"Don't Look Back"

Mommy, please don’t look back,” Little Man said as I stood at the sink washing dishes.

Confused, I asked, “What do you mean?”

“Please don’t look back Mommy.”

“Look back at what?”

“Don’t look back because I don’t want you to turn into salt like that other mommy.”  He wrapped his arms around my waist and I bent to scoop him up.  Pressing his cheek against mine, he said, “I love you too much.”

I look at where we are as a family today, and I will freely admit that Russ and I are imperfect parents.  We do our best, we make mistakes, we learn, we grow, we mess up, and at the core of everything – we really love our children.  We want them to know that in their very souls.

Russ and I are working hard not to look back with regret at what we could have or should have done – we did our best, and now we are pressing forward.

How about you?  Are you tempted to look back?

Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

0 Comments

  1. Laura
    January 25, 2013

    Lisa, I've followed your blog lately with a lot of emotion. God is obviously working through you & Russ as parents. Persevere & love. Continue to pause for lots of hugs. Blessings to all of you, Laura

    Reply
  2. Hannah
    January 25, 2013

    All I can think is "Out of the mouth of babes." Little Man is preaching the gospel! I'm going to have to write "Don't look back" on a post-it note for my mirror. Thanks for sharing this today.

    Reply
  3. Mama D's Dozen
    January 25, 2013

    Your story, has actually helped Jim and I to not look back so much.

    Because we did not have insurance, nor could we afford to get our Little Miss counseling the past couple of years, there was always the wondering of "If we had been able to get counseling for her, would she still be in our home?"

    Yet, you were able to go over and above what many of us are able to do for our children . . . and Dimples still required Residential Treatment. Sometimes, our very best can still not be all that our children need for healing. All the love in the world . . . all the counseling money (or insurance) will buy . . . may not be enough for our deeply traumatized children.

    We truly believe that moving our LIttle Miss to Residential Care IS God's very best for her. We gave her our love . . . we did all we could for her . . . and then we had to release her to the care of others. We pray that the LORD will bring healing to Little Miss and Dimples, and that they will be able to return to our homes.

    Thank you for sharing your journey. The Lord is using it for His Glory.

    Reply
  4. Anita
    January 25, 2013

    Hi Lisa,

    I don't often comment, but I have been following your story and you are often on my mind and in my prayers. This post brought to mind some verses that have been of comfort to me in the hard times, when the past looked so much better and easier (though not always so in reality) than the present or future. Our sovereign and tender heavenly Father knows our hearts and knows just what is best.

    Ecclesiastes 7

    10 Do not say,
    “Why were the former days better than these?”
    For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.

    13 Consider the work of God;
    For who can make straight what He has made crooked?
    14 In the day of prosperity be joyful,
    But in the day of adversity consider:
    Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other

    Reply
  5. Chantelle
    January 25, 2013

    Only every single day. 🙂

    Reply
  6. rebekah
    January 25, 2013

    Yes, all the time. In ways that don't make me feel proud. Thanks for reminding to look forward.

    Reply
  7. Deborah
    January 25, 2013

    Oh girl – all the time……. my husband is quite the opposite, he never indulges regret. Me, however, I am a very very slow and deliberate decision maker. I research the living daylights out of everything and only make up my mind when I am absolutely 100% convinced that I know all the possible outcomes and I will be ok no matter what they are.

    When our adoption adventure turned into an adoption nightmare I second guessed, I wondered how I could have missed this as a possibility, I wondered how I had NO CLUE how bad things could get in a hurry, I wondered why I did this to our family and to my bio kids – who never asked for it (or wanted it to be quite honest). I end every indulgence in regret by telling myself that God doesn't make mistakes – God has a perfect plan – and there was a very good reason WHY he lead us down this path. I know what thoughts he is putting in my head – and I am struggling to trust him again and to be obedient. (JEREMIAH 29:11 gives me strength and hope)

    Reply
    1. Mom-2-6
      January 25, 2013

      Deborah, your story is mine. My sadness at how an adoption affected my other children is sometimes overwhelming. Like you, I have to believe that God does not make mistakes. My indulging in "What if…?" thinkning only takes energy away from more positive things. (Like meditating on the Lord's goodness to us.)

