Well, that was quite a surprise. I didn’t expect yesterday’s post, Have We Made Attachment an Idol, to gain so much attention; in fact when I clicked the “publish” button, I was nervous about how it would be received. Apparently it struck a chord with many of you who have pondered this as well.
I want to be clear about something. Secure attachment is beautiful – it is a good thing to desire for our children. God wired children’s brains to attach to their parents, but as we know, sometimes that wiring is damaged due to neglect, abuse, and trauma of all kinds.
In recent years, research has brought about deeper understanding of how trauma affects children and how we can help their brains and hearts heal. Karyn Purvis and Deborah Gray are my heroes. They have taught me so much and given me tools that continue to help my family. I am blessed to know both of them in real life and much of what I’ve shared in the My Learning Curve posts are my experiences of applying the knowledge I’ve gained from them.
I’m very thankful to say that our children have come a long way – and so have we. There was a time when I didn’t think our family would survive; those were very dark, desperate days. Yet here we are, 7 1/2 years later, and we’re on the road to healing. The difference is so dramatic – I still wake up every day in awe of what the Lord is doing.
Attachment is beautiful – it feels amazing. When I look in my child’s eyes and see love and trust reflected back at me, my heart melts. The hard moments slip away. I’m in love.
But the truth is, how I feel about my children, the joy they bring me, the satisfaction of knowing I’ve handled a situation well and drawn them closer – those things are all bonuses. Even when we are obedient to God and follow his will to the very best of our ability, we may not get the results we long for – we may not feel joy or satisfaction. We are tools He uses to bring about healing in our children’s lives – we are not the healers. We serve, we love, God heals.
And sometimes He doesn’t.
Our oldest daughter, Hannah, graduated from medical school and is in her third year of residency. She has had the best training, she is constantly learning new skills and logging hours and hours of experience. She goes into the OR and actually does surgery on people – how crazy is that? I like to tell her that she can thank me for teaching her to sew (which is completely false). But the truth is, she does not determine who lives and dies; she does not determine who is healed and who is not. Hannah is a vessel through whom God works his will and his healing power in the lives of her patients.
The same is true for all of us who are parenting wounded children. We seek education, we learn new skills, we do our very best – and we make many mistakes in the process. Yet, we do not determine whether our children are healed or not – or how quickly that healing comes. We are vessels through whom God works his will and his healing power in the lives of our children.
Attachment becomes an idol when achieving it becomes more important than being obedient to God. When we have given all we’ve got, tried every technique we know, and we are at the very end of our rope, it’s pretty hard not to be frustrated and resentful toward our children (or maybe it’s just me). The suffering our family has endured due to trauma and lack of attachment is far more than I could ever write about. I have begged God to bring healing; sometimes his answer has been “yes”, sometimes “no”, and sometimes “not yet.”
There were so many amazing comments to yesterday’s post; I want to share this one from Sophie,
Just thinking after reading this how Jesus doesn’t fret over our attachment to himself…..he just keeps on showing us who he is. Every open door we give him, he gives us a more intimate glimpse at his character and his pursuit of us. He is steady and composed, so fiercely adoring us and calling us his own, while so patient.
Healing and attachment are our journey; they are what we hope and pray for, but not what we worship. We worship the Healer, not the healing itself.
Thank you so much for sharing your hearts on this, please keep the conversation going. I love hearing from you.