On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Can I still have a faith and raise a RAD?

Went to church today. It's tough to go when it often feels as though church and a deity and congregants and faith all seem so ridiculously useless when our family is in such upheaval.  It's not like we haven't prayed unending prayers for years and years regarding Sissy and still we have no answer that fits and is functional for all five of us.

I'm speaking to the choir because I know so many of my awesome, fantastic, amazing RADical mommies have BTDT in their own way with their kiddos.  So first off, here's to all the parents that still have their faith even after disruptions, dissolutions, institutions,investigations, therapies, agencies and all of the other maniacal nonsense the occurs in this RAD filled life.  I think if you still have faith after all of this, you've got the strongest, most rock-hard faith of any person walking the planet, even if you never set a foot in the doorway of a church again.

Our senior pastor is very poignant. He speaks monotone, has six different lead-in stories, tells occasionally funny anecdotes to stir up the crowd but always drives home a message that leaves the parishioner thinking long after they've walked back out the church doors an hour later. Today, he talked about the blind man that was healed, recounting John's story in the ninth chapter. Forty-one verses and, as our pastor informed us, only 2 verses actually specifically addressed the nature of the blind man's healing. The verses beforehand and afterward talk about everything else, including the huge debate that ensued with the pharisees because Jesus had the audacity to heal this man on the Sabbath. Thus, the pastor said, it wasn't about the blind man at all, or the fact that Jesus did healings or that the pharisees were annoyed by it all. It wasn't about the years the man spent blind and begging, having been born blind by no fault of his own or of his parents. No, the point of all 41 verses was to reveal to the listener that Jesus could heal, does heal and that the where and why of it bears no consequence or blame.

The rest of what the pastor said, I tuned out, not because he was boring but because it gave me cause to reflect on my own situation. Which, I point out, is proof of a good sermon. Raising Sissy has nothing to do with my infertility or our choice to adopt, her abuse and subsequent RAD in addition to her dual diagnoses. It has nothing to do with the inability of the state and federal governments to meet the needs and demands of disabled persons. It has nothing to do with the sacrifices our entire family has made in attempt to provide the best possible situation for Sissy to grow and nurture. The story isn't about Sissy's rejection and/or inability to receive those sacrifices. And it's not about the grief, pain, loss, suffering, helplessness and hopelessness of it all.

No, the point of it is love.

Why have we done all of this? For love, out of love, with love. All of it has been in the name of love.

It's about the ability to give and receive love or the acceptance that love can be rejected and withheld. It's about the unconditionality of love regardless of the conditions in which love is returned, if at all.

So I learn that it's about God, after all. The author of love and creator of a faith that is built first upon the foundation of love. He, who has sacrificed more, been rejected more, been abused more than anyone in all of humanity all for the sake of love. And if you ask Him if he would do it again, He wouldn't hesitate to say yes. In fact, He'll go one step further and say of all the gifts He created, the greatest is love.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,b but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13: 1-13 NIV

Read this passage again, this time thinking of a RAD. Ah... how it rings true! Is this not what our RADishes are all about? Do they not sound like gongs and cymbals when they speak without the context of love? Every last word of this passage is a missive to RADs and of every passage in scripture, none speaks more truth to the purpose of our faith in Christ. Why then does it pain us so much when our children refuse love? For the same reason it pains the Holy Trinity, because it is a rejection of a perfect gift, given out of ultimate sacrifice. I ask myself, Do I care about infertility, adoption, disabilities, ridicule from the public, personal sacrifice or any of the multitudinal layers of loss? The answer is No, when love is returned, the pain of it all evaporates. I have received the ultimate gift in return. It is worth it

And when our RADlings can't or won't love, oh how it makes every ounce of loss hurt that much more.

In a religious context, did Christ feel every stripe, every blow, every last withering breath on that cross? Absolutely. Does he think of it when we return His love? No. But how much do those stripes sting him even now when we deny Him?

I ask myself one last question, Do I still believe in Christ? Do I still have faith? Because love exists, the answer must be, yes.


Mom to Four said...

You my dear friend possess that strong, rock hard faith or someone has stolen your blog ;-) So glad you heard God this morning thru your pastor. You have a way with words-enjoyed reading every bit of it. Unfortunately, so many are hurt by/from the church-whether they have been excluded, shunned, misunderstood, etc. The thing to remember among that pain and heartache is it is done by human hands/voices not God. Churches are full of sinners-and we are good at it. However, churches are not so great at always being the hands and feet of God though, loving like Paul writes in Corinthians. We all should read that passage again and replace the word 'love' with our name-man oh man what a slap in the face, at least to me :-)

Kathleen said...


ManyBlessings said...

This is the most powerful post I have ever read.




GB's Mom said...

