Tag Archives: beautifully broken

Fighting for the GREATEST Cause

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We find ourselves in the trenches once more.

I share the quote above because it powerfully puts into words the reality of our journey and petitions for the prayers we stand in need of.

Adoption is a war, but not the war it appears to be through the eyes of those on the outside looking in. To the casual observer it would seem that we were fighting a losing battle against our kids from hard places. The defiance, rebellion, and dangerous manifestations of anger that burst forth in the form of running away, physically assaulting siblings, property destruction, chronic lying, suicidal ideation, manipulation, and relationship sabotage smack of “us verses them.” If someone would step into our home in the midst of one of our daily battles, the screams of, “I hate you! You are not my mom!” coupled with flying projectiles would definitely lead you to believe the warfare playing out is familial, but that is simply not the case. Our war is not with our children. It is a battle we are fighting side by side with our children, against the trauma of their past. Though they do not always see it that way.

The reality of adopting kids with a trauma history is that as a family you are choosing to open your door and invite inside a battle of epic proportion. You are choosing to fight for the soul of a child and Satan doesn’t fight fair. By choosing to adopt children that the world has seen fit to abandon and give up on, you are agreeing to walk into the fire and expose your home, your children, your marriage, your friendships and your extended family to a whole new level of spiritual warfare.

And I’m here to say that we can’t do it alone.

We need our prayer warriors to surround us with an armor of fortification because our ragtag battalion is growing weary and our wounds are extensive.

Sometimes I look on my family, especially on the heels of one of those intense and destructive battles, and I see in them the faces of the famous Howard Pyle painting, “The Nation Makers.” This iconic piece of artwork is a powerful depiction of the War for Independence. It depicts a line of soldiers in tattered clothing and bandages marching forward through a field of grass and wild flowers. They push forward with a purpose and a drive that trump all obstacles. Bloodied and bruised, they do not hesitate.

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And bloodied and bruised my family pushes forward, fighting for a cause even greater than independence. We are fighting for salvation; reclaiming a soul from the brink of destruction.

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But that doesn’t always mean that soul wants to be saved. Satan’s greatest weapon in his spiritual warfare arsenal is to whisper into the vulnerable ears of my sons that they are not worthy of our love or God’s love. With those lies, he plants seeds of hopelessness that leads to behaviors only seen in those who have nothing left to lose.

I could draw a vivid picture of our life through my words but it wouldn’t even begin to sufficiently illustrate our reality, and even if my words didn’t fail me, you would have a hard time accepting that it is truth. Our “normal” has reached a new level of dysfunction.

This heightened level of warfare has led to us calling in reinforcements. After multiple trips to the emergency room in the last month, which has led to multiple acute stabilization programs, Ozzie’s doctor has deemed him unsafe to return home at present. She feels he in unsafe with himself and fears for the safety of the other children in the house. Once again we find ourselves in a place where to best love this child, we must surrender this child to God’s plan for him. That plan will involve intensive, inpatient treatment at a residential facility.

We are all heartbroken, hurting, and weary. My older kids are feeling beat up, both emotionally and physically, and Tyler and Braden have been significantly triggered by the events of the last months, setting us back a million miles in their therapeutic journeys.

We all want to curl up and cry.

This walk is so very hard, and I often count my blessings that I didn’t know how hard it would be prior to stepping into the fire, because I fear that I wouldn’t have had the courage to say yes to God’s call.

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We are now trying to find some level of stabilization, both individually and as a family unit, for the injuries are severe after this latest round of battles. I look at my family and I am seeing the effect of living a life in crisis, and sympathize with the fact that everyone is trying to continue navigating “normal” life and everyday commitments while destruction and great loss play out behind closed doors.

In the past I have likened this way of living to pitching a tent on the battlefield. War rages on, and you can hear the whistle of bullets as they pass dangerously close, but you try to continue carving out a life amid the destruction.