      Reply
  8. Emily
    January 25, 2013

    Oh man. Good words friend. And I love Little Man 🙂

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      January 25, 2013

      Thanks, Emily. I think I could write an entire blog based just on what Little Man says each day. He is amazing.

      Reply
      1. linedancergal
        January 25, 2013

        Feel free! I LOVE hearing the amazing things that kids say lol. It's so innocent and straightforward.

        Reply
        1. Laura
          January 25, 2013

          What's even better is that I can hear his voice in my head as I read what he says—Aunt Laura

          Reply
  9. linedancergal
    January 25, 2013

    I look back every now and then. Not with regret (although there is plenty I could regret if I wanted to) but to see how far we have come. 8 years ago when we moved into our house, we had a little (4 year old) Houdidni. He could get out of anywhere and we had to call the police numerous times to find him (super scary every time!). He only ate baby food (and did so until he was 10), was hardly talking, was incredibly hard to take shopping because he would do a runner as soon as you let go his hand, and a lot of other difficult things. We had no idea where Ben's autism would take him and if things would ever improve.
    Now he is about to start high school (a year early), I leave doors and windows open and he doesn't run, he LOVES shopping and I rarely lose him, and he is now the best eater in the house!
    Looking back with regret doesn't help you, in fact it will bring you down. We all have stuff we regret in the past. Once you have dealt with it, the past is the best place to leave it! But looking back to see how far we have come, well that is different. To me it is an encouragement to see how much things have changed.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      January 25, 2013

      Such good words! Thank you. Yes, we should look back in gratitude at where we've been, how far we've come, and with hope toward where we are going. Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
  10. charity
    January 25, 2013

    i was an adult before i gave the story of lot's wife any thought, then a teacher opened my eyes when they said the story was not about disobedience, but about faith…that her true sin was in not believing God could make her future brighter than her past…not trusting that His ways would bring her more than she already had been given…it is so easy to forget to trust in the hope of His future for us. You have been in my prayers my friend.

    Reply
  11. barbershoppe
    January 25, 2013

    Lisa,

    I am struck with how *hard* you have tried, and continue to try, to parent and love Dimples. Your heart for her and your work and prayers and sacrifices and waiting bring glory to our great God! You're bringing glory to Him this minute! It may not look like you want it to right now, but one of your friends (or maybe you) recently said that her story and your story are still being written. They're not finished yet. Looking forward to reading the next chapter!

    Reply
  12. Heather
    January 25, 2013

    My good friend and I recently had a very similar conversation. Every time I indulge thoughts about what my life was like before our adoption which we gave me the blessing of a child with significant special needs by absolute surprise, I feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I think looking back to see how far we've come is one thing, but to look back and long for simpler, less complex lives is to focus on self which is always counterproductive. I need to look at Christ more. I need to search for His face in the middle of my hardships more. I need to see the glory in the trial. I need to stop expecting the life of faith to produce ease rather than peace in the midst of difficulty. I need Jesus, not my old life back. Thanks for posting so honestly. Your transparency and faith are an encouragement to many.

    Reply
  13. Angela
    January 25, 2013

    Sometimes it's only when we hear it from our little ones that we really take it to heart!! So true for us as well! So many wouldofs, couldofs, or shouldofs, but it's really only the now that matters and that can effect the future!

    Reply
  14. Paula
    January 25, 2013

    I am SUCH a backwards looker… going to use sweet Little Man's reminder today to try and reform.

    Reply
  15. Leslie
    January 25, 2013

    Yes, sometimes. I'm praying for you.

    Reply
  16. amy
    January 25, 2013

    What a gift that Little Man said those words at such a time as this. Thanks for posting this – it was a wonderful gift to all of us.

    Reply
  17. Lisa H
    January 26, 2013

    We'll have to talk about this….It's a very tender spot!

    Reply
  18. Becca
    January 26, 2013

    Thanks for posting this ….much needed. Precious picture of your little man!

    Reply
  19. angie
    January 27, 2013

    Oh little man what profound big words you have and a wonderful authentic mom to share them so well and be HIS vessel to so many who need to hear. May the Lord bless you and keep you and may his face shine upon you as you never look back

    Reply

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