This Side of Heaven?

 

We’re driving down the highway, wheat fields on either side, the sun sinking low behind us.  She says, “Mom, would you be sad if I died?” “Yes, of course I would.” Then, without pausing to consider, I ask, “Would you be sad if I died?”  She answers quickly, “No, I wouldn’t – well maybe a little.  I have to think about it.”

While my heart rushes to the dark places of despair, I calmly say, “That’s okay.  Sometimes kids are afraid to let themselves love their moms.  It will come some day.”

I pray that it does, in the meantime, I give love as well as I can, I meet needs, I touch and hug. I make eye contact, offer choices, give voice, create safety.  I know without a doubt that Jesus heals.  But will He heal her this side of heaven?

“Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

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.

30 Comments

  1. Julie Blair Pitts
    July 16, 2012

    Thanks for the excellent reminder today, Lisa, of why I do what I do every day. And…how hard all of this is for my son.

    Reply
  2. Sarah La Due Chaney
    July 16, 2012

    I love all that is you. I appreciate the walk you are willing to walk. It is good to have you as a sister.

    Reply
  3. amy
    July 16, 2012

    Oh dear Lisa!!! My hearts breaks for this moment in time. I am thankful that our Lord is the Lord of even these moments, although they break our hearts. Praying for an extra measure of truth, grace, and mostly of all love for you today. You are deeply loved and I pray that finds a way to resonate deeply inside you despite the pain that comes from an episode like that.

    Reply
  4. Heidi
    July 16, 2012

    Oh, Lisa – I pray one of these days the light of love will find that crack in her soul and love will burst through.

    Reply
  5. Dana
    July 16, 2012

    This side of heaven? That's always the big question isn't it. I love your heart and your perspective on this. Beautifully written post.

    Reply
  6. Beth Templeton
    July 16, 2012

    Oh wow, this hits like an arrow in my heart Lisa. How beautifully you responded, with such strength and life for yourself and your daughter. I also have had moments like these and have learned to respond to the Lord rather than react to my child's words. I believe that indeed we will see healing this side of heaven, that Jesus' work on the cross is finished and our inheritance. I pray often for the day when our children walk in the fulness of it. It is a faith walk for sure, as so often I do not see that which I am believing for and that I know exists. Lisa, may your heart be comforted and strengthened even as you comfort and strengthen your children's hearts.

    Reply
  7. Jennie
    July 16, 2012

    Tears. You answered well. You love well. Like Jesus. We love because He first loved us…

    Reply
  8. Vertical Mom
    July 16, 2012

    I think her conflicted response is a step in the right direction. You're a good mom.

    Reply
  9. Joelle
    July 16, 2012

    My heart bleeds for you, Lisa. What a great quick response. Facing our own days of pain here and choosing to cling to the truth that the King is still on the throne even during the bad/hard times and even when I'm crying in desperation.

    Reply
  10. Leslie
    July 16, 2012

    What a hard conversation and a good response. Sometimes kids are afraid to let themselves love their moms, and sometimes they're afraid to admit their feelings of vulnerability. Hugs, Lisa. Praying for her heart and for you all.

    Reply
  11. jenny
    July 16, 2012

    Ouch. I was just really tempted to give the best mom in the world a little social workin', but once I tried to write my thoughts, I was stopped short by recognizing how much it must scare you to think that the connection may never be what we know it could be if……if only….Once I saw the truth and beauty of your answer, I realized that I had once again learned something from you. It is not yours to make happen, but hers to allow to happen. That you are able to say what you said is a beautiful testament to your ability to let God work through you and in her. I believe she will one day thank you for not pushing this issue, not making it about your feelings. Well done. Bravely done. Lick your wound, be gentle with yourself and know that you are doing the very best you can to be patient. Even when it hurts. I send my love as well as continued strength and courage.

    Reply
  12. Hannah Tucker
    July 16, 2012

    Tears for you.
    Prayers for hope for you.
    Hope deeper and stronger than words or looks can ever touch.

    Reply
  13. Laurel
    July 16, 2012

    So sad. So hard. My Little Miss would most likely answer in exactly the same way. But . . . we keep loving and we keep doing the very best we can for our children that don't want to accept our love, nor choose to love us in return.

    Keep up the good work. You are an awesome Mama.

