When I watch you react, reject, rage, hoard, lie, shut down, numb, and scream – I will remember.
I will remember that this is not what separates us, but I will recall that this is common ground. This broken response to unconditional love.
And I will not expect you to rebuild a scaffolding of survival so quickly, for I know all too well that it can take time. That fragile scaffolding feels of false safety yet sways dangerously in the smallest gust of wind and crumbles fast in the storm. And the fear of it falling is not nearly as scary as the fear of what it’s built on. Abandonment collapses quickly and reveals the hollowness.
There is a hope in the imminent Cornerstone of restoration that holds solid – you find it in grace and truth and that takes faith. And faith can take time. Not faith in the existence of the Cornerstone but faith in His ability to hold tight.
I will not ask you to do anything that I have not done or expect you to arrive there faster than me. I will not demand that you attach to a loving parent when I have failed to arrive there myself with the most perfect Father. I understand the way you test and try and retreat. It is illogical but I am foolish to not admit that I have responded in the same way. Despite my best efforts, I will fail you. Despite our worst responses, He will not. I understand the unreasonable thinking that builds those walls. I really do.
There is a five-course feast set before me on a daily basis and I have many times taken the scraps and wondered why I am still starving. He calls us children yet I have dressed in dirty rags and hoarded and begged and wondered where my next meal will come from. That feast stayed locked in my gaze and yet I doubted if I was good enough to eat it. If I really was invited and if He would show up. If He cared enough to listen. If He loved enough to answer.
I have doubted the love from a Most Amazing Creator who prefers the name Father and offers me everything in His adoption. I am chosen and an heir yet have acted as an outsider. I have rejected gifts and not only dismissed them, but scorned them. The One who lovingly paid my way – I have turned my back on Him before. I have silenced the questions and pushed them way down deep out of shame and fear.
“Will He leave me?”
“Am I good enough?”
“Am I really truly loved?”
“Do I matter?”
I know how those questions must pound in your heart even though you don’t have the words to express them yet. When you do, I will take your hand and lead you to Truth because I have been there sweet child. I am not shaken by your reactive responses, it is the place I can meet you and tell you that I’ve been there too.
I will not entreat you to attach in faith if I have not personally done the work of attaching myself. I will inch in closer and closer and sit near to the Father until I am whole. And whole again. For as much as I want that for your broken heart, I personally cannot offer you that kind of healing. In arrogance and ignorance I take on that responsibility and come up lacking.
I can however lead you to the One who binds up broken hearts – and I can speak with conviction of His ability to encase the cracked places with the purest of balms. I have watched Him do this with my own heart and with countless others. He is so gentle with the broken places. I will speak with faith because I know Him. And I have seen this work a thousand times. And I will tell you that it feels like a risk to trust Him like that but it is the surest thing. It is your birthright in His adoption. I will help you clear away the brush and kick aside the pebbles so you can walk the path clearly to drawing near. He promises to meet you and I will tell you with assuredness that He will. I will take your hand and we will go together to where I’ve been so we are both reminded of the sweetest grace in abiding. We will sit at the table together, you and I.
Your new last name is mine and it is recorded on paper. It is legal and binding. But this is how you learn a name in your heart – way deep down in your spirit. Truth roots solid when knowledge is met with encounter and you know that you know that this is where you belong.
That day you said to me, “I feel that I love you,” I knew that scaffolding was crumbling and something beautiful was being birthed. Something eternal. It wasn’t about repetition or expectation, but the most freeing response to love freely offered. That Mother’s Day when you told me “it is hard to understand in my heart” why your birth parents abandoned you. I told you that it was hard for me to understand too and I took your hand and we looked to the One on the hill who could understand abandonment undeserved and the darkness of alone. To grieve that before a Trinity who surrounds you in perfect union like that French braid in your long dark hair that seems to shine with no beginning and pieces that are separate but connected – that is the opposite of the darkness of alone. You can safely grieve before a three-strand cord that strong and beautiful. I will tell you that truth again and again because it is not theory for me. I know it.
I will never insist, even silently, for perfect attachment from you because I know how quickly I am distracted and wooed by deceptive looking scaffolding to build upon. Seemingly elegant but quickly weak. How cavalier I can be with a Love so sweet and good and how I can keep a distance despite knowing the reality of intimacy. Of identity. As if my building blocks were stronger and better and safer. I know how those lies creep in and accuse and build shacks that boast of being homes.
And when they do, I will not keep you trapped in your old name. I will not hold you there in a place of shame. I will speak of who you are. And I will sing of who you will become.
I do not share your history or your genetics, but I have shared in this struggle of attachment. And, I share in your adoption.
Come dear one, let us draw near.