Saturday, November 9, 2013


Well, today marks what is potentially the last Saturday we will ever spend with our family of 4. From here on, the boys will be spending weekends with their cousin. We had hopes of what this day would be like...all fun and hugs and good times and sweet memories and "I love you's" and laughter and silliness. We had Mexican Stack-Ups for dinner last night and then piled on the couch to watch a movie. It was a late night to bed for the kiddos, but it was a fun time. This morning, I found myself (shockingly) awake around 6:45am as K-man (not shockingly) was getting up, too...earlier than the rest of us, as usual. Usually, he goes and plays downstairs until the rest of us lazy bums join him, but since I was up, I thought to myself...maybe this is a gift from the Lord. Instead of lying in the bed like a slug, I got out of bed, went downstairs, curled up on the couch with a blanket and watched The Justice League for an hour with K-man...a real treat for him, but he oddly chose to sit on the chair across from me rather than snuggling up with me. "He's 5," I thought, "I guess they all grow up eventually." But deep inside, I wondered if this was just another sign of his heart struggle right now...scared to death, insecure, and pulling away from us - me, in particular.

That is what has been going on in our house lately, and I have to admit, it's been hard and ugly and painful and a matter of much prayer. As a 5-year-old, K-man is struggling with grief that I will probably never truly know, and he has no capacity to process it all. It just has to come out, and it comes out in defiance, disobedience, whines, and disrespect. As parents, my husband and I are constantly struggling to tease out which behaviors and attitudes are typical 5-year-old behaviors and attitudes vs. traumatized child behaviors and attitudes. Generally, my philosophy is to discipline the same, regardless...with compassion and patience, but with consistency, but K-man's fuse has become so short these days that if I so much as say a correcting remark, he goes off the deep end. The child who came to us biting and screaming and hitting at 3 1/2 years old is leaving us biting, screaming, hitting, spitting, overturning furniture, and yelling physical threats at 5 1/2 years old. This is hard. It's really hard. We saw growth, and now we're seeing decay. We saw affection, and now we're getting the cold shoulder. We saw selflessness, and now we're seeing pride on display like we've never seen before.

So, today started sweetly. Once everyone woke up, we had a "big breakfast" as we call it...just eggs and waffles, really. My sweet husband put on his Pandora Christmas station. I guess if our family Christmas is going to be cut short, we might as well start early! Breakfast was fun. Then, we went to the store to buy some birthday gifts...still felt a little like Christmas. All was well, really, until this afternoon. From about 4pm on, we saw the attitude creeping in for K-man. We corrected verbally, but showed grace so as not to push him across that line. He responded, but you could see that his heart was still so hard. We went to a birthday party tonight...showed more grace...and then it happened. He pushed the envelope past the point where grace could abound. We had to correct with a consequence, and then he hit me and ran away and said all sorts of arrogant, rude, disrespectful things. My heart just ached! These days, I find it so difficult not to give in to anger towards everyone causing this to happen in this child's heart...and to be honest, selfishly, causing this to happen in my home! Life was sweet and settled and fun...and now even the one day we were determined to end well ended poorly.

And so, the Lord has been at work changing my perspective...causing me to be thankful for the opportunity to live out the gospel in such a clear, tangible way. The other day, as I sat with my arm and face wet with spit, I realized that I would never trade the gospel-rich opportunity I had just had in sincerely and repeatedly saying "I love you" to this precious boy while being spit on and hearing "I don't love you!!" yelled right back. Oh, how much more deeply He loves us than we know.

I'm in the business of being real on rose-colored shying away from the hard reality. It is so hard to watch this train wreck coming and feel helpless to do anything about it, but we're thankful, even today, for the opportunities the Lord is giving us to clearly live out the gospel in front of this child. I pray that one day, the Lord may use even K-man's memory of spitting in our faces and hearing us say "I love you" to draw him to Himself. 

"He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed."
Isaiah 53:3-5


  1. We have never met, but I wanted to thank you for sharing your heart and the gospel in this blog. We too are foster family and your words have encouraged me and pointed me back to Christ when the chaos and heartbreak amidst foster care has left us feeling beaten and helpless. I am very thankful for your witness and for your example of walking in faith.
    Your sister in Christ,

  2. We also are a foster family. This is so hard. When what you expected and have let your heart believe turns out not to be true it is so, so hard.