how emptiness sings

Monday, January 30, 2012

I have read dozens of adoption and foster care and therapeutic parenting books over the past year and half. I have been to conferences. I have filled my mind and heart with countless blogs and stories and encouragement for parents who doing the hard thing with their kids from hard places. We’ve been in the depths for weeks on end. We’ve experienced the joy of it over and over again.

None of that prepares me for when we re-enter those dark places. I’m surprised every time. Not surprised in the sense that I don’t think it’ll ever be bad again, just in the sense that it’s usually unexpected. Looking back I can pinpoint some issues – there was the road trip. There is a potential new babysitter. There’s me – full of failures and frustrations and choosing the wrong thing. But there’s nothing huge. Nothing that hasn’t come to us before. Nothing where I can just say, “This. This is what we’re dealing with.” The depths of this particular funk is just unexpected.

I’m not scared now like I was a year ago. I know hoarding and urine and fits and disregard for safety and the ‘forgetting’ of how to do things (OH. the forgetting. It gets to me) and the whining and the destruction and the aggression….all of it…I know it’s just the outward expression of feelings. I know we can eventually get to the root feelings and help him feel safe and loved and secure. I know there’s no place too far gone that healing cannot occur.

I’m not really embarrassed anymore. There are moments sure (usually involving pee), but I know my child is worth more than other's’ opinions of us and our parenting.

I’m not unequipped. This hard road has taught us the basics of what we really need to know. Even while we search for new strategies, for new tools, I know that clean clothes, snack bags, rocking, singing, feeding…all of that is just part of the answer. I know the real answer is love and grace and saying thanks and choosing joy and all of it a benediction.

So this week, I’m thankful for the library of resources that we’ve accumulated. I’m thankful for the skills we’ve learned to help our son through his big feelings, even when we have no idea what’s going on in his little head. I’m thankful for our therapist who knows that children heal best in families, who has never had a session without one of us there, who taught us to do therapy so that the healing can happen here at home. I’m thankful for online friends and mentors who can lend helpful advice and encouraging words when I need it most. I’m thankful for a husband who will come home at lunch to sit with our children so I can please just get a shower.

More than that, I’m thankful for the hard eucharisteo, choosing joy in the midst. The constant driving to my knees. I need the humbling, sometimes humiliating, reminder to seek the face of God, to realize that He is always and ever enough, to know that to receive gifts upon gifts, I need only to go lower. I’m thankful for the ache of the emptiness, knowing that’s when I’m truly filled.




655. riches of His love
656. enough. He is enough.
657. grace, overflowing and unending
658. leaning on strong arms, right when I feel weakest
659. perseverance
660. sharing M&Ms
661. a world full of the resources I need, right at my fingertips
662. passion for planning
663. early morning prayer times
664. How Emptiness Sings (a song perfectly describing that very gift. Thank you Christa Wells)
665. listening to Christine Caine preach. What a gift she’s been given. What a privilege to hear it.
666. the strange grace of a pre-numbed arm
667. a delayed basketball game, allowing me to arrive on time
668. humiliation, keeping me on my knees
669. showering my children with opportunities for joy
670. not feeling the need to salvage my pride
671. the continued drive to be closer to Him
672. hearing my daughter read Scripture aloud
673. hearing my son encourage and praise his sister
674. tired children and early bedtimes
675. a two-year-old who dresses herself
676. a controlled temper, patience to wait for answers

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