This letter is to every woman who has stood in the gap for a hurting child. Whether it was only one night due to unbearable circumstances for a child in foster care, or you have adopted a child(ren), this is for you.
Dear Precious Trauma Moms,
First, thank you.
Thank you for being brave and saying, “Yes”, to God.
Thank you for being selfless and saying, “Yes”, to open your home and heart to love a child(ren) who may never love you in return.
Thank you for giving every drop of your heart and soul despite the cost.
Second, I’m sorry you and I wear that title. I’m sorry you know me in a way others don’t, without ever meeting me.
I’m sorry that you are hurting right now for reasons that are often too painful to discuss with anyone and the very real possibility of being judged for what you need to share causes you to stuff all of it down deeper and deeper.
I’m sorry that you probably don’t feel up to celebrating Mother’s Day knowing what it might bring out in your hurting child(ren).
I’m sorry that you might have convinced yourself that you don’t deserve to be celebrated because you believe it’s your fault they are not healed and “normal” like other children.
I’m sorry you don’t get to rejoice over the holidays and special occasions like you dreamt about before your hurting child(ren) ever came home.
I’m sorry that I can’t pull up a chair next to you and look you in the eyes as we share our hearts over a cup of tea.
I’m sorry for all the emotions tied up in the words, “trauma mom.”
Yet, I’m thankful for them too. Because every step I have taken on this journey has led me to this very moment today where I am able to share our story knowing it will unlock healing and hope for many of you.
I think this next quote describes every trauma mom that I know.
By your yes, you are setting hurting children free!
I want you to know you are not alone. You are deeply appreciated and respected by me, and the thousands of other moms just like us.
I know how hard it is to spend your days walking through the trenches trying to find the hidden key into the heart of your hurting child. Relentlessly pursuing that child no matter what it takes or how long it takes to break through their walls of control, fear, and anger all while they are sabotaging every effort you make to draw them close to you.
I want you to know I understand how hard it is around Mother’s Day and every other holiday that is a trigger for your child.
I want you to know that you are seen and heard. That not a single tear or cry for help has been missed by God.
I want you to know that it is OK to share your story. That your story is a masterpiece being written by God for all those in your life and even those who don’t know you personally. Because He is using you and your yes, to touch the lives of those who are seeking to understand what it means to be called by, God, to do the impossible.
Please don’t keep your pain a secret one more day. Please reach out to others and find those you feel are safe to trust with the reality you face inside of your home. Please get help if you need it. Please take care of yourself. Please take care of your marriage. Please. Don’t allow their pain to become yours or steal your hope and dreams for them or you. You didn’t cause their pain either. You simply said, “Yes” to step into it. Sadly, most of us did this without even realizing what our “yes” truly meant. I’m thankful I didn’t know ahead of time, or I would have said no. No one would eagerly say yes to this much pain and fight for it to come into their life. But God, who knew that every ounce of pain each child brought with them would break me and create in me a heart to serve Him the way He wanted all along.
You see, it is ONLY through His love, mercy and endless grace that I am able to keep going and share our story.
Not one single day is easy. Not one.
Yet, I constantly remind myself to focus on one moment at a time and to never go to bed without counting my blessings.
Sometimes finding one positive thing about parenting hurt children seems impossible. Because their pain is like a tangible presence in every facet of your life. You can’t escape it no matter how many times you have tried or dared to think about running away. And some days it feels like a noose around your neck. Catching a breath is more like gasping for air in a smoke filled room where a fire is raging all around you.
Oh friend, I pray you will allow these words to bring life and fullness of breath back into your aching body to know what hope feels like once again.
Our hope is to one day watch our children flourish like they were created to. Our hope is to live in a home filled with peace and joy. But that is not the season we are in. We live in one where each day must be held in the very light of His love for us and our children. One where we never forget that we walk upon holy ground and our home must be treated with a sacredness that leaves no room for resentment, bitterness, un-forgiveness, or hatred. Not in us or our children. That can only happen when we commit to pray as a family and breathe life into all of us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
As I left our children’s therapist earlier this week I was reminded just how sacred our calling as a trauma mom is to each child entrusted into our care. That we must treat it and ourselves with such tenderness. A tenderness not known to the world who so easily dismisses the trauma any child who has been adopted or placed into foster care faces. They only see a small glimpse into the heart of the child you are working fiercely to bring into the fullness of life. They see a charming child, a smiling child, a care-free child, a smart child, a well-behaved and polite child. And thus, the secret battle rages on in the quiet of your home and heart. Where so few get to see the reality of what it is like to be the enemy of a child you so desperately fought to bring to life or into your family. We too forget that our “yes” began a journey of seeing the world in a way that shatters the heart into a million pieces and only by faith will it ever feel whole again.
Beautiful mom and woman of strength, never ever forget who you are…
No matter what challenges you face each day, you only need to do two things…first for yourself and then your children.
