My husband and I recently attended an “Empower to Connect” conference. It was a great 2-day refresher, relearning the Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) approach to our parenting that we both appreciate and need.
So tonight, my adopted daughter had a challenging time. As I attempted to step back and handle things with the TBRI methods I was learning, I realized that although I wanted to see her need in this moment and nurture her, it was nearly impossible for me to do so. Having attended the conference and previous training in TBRI, I realize that I have a dismissive parenting style as I was parented that way so nurturing doesn’t come comfortably for me. I appreciate knowing this but being a nurturer is still like drinking vinegar to me. As I looked at my daughter, it was all I could do to just rub her back as I sat next to her. As we rode home in the car, I was sullen, and she was quiet. Getting home while the rest of the family was still out, I still knew I should nurture her but every inch of me was resistant as I wanted to revert to my old, familiar parenting style that said, “She did something wrong and therefore is wrong.”
I prayed and prayed and cried, finally saying to God, “I can’t nurture her like I need to/she needs me to so you will have to change me.” I realized this was one of those moments people talk of when God really gets all the glory as there is no way that I can accomplish this by myself. Going on through the evening, I bathed my daughter, finally being able to scrub her little feet and back rather than having her wash herself completely. I was still feeling like a failure.
Then God told me to write down tonight’s happenings and the progress I had made. He showed me that:
- I had seen the approach I should take (even if I struggled to implement it),
- I had stayed close to my daughter,
- I had rubbed her back, kept trying and even washed her toes,
- Most importantly, I had turned to Him.
This list, by His grace, gave me hope to go on. Later, I held my daughter on my lap and read to her. What a privilege, and what an awesome God we have.