Our Family

Our Family
Our Family: Pops, Me, The Teenager, The Boy, The Freckle Faced Ninja, Miss Priss, Miss Sassy Pants, Madi-Lou-Who, & Dora the Explorer

Friday, June 15, 2012

This wounded heart

I didn't really want to write this blog post and make it public.  But some things are of God and when He presses...there's always a reason.  If this post strikes a chord in you, for someone you know, please share it with them. 

There is this heart who lives in my house.  It is a wounded heart, like so many others around me.  It silently cries out for me.  Hug me, hold me, show me you will love me before all others. 

But it cries out from behind this wall.  The wall is made of invisible bricks.  The bricks are built out of fear.  They are protected by a net of false bravado that attacks any who attempt to get too close.  I don't need you.  I'm the best.  It whispers.  I can survive on my own.  I used to have better than this.  My old family was better.  It repels me.  I want to walk away from it. 

But the silent cries.  They have arms.  They grab at me.  Desperation.  They pull me into the wall.  Are you going to leave me?  I don't trust you!  They left me.  Why won't you love me the most?  Are you going to get rid of me?  I know you hate me. 

The heart, it tiptoes, sneaks, hides.  Then it jumps out and asks for love with such desperation, all the while throwing this wall up.  Tossing the net over me. 

That is what it is like to live next to a wounded heart.  One that is not healing.  Closed for business.  Don't bother because you aren't getting close to me!  I will never trust you.  This is not my home.  Not my family. 

You cannot live with a wounded heart, instead you live NEXT to it.  It will not let you.  It is too wounded.  It wants you close, wants to be accepted, loved.  Yet it will not trust you to love it.  Does not trust that you will care for it.  The child who holds that heart in their chest, tiptoes around, trying to catch you being disloyal.  They desperately crave connection.  Communion.  But they will not open up to that connection.  Instead they will allow you next to them.  Where they can see you. 

They do not ask honest questions.  They are too gripped by fear.  What if your answer is another in a long line of perceived rejections?  Instead they hint.  They cajole.  They brown-nose.  They bribe.  They pretend perfection. 

This child's room is never a mess.  If more than 5 toys are on the floor they quickly apologize for the "mess".  Then ask 15 times if they need to clean up. 

This is one of the hardest parts of my motherhood.  I want so badly to be the most loving mother I can be.  But I am pushed away by my own child. 

And the desire wanes.  It's like being around a really clingy old flame that I no longer want to date. 

That stabs at my heart.  I feel I am failing.  Losing this little heart.  One day they will stop being desperate for my love.  Will they turn to other things?  Things that could destroy?  That thought chills me. 

I know this is reality for many wounded children.  Adults too.  Broken hearts are not broken arms.  They do not heal with a signed cast and 6 weeks of sympathy. 

I read all the books.  I was prepared for this situation.  I knew these behaviors we would see.  I knew how I would probably feel. 

I wasn't prepared for the distance.  The length of time.  The repelling. 

This is my hard parenting.  Out loud, I lament 3 year old tantrums, argumentative children, dirty clothes on the floor, and children who go temporarily deaf when I give them directions. 

But inside I am crying for this wounded heart that will not let me in.  The child seems happy.  Others comment on how well-adjusted our children are.  After 2 years, they seem so happy.  Look, so beautiful.  But in those brief glimpses they don't see. 

I have finally laid this heart, and the child who it belongs to, at God's feet.  After all, I am realizing that it is He, not I, who has the power to heal.  Maybe that's what God has been trying to tell me all this time.  I couldn't hear over the sound of banging my head on that wall.  My noise drown out God's voice. 

        He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds
                   Psalm 147:3

I wonder how often I have repelled God.  How often I've thrown up a wall of fear and bragged to God that I didn't need His help.  "I've got this Lord.  Who needs you!"  Lashed out in fear and anger.         The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit   
                      Psalm 34:18
Then tried to go around directly talking to God.  HOPING He was gonna take care of me.  Would swoop in like a super hero and save my day.  When I should have been praying, I pretended to ignore, while I listened for the sounds of His footsteps. 
        I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up

       the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong
       I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.  
        Ezekiel 34:16

How many wounded hearts have I stood next to and only seen their actions?  Repelled.  Annoyed.  Walked away.  Left them standing alone.  I wonder. 

I cannot heal them.  That is clearly the realm of a Saviour.  But did God place me there to give a kind word?  Encouragement?  A smile? 

This is not easy to post publicly.  To admit to being less than perfect is obvious to anyone who walks in my house.  But to show how far from even "good" I am is harder.  Sometimes admitting truth is done gritting your teeth.  And with a sigh of relief. 

This struggle is common to parents adopting older children.  Common to parents and care givers to someone who has experienced emotional trauma.  Happens in relationships where one has been hurt.  It is written about in books but out loud, only whispered about.  In shame.  

If you know someone who has adopted an older child, they may not want to share this struggle with you.  It is not one I would openly discuss with many.  But you can support them through it with  a lot of prayer.  Share the verses above with them, or any others that God lays on your heart. 

Do not feel pity for this struggle.  It is a battle we have willingly taken on.  But pray for our strength, that we do not ever give up the fight.  Even if it takes a lifetime. 

And if you are an adoptive parents struggling with this, I pray for healing in the heart you have been entrusted with.  I pray for trust to open up.  And I pray for God to knit your hearts together. 

I still have a seed of hope that He will knit all the hearts in my house together, healed.  And a seed of hope moves mountains.

God bless.



  1. Katie, I so appreciate your vulnerability and honesty in this post. And your descriptive analogies of the invisible walls and silent cries with arms were so so good! I also have one who is like this and those word pictures really are so accurate to what we have seen as well. I remember God telling me in the early days, "you need to be in this for the long haul"-- and now I see why. It is not a healing that occurs overnight for most, but a soaking over time in love. I trust God with you Kaite for nothing less than wholeness and freedom for our children with wounded hearts. God is faithful and He will do it! Bless you, and may you be refreshed and strengthened in your Father's love for you so that you dear mama!

  2. Yes, Katie, thank you for your post. Yes, it is very difficult at times with an older adopted child. But I see more and more that this adoption is not just about saving this one child, but God is also saving me from my self. He continues to pull me closer and draw me into His ways. His way is to lay down our lives for others, to love sacrificially, letting go of all my fears, needs and expectations to love this one. God is using me to disciple her, but He is also discipling me. He is constantly showing me all that is involved in adoption because, I, too have been adopted into His family. He has modeled his sacrificial love towards me, he has taken the brunt of my hurt and pain and stubbornness without making it about Him and becoming personally offended with my tantrums. He saw and sees who He has created me to become and He relates to that person, not my flesh person. I am continually reminded not to relate to her flesh, but the REAL woman He has created her to become.
    There is no giving up,no turning back.....nothing but laying down our lives for these precious children.
    Thank you for your post. It was beautiful.
    ~Rhonda McAndrew