Do you ever feel like when you take two steps forward, you
take fall three or five steps or even a whole block backwards? This weekend has been like that for us, as an entire family. Each of us have struggled with something. There have been some really great things too. It is the proverbial roller coaster that life seems to follow.
Our son had an altercation with a neighbourhood family; a family that we have come to really love. It’s been difficult to watch our son struggle with the knowledge that his relationship is forever altered, and at this point, non-existent…try explaining that to a nine year old! We all respond differently to situations; I have to respect their wishes and teach my son to respect them as well. My son continues to deny some of the allegations, so we are walking him through this with as much grace as we can.
We kept to ourselves this weekend, spending time together as a family. There were some tears of frustration, tears of laughter, chatting about God and forgiveness and the consequences of our unwarranted behaviour. The kids asked a lot of questions about God and what it means to be a Christian. Steve and I spent some time correcting some of their assumptions, teaching them the best we can, equipping them with the biblical principles that we have grown to love. We have allowed them the room to question, exercising “faith like a child” by firing hard questions one after the other.
This circumstance has left a void in my son’s life. I hurt for him, I long to make things different for him. I wish I had a wand to change some of the circumstances of his development, things we didn’t have control over. He was behind the 8 ball before he ever took his first breath, and life will continue to be difficult for him. We will teach him ways to somehow cope with his challenges but he will always be different.
I struggle because I’m painfully aware my son has made mistakes, his track record for behaviour sucks. We know he isn’t easy; that he can be a trouble maker. We live with him, what you see or have experienced with him is only just a small fraction of what we deal with on any given day with him. I understand how other parents feel, and they are justified in feeling the need to protect their children; it’s the same need I have for my son.
I find myself wondering if he will always struggle, is he to become an outcast in society? Who will he play with in September once school starts? Many neighbourhood families have written him off already, and he’s only nine. My heart aches for him because I know he deserves a second (third and many more) chance. When he behaves this way, it’s not from spite or a mean spirit. It’s because he got the short end of the stick. He knows he’s different, and as he gets older he is realizing it more and more. As a parent, it is so hard to see him sad and angry with himself because he can’t figure out why kids don’t play the way he always wants to or when doesn’t realize he’s gone too far. His disability is invisible.
He doesn’t “get away” with things. There are consequences and he knows it. He’s worked hard this past year, to become a better kid. To stop and think before he acts. Yes, he gets carried away. Yes, his mouth could make a trucker blush. BUT he has the biggest heart, he looks out for his family and friends, fiercely devoted to them. He is such a deep thinker, ahead of his time but his understanding is behind. He wants help, he wants to change and his tears of frustration and sighs of exasperation are heart wrenching.
How do I walk my son through this? What more can I do to let him know how loved he is, how much God loves him. How do you change the mind of a boy who believes that he is “bad” and won’t ever be a Christian because he’s made poor choices. His spirit is broken. Will you join Steve and I as we pray for our son? That he may one day see that it doesn’t matter what he’s done before that God is with him.
His suffering is so real. He’s learning first hand how cruel life can be. At nine, he is cynical of God and the Help that God can provide because he feels his prayers are “unanswered” because he’s still this “bad boy”. There are no momma hugs that are going to heal him, maybe a bandaid but the wound is festering. I pray that one day soon God will envelope our son, with love and grace and mercy and freedom. I pray that our son will hear God’s beckoning call.