Please don’t confront me with my failures,
I had not forgotten them.
These Days by Nico
I’m part of a prayer ministry at my church. Most Mondays I listen to people pour out their hearts. My job is to facilitate dialogue between them and God. It’s incredibly exciting. I love partnering with Holy Spirit. In conjunction with a conference at church ministry appointments were being offered this past Friday. We had a trusted team visiting to help cover all the requests. Two people who’d booked appointments didn’t show up. That led to myself and another team member receiving ministry from one of the visitors.
The struggles with Sloane* were my focus. Sometimes it seems like we’re making progress then it all comes apart again. Our prayer model took a back seat. “The fact is you’ve purchased damaged goods,” said the woman ministering. Strange as it sounds, relief washed over me. I’ve been falling into the trap of comparing my child to other 5yr olds. Children who weren’t exposed to high doses of prescription drugs in the womb, didn’t spend the first 6wks of life in hospital being weaned off drugs, weren’t neglected, mistreated, abandoned, or any of the other things Sloane’s experienced are much more well adjusted. Sloane is struggling. She is damaged.
Though not biologically connected, Sloane and I are immensely similar. In school work, she won’t even attempt writing a word or letter unless sure she can master it. Anything she might fail at is avoided. It’s been disheartening having my perceived failure on display every time Sloane tantrums, speaks harshly, or acts inappropriately. I read other adoption blogs and hear about how well kids are doing.
Stores used to have a damaged rack (not sure if any still do, I don’t get out much these days). Being crafty and a bargain shopper, I used to peruse these spots. The range of damage went from a small water spot easily removed in the wash to massive unraveled holes in sweaters. Seems Sloane’s on the far end of the continuum.
“Because of all that’s happened, her heart is hard,” the woman went on. “All the love you pour on her isn’t going to get through.” We discussed the necessity of healing for Sloane’s heart. I’ve tried applying some of the strategies I know. “You’re not the one to do it,” was the insight given. “It’s not going to work when you try.”
We prayed through a few things. That night, with the other kids asleep, I prayed with Sloane.
The next, a rainy Saturday, had all the kids out of sorts. After some early morning shopping, we were home. I was trying to dish out cheesies (a terrible impulse buy while out). Sloane had been stirring up trouble over the treat. After several warnings I gave her rice crackers instead.
“You idiot!” she screamed her new favourite word. “I’m not having this!” Slamming down the bowl some crackers tumbled to the floor. Sloane jumped up, ran from the table to the counter and deposited the bowl with the remaining crackers. On her run back to the table, amidst ongoing screaming – things like, “You better get me what I want right now!” – her foot landed on a shard of cracker. It lodged in the bottom of her foot. In slow motion I watched as blood began shooting out. Mildly distracted from her rant, as though a fly had landed on her, Sloane looked down at the floor speckled with blood. I rushed over, trying to pick her up. Her body went stiff. Remembering her rage, she resisted. Pushing and kicking she vehemently told me to, “Get away!”
Not my shining moment as mother, I said, “Fine. Handle this on your own. I really want to help you, but if you don’t want me to I won’t.” Looking away, I got the first aid kit. She sat on a kitchen chair trying to scoop up the falling blood with her hands. Wailing, eventually she admitted her inadequacy. I pulled the cracker out and will spare you the gory details. As I worked, we remained at an impasse. Sloane’s body was rigid and her tone harsh. I must admit, she wears me down. Too often there’s an edge in my voice. As her mom, I want to pull her close. She’ll have none of it, so I point out the fact that she wouldn’t have cut her foot on a cracker if she hadn’t been freaking out.
The other children ate their bowls of cheesies, watching the show. I let them have more and more to keep them quiet and settled. They ate Sloane’s rejected crackers. They begged for more food. Snack was shut down when the blood was cleaned off the floor (they weren’t really hungry but trying to cope in their own way).
Her foot is fine, though she brings it up when I ask her to do something she’d rather not. This is not the result I was expecting after my ministry time and the prayers I prayed with Sloane. As always, I’m confronted by my own failures. After such ordeals I spend senseless energy thinking of how I should have done better. Still I keep failing to be the demure, compassionate mother I want to be.
All the children in bed, I’m lamenting with the song, These Days. I’d like these days to end. I bring my inadequacies to the Lord. He’s the only one who can break through and repair the damage.
Though currently true, damaged is not Sloane’s permanent state. My daughter is one who overcomes. There’s a new name for her. No longer damaged or out of control. These days will give way to the glory God has planned for her.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”’
Revelation 2:17 (NKJV)