After another rough week of tough behavior God has given yet another glimmer of hope. It always seems to be when I cry out that I really don’t know if I can keep on that God allows me to see into a glimpse of His eternal hope. He gives me a little peek at His plan for a child that the world has beaten down and has broken. There are times that our family feels completely alone trying to piece together some semblance of a happy life for this life that has been so shattered.
There are definitely three notable triggers of poorer behavior, red dye, processed refined sugars, and video games. In my opinion the world would be a much better place had these things not been invented. One thing I have noted is that the last two times I have stated that screen time is up (after preparing our child with the time and how long allowed on it) the computer was turned off without any attitude or fight. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!!! No anger and attitude!!! Thank you Jesus!!! I had no clue how braced I am for the utter defiance with nearly every word I utter.
Today after church it was just the two youngest children and myself so we made a plan to have fun. It was too beautiful of a day to waste cleaning and getting organized. After explaining the plans in detail several times backward and forward we set out. There was initial complaining that was very obviously coming out of a source of fear of the unknown in the child. Simple explanations, a little of ignoring some comments, and giving choices seemed to be working and for one of the first times I saw genuine emotional regulation in this child.
Part of our outing involved a short hike up to a cross on a bluff in our town. Hiking has become a significant gauge of emotions, trust, confidence, physical well being, and much more for our child. The hike was made with minimal complaints, our kiddo actually had fun and wanted to take pictures. A very significant change from our very first hike. His physical condition is far far better with much more endurance. There was next to no drama. Our child heeded my warning of some poison ivy with no arguing and followed instruction in avoiding it. On the way down some fear of slipping started to overwhelm, but our child admitted that it was fear being felt and asked to hold my hand tight. A very significant sign that human relational attachment is finally happening for this little one who has been deprived of it for so long. My hand was all the comfort needed to press on and complete the task. After the walk he stated that he really didn’t want to do that part of the day again. I asked what was it that he would not want to repeat. This time he openly stated “I was scared”. My response was “yes, but you did it”!! “You overcame your fear”. His reply was “no, I really didn’t”. I stated that “Yes you did because anytime you are scared and still go on to complete your goal you overcame your fears!!” Overcoming fear doesn’t mean we don’t still feel the fear. We just don’t let it stop us from doing what is right, completing our task, or achieving the goal!”
We went on to have lunch at a outside venue which brought about anxiety for our child who wanted to eat inside with airconditioning. Without resistance he chose his food and talked to other people around us with respect. Once again Thank YOU JESUS!!! Sitting near us was a very well trained dog that the owner and the dog showed off her many tricks she could do. With our child getting to give the commands. Later I pointed out that an inside restaurant wouldn’t have allowed that smart dog inside so it was a neat surprise with eating somewhere outside.
Our child got to go apple picking for the first time ever again with minimal attitude and defiance. Then played well on the playground with other kids after.
As he held my hand so tightly during our hike out of fear yet also out of trust in me I couldn’t help but be reminded of whose hand I am grabbing onto. Our child has no idea now, but hopefully one day will realize how tightly I am holding on to the hand of Jesus. Hopefully he will learn in time that I have fears. We all have fears and there is only One that will always be there for us. As our child learns how to trust us and have a relationship with us. As he learns what family means I pray God will soften his heart to realize that He has a Creator God that loves him so very much. How very awesome that it was reaching the cross today that gave us hope in our situation that some days seems impossible. It is truly the cross that my hope rests in. The cross that Jesus died on to save me. The cross where he conquered sin and death. The cross He carried for me so that He can hold my hand through this life and on into eternity!!
As our family presses on I pray we have many many more days like this one. Days where true connections and happy memories are made. Days that bring healing!
Our pastor quoted this scripture today and brought tears to my eyes. The Word of God is good at cutting us to our deepest core of emotion. “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42
The greatest reward will be greeting this child in heaven one day because we just kept holding on to Jesus!!!