always be supervised, for the fact that I am exhausted because every moment must be a teaching one, and on and on and on… I blamed him for relationships lost, conflict gained, misunderstandings, judgment, and criticism.
Truth is, as critical as someone else may be of my parenting, I am my worst critic. And so, I was also blaming myself. I couldn’t understand why he would do things he shouldn’t or wouldn’t do things he should, why he would retreat so deeply within himself, why he would lash out for no apparent reason, why he would lie about something so c.r.a.z.y and obvious. My response typically escalates his reaction. And so I also blamed ME!
Forgiveness starts here! My child doesn’t need to know that I blame him or that I need to forgive him. He doesn’t need that burden. But it is something that must happen in my heart. Today I began by granting forgiveness…to myself and to him. I will never be a perfect parent. At the end of the day I hope to say I did my best. Raising a child requires commitment and investment. Raising a child with neurological, physical or emotional conditions requires even more. And in the words of Dr. Karyn Purvis, “…the longer a child experienced neglect or harm, the more invested you’re going to have to become in their healing.” In an effort to help my child heal, I’ve focused too much on ‘fixing’ him. That has proven to be frustrating and exhausting because in the process to ‘fix,’ I have not been able to appreciate who he is, making this adventure more about the destination than the journey.
He is treasured. He is valuable. He is wanted. He is a child whom God has entrusted to me. Not so that I can fix him. So that He can change my heart.
God has given me a firsthand opportunity to live out Scripture. It is one thing to say, “Sure, I can love my enemies (because I can keep them at a distance); I can speak for those without a voice (because, in all honesty, I get to choose how much effort I put into it); I can fight against injustice (because I can quit when I’m tired).”
What am I to do when the person who acts most like my enemy lives in my home? When the person whose voice I must be doesn’t want to hear? When my fight for injustice is mocked? When I am at the end of my rope but the battle rages on?
Then I lean in close to my sovereign God, and I trust that He will never leave me (Jos 1:5), that He works ALL things for His glory and for the good of those who love Him (Rom 8:28), that His grace is sufficient (2 Cor 12:9), that He gives me hope (1 Pet 1:3), that His strength is enough (Phil 4:13, Heb 12:12).
God is able!
Healing begins with forgiveness!