    Laurel

    Reply
  14. Heather
    July 16, 2012

    I've had that "this side of heaven" question in my mind for many years. Thank you for this beautiful post. It gives me so much comfort.

    Reply
  15. Emily
    July 16, 2012

    Oh man, Lisa.
    Praying with you.

    Reply
  16. scooping it up
    July 16, 2012

    Oh man. So heavy. So hard.

    Reply
  17. Lisa Qualls
    July 16, 2012

    Friends, thank you for your kind and loving comments. I was going to respond to each one, but I hardly know what to say. It means the world to me that we can encourage one another as mothers, friends, sisters, and even strangers. Thank you; your words mean so much to me.

    Reply
  18. Leah
    July 16, 2012

    I want to cry for and for my family. I've had this same conversation with our daughter and it is so painful. It is a great reminder that healing may not come here on earth but when we are made new again all will be healed. Thanks

    Reply
  19. FullPlateMom
    July 16, 2012

    I have a son who would answer yes. He would be sad, because who would buy him all the toys he wants? It's hard to hear these kind of answers. You're right, this small community of moms needs to continue to bolster each other up, so that we can continue to parent kids who know nothing but how to reject us because they themselves have been rejected for so long.

    Reply
  20. Marty Walden
    July 16, 2012

    Beautiful, godly answer. Healing does happen, or shall I say can. We've been on this journey for 12 years and it has been unbelievably slow, but every day is a day closer to God. Satan wants to steal our joy and our hope. Every time we respond as Jesus would we are being His hands and feet. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  21. Marissa
    July 16, 2012

    Knowing that you feel that same internal despair after such words makes me feel like I can do it another day. Thank you. Your answer was so brave and beautiful.

    Reply
  22. Amy
    July 17, 2012

    It would devastate her. She just knows that she lost a mother, a home, a culture and survived it. She is not capable of seeing how another loss would devastate her while she is processing the first loss. Please know that the maybe and the I have to think about it are huge admissions that she does have love for you. God Bless you for your gracious response and loving heart. Thank you for sharing even your hurts.

    Reply
  23. zehlahlum
    July 17, 2012

    I had an experience similar to this that I've been trying to put into words and my thoughts about when we will have healing. I blogged about it today after reading this beautiful piece. It's so wonderful and terrible to know that there are other families living this all out on a daily basis.

    Reply
  24. Jenny
    July 17, 2012

    I am only able to catch up on your blog intermittently as my life with foster kiddos is, like yours, crazy busy. But every time I read, I feel so encouraged by your faith and perspective. My 12 year old foster son tells me regularly that he'll never love us. He "only has room in my heart to love one person, and that's my real mom." All of my kiddos have stayed with me for a long time (At least 1 year) and it's amazing how attached you get in that time. I love them each fiercely, knowing full well that they may never appreciate me or love me in return. It hurts. Thank God that His love is not conditional and that He has room in His heart for each of us. Thank you for your writing and for being so candid. Praying you DO see your girly healed on THIS side of Heaven.

    Reply
  25. Michelle
    July 17, 2012

    Thank you for being an amazing example of God's unending love…it is the love story of Hosea. Redeeming Love! I am in tears and in awe of your response.

    Reply
  26. Ann
    July 17, 2012

    I wonder if your daughter was testing you in some (new) way. If so, you passed the test with flying colors.

    Reply
  27. courtneycassada
    July 17, 2012

    wow. i'm sure that hurt. you answered and loved so well. and we have to be ok that it might not be this side of heaven. that' is so so hard!

    Reply
  28. Emily
    July 17, 2012

    Holding our kids' hurts (and the ones they cause us) before the LORD with an open hand is so hard. But so necessary. It is hard to leave wounds open,, but it allows us to remember that he DOES heal. I'm encouraged by your faith and faithful response, and I'm praying for grace as you wait for healing–showing her, through your response, what it's like to open our hurt places up to the one who heals, knowing he is faithful even when it feels like he is far…

    Reply
  29. shannon2818
    July 18, 2012

    It wasn't a definitive "no" – that's a step in the right direction.

    Reply
  30. Amber
    July 19, 2012

    Feeling ur pain…and committing to pray for her heart…that healing will come..that God will do exceedingly more than we can imagine.

    Reply

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