It’s Mothers’ Week: To Mothers of Unattached Children
We are heart healers, which is so hard to be when we ourselves are broken. Our hearts are broken, too…often by the same children we are trying to heal.
We’ve been the recipients of abuse, emotional and verbal and physical. We’ve had to turn the other cheek, put up a brave front, treat others the way they would want to be treated even though they refuse to do the same for us. We have had to show love–real love, yes, but mostly fake love and somewhere-in-between love–to some of the most unlovable people imaginable, all in the name of healing.
We have the same secrets, sister. We’ve lost our tempers. We’ve parented in anger. We’ve said and done things we regret. We’ve tried, at our most broken, to make our children understand just how unlovable they are. We’ve hated a child.
We have the same fears and the same questions, too. Will I ever love my child for real? Will I ever look at her without seeing a monster? What kind of a person will he grow up to be? Am I making a difference at all?
We are tired. We are weary. Some days, we want to give up altogether, beat ourselves into the ground. And yet we persevere, sometimes because we want to, sometimes because we’ve been asked to, sometimes because there is simply no other choice.
We have good days and bad days. Days that we feel like we can change the world, make a difference, and days when we wish the world would swallow us up. End the turmoil of our lives. We are filled with guilt for the damage we’ve sometimes allowed to fester by not being perfect moms. By being selfish. By being human.
Once upon a time, my sister, you were a girl with a beautiful dream, and so was I. We were going to be mommies. We were going to share a lifetime of love and laughter with bright-eyed, dimpled children that would thrive under our care. We were going to foster or adopt and give a future to a child who had no future. Our hearts were loving, our motives were pure, we just didn’t know then what we know now. We didn’t know that damaged children take more than love and security and structure to heal. More than food on the table and a roof over their heads and clean clothes and new toys and a good education and piano lessons and band aids on skinned knees.
Our damaged children need to be loved perfectly, unconditionally, and completely. No matter what.
And herein lies the problem. We can’t do it, can we? We’ve tried and we’ve failed time and again. Our kids need the love that only Jesus can give, and we must wake up each day and surrender our mothering to Him. Or fail.
I used to feel entirely alone as a mom. Mothers of normal children simply cannot understand the depths of pain and shame and heartache and anger I have felt. The utter hopelessness. I still feel alone sometimes, but I’ve begun to hear whispers from other places…other mommies that are destitute in their despair, too. I know you are out there, sisters, somewhere under the veil of secrecy and guilt. And I need you to know something.
You are not alone. I understand exactly how you feel. You don’t even have to tell me, but I will listen if you need me to. I won’t judge you. I won’t hate you for how you feel. I won’t even be surprised. You are not a horrible mother for how a damaged child has changed you. Good days and bad days aside, you are and always have been one of the special, the few. The mommies that haven’t given up on beautiful even though it’s covered in ugliness, even though you sometimes wish you could run the other way. You have allowed yourself to be put into a place where God can use you to do miracles. And He will, if you let Him.
Your dreams are still beautiful. You are beautiful, my sister.
Once upon a time, I had a beautiful dream. I wanted to rescue children who had no hope and no dreams of their own. Be their mommy. It hasn’t worked out exactly as I’d planned or expected, but it has brought me here, to the point of surrender. And I’m discovering that this, in and of itself, is far more beautiful than anything I ever dreamed up on my own.
I’m married to a man that makes me laugh so hard that I usually end up in tears. He was saved four years into our marriage, and then we turned our union over to God and His plans. God took our offer and blessed it with four children in two years (two through the foster care system and two through good old-fashioned baby-making), and then (surprise!) gave us another little biological squirt three years later. If you did the math, that’s five children in five years. Did I mention I’m insane? No seriously, God is good. He’s gently leading me down the paths of mothering, partnering with my incredible, Godly husband, dealing personally with impulsive ADHD, homeschooling, and helping our adopted kids overcome Attachment Disorders. I’ve got a long way to go, and most days I wonder how God could possibly love me with the absolute abandon that He does. I’m so thankful. I’m so blessed. I write about my life and my journey to overcome the worst of myself. Feel free to visit, but don’t expect perfection…the only good in me comes from Him.