You hear of the plight of the vulnerable and marginalized child and your motherly instinct kicks into high gear! You think, “I know I have enough love for an orphaned child. No matter where they came from I know what I’m bringing them to – and with my love and structure they will be healed.”
… And so you pursue fostering or adoption.
You’ve watch “Removed” parts one and two and read Karyn Purvis’ “The Connected Child.” You are ready to go! Your compassion is in high gear and you are prepared to be the catalyst for blessing in this traumatized child’s life.
Except, what you’ve prepared for in theory hasn’t prepared you for the trauma you will personally experience.
It’s one thing to compassionately consider the plight of the marginalized and abused children in this world. It’s quite another to have the child begin to act out in ways that over time have the same effect on your psyche as acid does on a consumable surface.
Anticipating some bumps in the road, you are not surprised when the child twists off screaming and throwing a tantrum. After all, this child is a hurt soul. But the child’s acting out in the early days can over time morph into something that deeply impacts you. That familiar gut-wrenching scream – directed at you – once again by the child you have brought in is like ripping the scab off of an old wound … again and then once more. Your soul aches. Your heart is numb. Your serenity is long gone and your sanity threatens to check out as well. Your mind wonders, “Why?” And you press on – on in the hope that someday things will “click” for this child and they will be healed.
The wounded heart expressing itself through rage and other aberrant behaviors is not unusual to the human condition. It’s not so much a big distance between our own broken souls and the charred lives of the children we choose to bring in our homes. God sees us in our sinful condition – living for self, traumatized by our own sins and the sins of others, and what does He do about it? He sends Jesus to be traumatized on a cruel cross bearing the very sins that brought you pain and Him shame. You are welcomed in to His family through your acceptance of His offer to come home through Jesus.
Press on, wounded soldiers! Moms who bear the burdens of children not from your womb: I salute you!
James serves as the senior pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Guthrie. He loves serving Jesus by serving God's people. He also enjoys spending time with his wife of more than 20 years as well as his four children. Learn more about him here.