You have my love. You have God's love. I pray everyday that someday you will experience Sissy's love.

Barb G said...

And when our RADlings can't or won't love, oh how it makes every ounce of loss hurt that much more . . .

Oh, sweet sister, THAT is the hardest part, IMHO. We love, we try to love better every day, and so many days our RADlet throws that love back in our faces. Because we know GREAT love, we feel GREAT pain when our love is rejected. Sometimes the ONLY thing that has kept me going is the fact that I spit in HIS face so many times before allowing Him into my heart. I remind myself that I have been my son.

You are an amazing mom. I wish your daughter could see what and who she is pushing away. I pray she opens her eyes to your sweet heart.

Lisa said...

So, then what does that love look like in regards to our RADlings? I find myself withholding love from some of my kids. I don't do it intentionally. i find myself pushing them away, pushing away their "thank you's" and "I'm sorrys" because they feel and sound so phony, so insincere and I feel entirely insincere accepting them the way they are. When all is said and done, at the end of the day, my love for them is boundless and I will continually strive to find the help for them they need. I just cannot keep showing this love, to have it thrown back in my face. I know that I need to do something different, I know that I don't feel right doing what I'm doing right now. I KNOW, but I don't know what it's supposed to look like. There has to be a better way to live than to continuously be beat down by my kids, to give them the kind of control they've had to hurt me. Is it as simple as becoming emotionally absent? Is it as complex as I've made it? I have faith in Him, I just don't have it in myself at this point.

Elizabeth-Anne said...

Thank you. It is true. In so many awful circumstances, it is still true.

Dana @ WhatWereWeThinking? said...

This is the most poignant post of yours that I have read as of yet and all of your posts have moved me in some way.

Today was our first Sunday back at church since questions regarding our Klaw's immune system arose last September (we got the all clear about a week ago). The sermon we heard was something I needed to hear, too. Amazing how things work out, huh?

Mama Drama Times Two said...

Thanks for so honestly sharing your faith with us (and for also letting us glimpse the fun, sadness, anger, joy, despair, hope, rage, humor, emptiness, etc, etc, that comes with parenting challenging kids)

Trauma Mama said...

What a beautiful post. Reading Cor. 13 with a RAD twist is brilliant!
Thank you for sharing this and it has renewed in my heart to show Christ's love to my kids.

robyncalgary said...

this post is so beautiful <3

J. said...

My faith is one of those things that has grown and evolved over the years. Getting a degree in theology made me a whole lot less catholic - go figure. That being said I love the community that my church provides and so I go, it does not do so much for me in terms of my faith but it is a good community and the singing recharges my batteries as it is a comfort to me - that is when I am not yelling at Fudge to behave.

Miz Kizzle said...

People tend to take a childish view of prayer, treating the Creator almost like Santa Claus, i.e., "If I'm good and I ask nicely, I should get what I want."
And then, when things don't play out the way they hoped for, it's because they were bad, or they didn't ask ardently enough or the Creator is mean.
IMHO, the only prayer worth its salt is, Thy will, not mine, be done.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever seen the website Find A Grave.com? It is a cemetery registration site - sounds morbid but is interesting. I thought AB might like it.

Johanna said...

Beautiful post and made me reflect, yet again, on the nature of love and how to love those who won't receive it, let alone return it. Thanks for your eloquent post.

Mighty Isis said...

Oh, thank you. I so needed to read this beautiful post this morning.

Reighnie said...

I have these verses posted in my bedroom and in my kitchen. When all the kids were raging I thought I was going to lose it I read those verses. I sat in my room and stared at the framed verse...Love never fails and I felt I was failing so miserably. And it's so true...everything was for Love and it was the very thing they were fighting against.

Yesterday, I read it over again and thought of only CDQ. I started to think about it and pushed it away.

Whenever anyone had asked me how I made it through my life to this point, I always said faith. I prayed so hard for all my kids and then for God to show me what I needed to do for CDQ.

I lost my faith...I went through it all- God only gives you what you can handle...God will give you what you need to make it through.

But I couldn't hear God. I thought he had abandoned me and I was angry to say the least. I felt all I had done was God's will to this point...

But I realized that I was fighting so hard to keep CDQ's issues in house. I didn't want her to go to RTC, I didn't want her to get labeled and I didn't want her to destroy herself. I kept thinking I could fix her, I just hadn't found the right thing...but that was just it...thinking I could fix her, thinking *I* was God.

I realized I was doing my will, not God's will. Once I let go... it all fell into place. Three days later I took CDQ to the ER that FIRST night she was admitted to a hospital for a week. From there she was in Day Treatment until a bed opened up in RTC within the month... God had a plan for her. I know this time she is in the right place and that I had to let go.

Tara - SanitySrchr said...

WOW!!!! Great post!