Saturday, October 12, 2013

LEARNING TO TRUST

When Miles came into our family, he didn't know us or trust us.
He had no idea how many hours we stared at his picture and memorized his face.
He had no idea how much we loved him and how long we prayed for him.

To us, he was our son.
To him, we were strangers.

When we brought Miles home, we started doing all the things we learned in our adoption training.  We went to him every time he cried (to give him back his voice), we didn't let anyone meet a basic need but us (to help him learn that we were different than every other adult), we held him, we rocked him, we played with him, and we loved on him.

As we continued to work on building a healthy bond with Miles, we noticed that he was still self-soothing.  Miles would lay on his back and shake his head violently back and forth to calm or comfort himself.  We had never seen anything like it.

As he got a little older, he stopped shaking his head and started seeking out hard surfaces to bang his head against.  He would crawl to the tile floor and head bang when he was mad, frustrated, hurt, told no, or sometimes for no reason at all.

Every time he would start banging his head, I would go comfort him.
I sat on the floor beside him, picked him up and patted him on the back.
And every time he would immediately bite me on the shoulder.
Miles and I did this little dance everyday.
And everyday, about 10-15 times a day, I got bit.

Comforting Miles was painful and I was struggling.

There were times during the day that I would see him crawl from the rug to the tile to bang his head and everything in me was screaming, 'I DON'T THINK I CAN DO THIS ANYMORE.'  I knew what was going to happen.  I was going to get bit.  There were other days when I would hesitate and just look at him and say to myself, 'I don't know that I love you enough to do this today.'

But how in the world will Miles ever know that his Heavenly Father is the source of all comfort if he can't trust me to comfort him?  There is going to come a day in his life that Jesus, only Jesus, will be able to comfort him.  And it was that very thought that kept me going back for more.

Hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month,
Miles would self-soothe, I would comfort, I would get bit.
This went on for a little over 8 months.

Then one day, it happened.

It had been a rough morning and Miles was mad.  I saw him stand up and my heart sank because I just didn't think I had it in me.  The thought of getting bit made me want to burst into tears.  But to my surprise, he didn't walk to the cold, hard tile.  He walked over to me, and gently laid his little head on my lap and started patting my leg.

And he has been running to me ever since.

Every day. Every bite.
It was all worth it.

Even now, when I think back to how incredibly hard it was to live that day in and day out, I would do it over again and again.  My job was to be Jesus with skin on to a broken little boy who didn't trust anyone enough to allow them to comfort him.  I thought I was helping Miles learn to trust me and learn to look to me for comfort, but actually God was using Miles to teach me the exact same lessons.

It is impossible to trust God, impossible to believe with everything in you that He loves you, and impossible to know that God alone is all you need, if you don't know Him.  He wants a personal, intimate relationship with you.  Knowing about God is very, very different than knowing God.  Knowing the character of God.

When I 'bang my head on the floor' and insist that I know what's best for me,
God patiently sits with me, waiting with arms wide open, to comfort me, to guide me, and to love me.  He even knows when I am going to end up 'bitting' Him, and yet He pursues me anyway.

"Our God is not patiently standing by and waiting for us to offer us love; He is actively and vigorously pursuing us... He is the father running down the trail to embrace the prodigal son even before the boy can speak his act of contrition.  He is the mad farmer showering a full day's wage on men who hadn't even worked.  He is Jesus forgiving the sinful woman even before she spoke her sorrow.  He is the king lavishing a banquet on beggars.  These are all symbols of a God whose love for us is so active, so strong, that by human standards He would be, at least, said to be mad."  {Andrew Greeley}

My pursuit of Miles' heart is nothing compared to God's active pursuit of my heart.
And God's active pursuit of yours.

What part of your heart are you refusing to give God?
Is there someone you need to forgive?
Is there a habit you need to give up?
Is there an area of your life you need to let go of and trust God?

Get up off the cold, hard floor and climb into your Heavenly Father's lap.
He deeply loves you.
He desires a relationship with you.
He is faithful and you can trust Him.

[Share this post on Facebook or Twitter]

4 comments :

  1. We have a 14yr old son that we brought home at 4 months. His name is Evan Nathaniel Makana kama mai kilani (gift from heaven) in his native Hawaiian language. Ev was born addicted to meth and had been moved several times before we got him. Eventually he was in an infant shelter where he was one of 11 babies with one family. Ev has had issues all along RAD, ODD, and severe ADHD but more importantly a great heart. I have not always been as embracing as you have with Miles. It makes me sad to say that at times I have forgotten that he is my gift from heaven. I hadn't thought of it in terms of my relationship with God but it completely makes since. I feel unworthy of God's love and grace and have probably made Ev feel unworthy of my own. Thank you so much for writing and reminding of God's boundless love for us and for Ev. As I move forward Ihope to be a more Godly parent. Mahalo (thank you).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for taking the time to share you story with me. Adoption is hard work, but the most beautiful picture of the Gospel. Thankful that God's grace and mercies are new everyday to help in all the ways I fall short.

      Delete
  2. You are a great patient family...Only God can give you such wisdom..I'm so happy things are going much better for you! I have followed your blog since you got your referral for Miles! You have come a long way!!!!

    Love,
    Cindy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. God has definitely been more than gracious to our family. What a journey we have been on. Thanks for the encouraging words.

      Delete