Just last week, as Ozzie lay in an emergency room bed raging over the fact that I wrestled the handful of pills out of his mouth, thus preventing him from ending his life, I sat trying to submit my last college assignments for the week through my cell phone before the 1:00am deadline. It is crazy and absurd that this has become our “normal.”

I share this because without an understanding of the chaos that is driving our world, life may appear “fine” to the untrained eye, and it is because of this lack of awareness that expectations placed upon Toby and I and our children result in “final straw” moments of emotional collapse.

As a family we need more empathy and support and less judgement.

So, please be tender with my troops.

They have been fighting a war most of you will never have to experience. They are choosing to step on the battlefield day after day, to fight for the future of a child who has walked through hell and feels undeserving of anything more.

Please pray for us.

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Through Molly’s Eyes

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“How could we know that our lives would be so full of beautifully broken things?” – Dave Matthews Band

Molly is taking digital photography this semester. Like Grace, who took it two years ago, Molly is enjoying it immensely. This week a familiar assignment was due. Two years ago Grace did this same assignment and it was an assignment that we both found thought-provoking and profound. Perhaps you remember this assignment:

“Many photographers take the easy road and shoot flowers, breathtaking landscapes, models, the ocean at sunset, castles, dewy meadows, children and ponies. It is the photographer with the more sensitive eye and creative sense who can find the beauty in something either mundane or downright ugly.  Examples might be the innards of a rusty, rotted barn, the ruins of a house with weeds growing from it, the haze of pollution over Beijing, or a wet mattress left on the curb.  These are the photographers that can focus, crop, adjust lighting or point of view to get delicacy and beauty where most people would find rubbish.” 

“Your assignment is to go out into your neighborhood and find those things that would be considered an “eyesore” to others and photograph them in a way that shows their beauty.”

 Two years have passed since Grace completed this assignment and  I still find it to be a wonderful photography lesson as well as a poignant life lesson. With cameras in hand we headed out to find things that were “beautifully broken.”

I love photography. I love taking photos. I love catching a moment in time and freezing it forever. I also love looking at other people’s photographs. I have found that what people take pictures of often says more about the individual than it does about what is being photographed. Photography allows us, if only for a moment, to see the world through another’s eyes. We can see how they see. We can notice what they notice. We are shown what they value and what they treasure based on what they zoom in on. It is an interesting study in humanity. When we see the world through a person’s lens, we better see them.

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Molly has a very special way of seeing the world. As a result I find great delight in looking at her photos because they are so reflective of who she is.

This assignment allowed her way of seeing the world to be highlighted in a special way.

You see, Molly has a special gift. She has been blessed to see the good, the beautiful, the worth in things and people who others might dismiss. From the time she was toddling about she gushed with appreciation over the simplest things…things that others might walk past with little notice.

She has that same gift with people. She has been blessed with the most Christ-like way of seeing others. She takes notices those people that others may walk past,

And then makes them feel seen…makes them feel special.

I remember once when she was a little girl, probably no older than four, she noticed an elderly woman at the grocery store when we were out shopping. This woman was dressed in mismatched clothing and wore smeared bright red lipstick on her lips and bright blue eyeshadow on her eye lids. While other customers looked away from this old woman shuffling down the aisle, Molly moved in closer for a better look,

and then in her wonderfully innocent, enthusiastic way she gushed…

“Mommy, she is so beautiful!”

And she meant it.

She truly saw beauty.

Through her eyes this lady was beautiful and worthy of admiration.

And she made that lady’s day.

She made that woman feel seen in a world where others might look away.

What a beautiful gift…one that I so admire because it is not my gift.

I think that is why I so delight in seeing the world through Molly’s camera lens,

because she truly does see beauty where others only see brokenness.

Here is a look at the photos Molly took for her photography assignment:

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What a wonderful lesson for all of us…

Whether we are talking about broken things, broken hearts, or broken people,

Great beauty can be found in brokenness when you choose to see those things through God’s eyes:

This is illustrated through one of my favorite songs by Hilary Weeks:

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”

– Camille Pissarro