Have you ever heard the saying that the heels of the present step on the toes of the past?
Well, the one thing you won't hear anybody say is that the heels of the FUTURE step on the toes of the Present! Why? Because the future hasn't happened yet. :)
And that is an awesome gift! Yes, TIME is an awesome gift! You know why? Because whatever behaviors are going on in the present or past do not define the future! Isn't that great?
However, what defines the future for many parents of children who have suffered trauma is FEAR; not our children's fear, but OUR fear. Our fear can be a very harsh judge. Fear holds back love, judges, discourages and causes further damage to children who have suffered so much already.
If we parent in FEAR, our children will not be able to heal, but will be stagnant, repeating the same behaviors over and over again. Many times fears can cause parents to go back to old behaviors and old triggers that they don't really like to see in themselves. Logically, they know that reacting in a negative way will only lead to more destructive behaviors but they do it anyway. "After all, the other kids were fine with it!"
The truth is, to NOT do our best as parents in regards to our children, whether they have trauma backgrounds or not, is plain ole' selfish sin.
But PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR.... This is a love that is a gift from God.
In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7- which I have quoted many times:
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
I would like to break that down and expound on it.... or as a teacher I know says, "Let's unpack this". :)
4-5 "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable and it keeps no record of being wronged."
Am I patient and kind? Or am I impatient and bark orders. "Get up!" "Get dressed!" "You are late!"
"How come you didn't clean your room?" "You are chewing with your mouth open again!" "When will you learn?" "How many times do I have to tell you?"
Just typing this makes my heart hurt. I do not want to talk to my children this way. I want them to hear me whisper good mornings in their sweet ears. I want them to be encouraged by my words, not torn down.
Love is not jealous or boastful, proud or rude....-
Am I jealous of my own child or of somebody elses? Am I rude to my child? Am I boastful or puffed up with pride? None of these things reflect a godly character to our children. We do not want our children to be puffed up with pride, but humble and sweet. We do not want to show them that we are jealous, especially if we were to say, "how come you can't be like Johnny??" "He listens to his mother!" This TEARS down!
"It does not demand its own way, is not irritable and it keeps no record of being wronged.....
Did you read that? IT IS NOT IRRITABLE< DEMANDING OR KEEP RECORDS OF BEING WRONGED.....
I have heard this taught many times in light of marriage, but what about in light of being a parent; especially a parent to a child with a trauma background?
How TRANSFORMING this is!
If we are kind, and not easily irritated, how wonderful for our children.... But if we keep NO record of being wronged, and we continue to forgive and operate in a spirit of Love, what a freeing and wonderful way to live!
This does NOT mean we do not remember our childrens' poor responses. It means we will not take into account those responses and harbor resentment in our heart. It is not forgetting as if nothing ever happened. I have heard that taught before, and I disagree. We need to remember wrongs, not to keep a record, but to know how best to respond IN LOVE to our children. Otherwise, we will continue to repeat the past.
Unconditional Love is not based upon performance, reciprocal affection or expectation, it is pure, raw, giving, love. And when we GIVE that love to our children, it HEALS. It is POWERFUL.
There is a true balance of guidance and affection to help the child become whole.
The child who tries to perform to be loved will not be able to be self satisfied. The child who acts out will not be able to get the reactive chaos they desire to calm themselves. The child who is so afraid to have their deepest needs, met, because they are afraid of being vulnerable will melt with unconditional love. The fears will melt away, because the result of Unconditional love is TRUST.
The REAL child, underneath the chaos and hurt and pain will begin to emerge like a little butterfly coming out of a cocoon. The wings will begin to flex and the TRUE PICTURE of the future will begin to emerge. They will be whole, they will heal, they will succeed, they will thrive, they will LOVE.
6" It does not rejoice about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins out."
I really like this statement. We should never feel glee when others suffer injustice, including other mothers who may have a child who suffers from trauma, or even if our child has something happen that is unjust and inside there is a tone of ha-ha, you deserved that.
It is just wrong.
I hope nobody would ever, EVER wish for somebody else to have hardship or struggle. The truth is, each of us that are placed upon this planet go through things in life, and in different seasons. I hope that because of our experiences we can offer compassion and love to those who struggle and offer a message of hope and healing. The very experiences I had as a young person have caused me to be able to have compassion and empathy for my own sons and daughters. As parents, while our pain may not have been the same, or caused by the same type of experience, we can still offer empathy and understanding. It is what WE would have wanted.
7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
What powerful words. LOVE NEVER GIVES UP! I DO LOVE this statement. Doesn't it just give you energy?? LOVE NEVER LOSES FAITH! It is ALWAYS HOPEFUL.... Have you ever lost hope? Have you ever feared the worst would happen? LOVE HOPES and ENDURES ALL THINGS in EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE..... Oh how encouraging. I WANT THIS KIND OF LOVE. I WANT TO LIVE THIS OUT IN MY LIFE EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY!
This kind of love is not what the world has to offer. The world's type of love is conditional, it is shallow and performance based. It is cheap. It says, "If you do what I want you to do and I gain something, then I will love and if you don't I'll be mad and withhold my love." This is NOT true Love.
I am so thrilled to be a part of the adoption community and a part of my children's lives. And it is so WONDERFUL to see our children who have survived some of the most desperate of circumstances, THRIVE in LOVE.....
TRUE LOVE IS NOT AN EASY PATH.... BUT IT IS ETERNAL, AND IT IS RIGHT .... IT EFFECTS THE FUTURE .... and the Rewards are GREAT.
“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis
― C. S. Lewis
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)