I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God; first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.
In March 2011, I wrote a post beginning with this quote.
It’s fascinating (and a little frightening) to read my thoughts and hopes from so many years ago. It’s very vulnerable knowing you can read them too!
This is what I wrote that day,
“When I read (this quote), I choked out a tearful laugh and then smiled as I thought of my life. Perhaps raising my family is not a great work of God, but it is my greatest work for Him. There is nothing more important to me, more precious to me, or more meaningful than the work Jesus has given me as the mother of my children and wife to Russ.”
Seven years later, it’s still true. Many years ago, Russ and I decided we would place great value on the work of raising our children. The relationships we have with each other and our kids are still my highest priority.
Six of our kids are 19 and older; can you believe it? As I watch my children become adults, it’s remarkable to witness the fruit of our work – parenting is definitely hard work.
It’s not that growing up has been a smooth path. Some of our kids have struggled a lot, but we walk the road with them and never give up.
And we pray – a lot.
In the same post, I wrote:
“Two years ago parenting some of our children seemed impossible, now it is difficult, but one day, I pray with all my heart, it will be done (or at least the healing won’t consume so much of our lives) and they will be healed of their deepest wounds. I can almost imagine what it might look like, what they might look like with peaceful, whole hearts. I believe with the help of God, even the most wounded children have the capacity to heal.”
Seven years later, this is what I know about healing:
1. Healing is not “all or nothing” for our kids with early trauma. There are many small steps along the way.
2. Our job is obedience to God even when it doesn’t appear anything will turn out “right.”
3. We can’t look at parenting with a “success or failure” mindset.
4. Parenting requires true patience – patience for the long haul (think years).
5. Attachment may not happen the way we hoped it would. We need to give our kids and ourselves grace. We can have satisfying relationships even if the secure attachment we yearned for didn’t come.
6. As they become young adults, our children have their own journeys of healing to travel. Our role is to support them while giving them space to do what they need to do.
7. Our worth and value aren’t tied to our kids looking like they’ve “turned out” okay. Likewise, their worth and value aren’t tied to making us look successful as parents! We are all loved by God and our worth is found in him.
8. Shame will steal our joy and our ability to appreciate our kids for who they are if we let it.
Don’t be discouraged. We need to press on toward healing and attachment with our kids from “hard places.” It’s come more easily for some of our kids than others.
The truth is, secure attachment feels really good – but, as wonderful as that is, parenting isn’t about feelings. It’s about true love, the kind of love shown to us by God.
We are called to love regardless of circumstances and feelings, and sometimes that’s a really hard task.
You’re a good mom, my friend, doing good work, sometimes in very hard circumstances. You are not alone.
Be sure to grab my free download, Hope for your Parenting Journey: a guide for adoptive and foster moms.
with courage and hope,