Tuesday, August 28, 2012

This is What Love Looks Like

    "I love the Lord because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.  Because he inclined his ear to me therefore I will call on him as long as I live." -Psalm 116:1-2
     I woke up early today and caught a baby.  On my drive home, at sunrise, I was praying that God would just pour out compassion and mercy on me toward my son today.  At that moment, a song came on the radio and the lyrics said something about "and I will live to carry your compassion, to love a world that's broken, to be your hands and feet."  Awesome.  I can do this again.
     I needed that encouragement because in the hours before school, Etienne was full of anger toward me.  He couldn't articulate his feelings and it didn't matter what I did, I just got the brunt of tears, yelling and whining.  It was okay.  We can do this.  God can do this.
     It was only 9am when I saw the caller ID say "Lewis & Clark," and I heard the nurse's voice telling me that Etienne had run, deliberately, into a wall on the way to ELL.  She informed me that he had quite a goose egg but he was otherwise fine and ready to go back to class.  I hung up the phone and a little voice in my head was telling me that he needed me.  I wanted to confer with my husband, a counselor, another attachment mom.  Ultimately, a few text encouragements later, I was at the school.  Feeling the judgement of the school secretary and the school nurse (huddled together, arms crossed, forced smiles, "boys do those things" comments), I sat down in front of my E and I told him I loved him.  I told him when he wasn't with me, he was still my son and he was still always on my mind and in my heart.  He wouldn't look me in the eye and he pulled away from my touch.  I took off my sparrow necklace and put it around him.  I wear it 24/7 to remind him that "even the sparrow has a home," (Psalm 84:3) and it's our thing.
     A few hours (and no phone calls!) later, I went to pick Etienne up.  No necklace.  "I took the circle and I opened it and I threw the bird out because I didn't want it."  Sigh.  I tried to hold his hand but he pushed me away.  I knew there wasn't a point in talking about it.  I knew it was a risk to have him wear it.  I knew that the necklace, made by my sister Katie, wasn't worth a lot of numerical value but was priceless in my heart.  She assured me that she can make as many as we need.
     This kind of love, it's so messy.  It's so complicated.  Last night, I was in this place where I knew in my core that I loved Etienne, but I didn't want to.  And then my heavenly father renewed my spirit.  He surrounded me by family (biological and chosen) to remind me that I am so privileged beyond measure to walk this path.  To live in grace alone.  To know that every victory was so not my doing.  Today wasn't really a victory for Etienne but I feel like there was a victory within me because I can do this again.  I can take the lies, the manipulation, the destruction and know that it really isn't me.  It isn't about me at all.  It's a battle for my son's soul and I am ready to fight again.


  1. you sound so strengthened and encouraged. He is good.

  2. I want to be honest but I'm afraid my words won't say what my heart means. As I was reading your post, I was struck with true joy (not happiness, but almost solemn joy) at the fact that Etienne was your son. I know my heart and it bothers me to know that I would not respond the way you do. I can be so frustrated and angry--too easily. Even over the little things. I know you're not perfect, but I can see how perfectly God placed Etienne in your family. I am struck with thankfulness that he is your boy. Thank you for loving him the way God loves him (and often times the way He loves all of us).