Don’t ever forget that even on your worst days, when you can’t be soft, calm, a peacemaker, or loving that you are…
On those days when you have made things worse by your reactions, take a moment and pray this over yourself:
Remember this too,
Goodness is that wonderful to hear when my heart feels anything but love towards our children on a day to day basis. Friends, it is so hard to keep loving a child who does everything in their power to ruin your bond and relationship. I often feel guilty for not liking or loving them. But the very fact that I feel so much pain because of their choices and pushing me so far away is PROOF THAT I LOVE THEM!!!! Praise God for the pain. It just takes a small shift in our thinking and stepping back just enough to get the proper perspective on what is really going on. They don’t really want to push us away. They simply want control. They are not equipped to express their pain or fears, so they act out. The very fact that they continue to reject us and our love is proof that they truly love us too. They just don’t trust us yet to do so freely.
What I have learned over the last three years of intense healing with our children is that it takes…
I constantly must remind myself that I’m not dealing with a child who understands love, trust, bonding, or forgiveness. I’m dealing with a child whose heart and mind are broken. I must react to their brokenness and not their behaviors or daily trying to sabotage our relationship and family.
A child must never be put in the position to prove their love for us or they will constantly fall down. It’s too big, too hard, too much, and too scary. They must learn through our choices that it is safe to first let love in and trust that love is real by our actions. Until they know that they know that they know we are not leaving them and nothing they do will ever change our love for them, they will not stop resisting the very thing they need the most! Which is, Jesus. And of course us their parents. How can they trust a God they can’t see, if they can’t trust their parents who they see daily? Our goal is to become a safe haven for them by making every interaction with them about His love. When you mess up, humble yourself quickly, apologize and seek their forgiveness. Oh goodness have I eaten my fair share of humble pie over the years. Which I know is opening their hearts to live by my example. I’ve said this many times here over the last few years, “Love is willing the good for the other without demanding or needing anything in return. It is choosing to sacrifice being right and your own agenda for the sole purpose of uplifting the other person to become everything they were created for in this life!”
When I struggle proving my love to our children and feel exhausted, discouraged, defeated, and empty. I must take a step back and remind myself that I’m not in control. I can’t fix or heal their brokenness no matter how hard I try. But I must keep doing the right things no matter what their response is and pray that over time, God, will finish the good work He began the moment we said, “Yes” to His plan to adopt our children.
As I sat before my computer screen praying about what I would want to hear if I were reading this post, I found this poem and it hit a chord deeply in my heart. Because how many times over the last eight and half years have I been told many of these very things, when all I really needed and wanted was a friend to be still and sit with me through the pain.
Because sweet friend, I know what it feels like to simply move through the day knowing that night time will come and I can tuck myself into my bed, pull the covers way over my head, and pray that tomorrow won’t be as hard.
I pray you have taken the time needed to mourn the loss of what you dreamt it would be like to foster, adopt, and love a child that was born in your heart not from your womb.
This journey of mothering the broken is far from over, but I clearly see that I have three choices on how to live through this calling…
And I daily choose to let it strengthen me. I choose to keep opening my heart up and trusting in God to fix the mess He allowed into our home and life. This isn’t easy, nor does it feel safe. Yet, I know walking by faith demands that I lay down my feelings so that the grace and power of His love can resurrect all that is broken inside of my heart! Which will ultimately breathe the very same resurrection power into the hearts of our children.
If I keep choosing to protect myself, then our children will never learn to stop protecting themselves. I must be willing to risk it all, for them to have it all. I must lay down my pain to pick up theirs and carry it straight to the heart of Jesus.
When I can’t find the words to describe what my heart is feeling, this short poem is perfect and I bet you or your children feel the same way from time to time…
So, don’t lose hope. Because…
This Mother’s Day, maybe change your expectations and set your heart free to see moments of beauty and joy. Look for small victories with your children and family. If that means staying close to home, then create a special day where everyone feels safe to share their love with you. If that means staying in bed all day together, then embrace the sweetness of the quiet and tenderness of their hearts tucked in close to yours. If that means walking on the beach, then feel every step you take as the sand wipes away the pain of your week. If those small victories are found in homemade cards, then put them in a special place where your child(ren) can see their words, drawings, and bravery to share a small piece of themselves with you matters a lot! Maybe the victory will be in how we love them in ways they can receive it better and instead of pushing us away, they lean in close and whisper, “I love you, Mommy”. Whatever you do this Mother’s Day, don’t set yourself or them up to fail you. Show them how precious choosing to humble ourselves is and that it’s the only way for true healing of the human heart and soul to occur.
Take time to walk slowly on the journey ahead of us. Don’t rush what He is doing in us and our children. Let us invite Him into the pain. Where we allow Him the space needed to heal the brokenness and be gracious with ourselves as we stumble along the path. He will keep catching us, and lifting us up to face another day. All we have to do is commit to letting go of control and walking by faith. Our “yes” will never heal the trauma. God, never intended for us to do it either. He simply called us to say “yes” to His plan and then He promised to equip us for the journey.
I am praying for each of you and trusting in God to do marvelous things as we continue to surrender our lives, families, hopes and dreams into His faithful hands of love!
I pray that you will be able to rejoice with me after this weekend and share all the beautiful moments God showered you with over the weekend. I wish you all a blessed Mother’s Day!