Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Did Nothing

I remember that face on the left well.  The first time I saw it come across the Reece's Rainbow orphan photo list, I thought:  "Well this little cutie will be snatched up by some adoring family quick!" 

And so I did nothing. 

Because I did nothing, little brown eyes was sent to an over crowded mental institution.  The photo on the right is what he looked like after spending just a few short months in the institution.  When the dramatic transformation was posted on the internet, I was reminded:

I did nothing.

Today I learned that precious baby boy has gone on to be with his Creator.  He didn't survive the institution.  

Lesson learned. 

Russia and Putin didn't fail this little guy....the church didn't fail him either....humanity failed him.  He was a human being filled with desire to be held, touched, spoken to, and loved.  He should have mattered more to me while he was alive, but in his death, he has left an indelible print on my heart.  I am different today because of his story.  Next time, I'll do something!  

"If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."
William Penn    

Friday, September 13, 2013

Obstacles And Dreams Culminate This Evening

I'm in love with an 18 year old boy with sandy brown hair, chocolate brown puppy dog eyes, and eyelashes long enough to sweep the floor.  When he was 10 weeks of age, I bundled him up in my arms and held him tightly as we escaped my first marriage.  In some ways it seems like yesterday:


As a result of my first marriage choice, Caleb's life has not been an easy one.  While most little boys were enjoying a weekend around a boy scout campfire, he was often on required visitation with one who had a fiery temper.  And when the neighbor kid came home with a bruise from being tackled by a fellow team mate, my little kid sometimes came home with a bruise from one who should've been on his team.  We fought the family court for years, but as my lawschool professors often tell us:  "If you are looking for justice, you're never going to find it in the courtroom." 

At the age of 13, my sandy haired hero found courage to stand up and say "no more".  He hasn't visited or spoken to the man since.  A few months ago, he legally changed his name to Hollis, which symbolized, to him, freedom.  Sweet freedom.


Even with the many obstacles that stood in his way, Caleb always allowed himself to dream.  From the time he could stand, he was throwing a ball, swinging a golf club, and shooting hoops.  And while other boys' first dreams were to be a firefighter or a cowboy, his was to be a football star.  When I fled my home in 1994 carrying a little fella in my arms, I didn't fully realize that I was also clutching a dream that day.  My dream that his life would be safe, full, and happy one.  Because I held that little 10 week old dream in my arms, he is now able to hold his dream.  

This evening, Caleb's game will be broadcasted on CSS for 5.5 million people to see.  This evening, he IS a football star.  At 7pm, I will be sitting in the stands surrounded by hundreds of screaming Independence Eagle fans.  The fan section will be painted with the team's colors of blue, gold, and green....cheerleaders will be shouting and jumping about while band members blow their horns and bang their cymbals.  But I will block it all out.  My ears will be listening for the sound of two size 14 shoes entering the gates of the field.  Give me 100 men, and I'll be able to choose the cadence of my son's footsteps in the mix of them all.  I will calculate every play with him, throw every ball with him, and take every tackle with him this evening.  But most of all, I will bask in the dream with him.

"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous...leading to the most amazing view.  May your mountains rise into and above the clouds!"  (Edward Abbey)


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Victory In Jesus

Today would normally be greeted with excitement and anticipation.  Hugs would be given, gifts opened, and a cake would be cut.  Today is Natalie's 15th birthday, but she's not here.  And the house seems empty.

This week has been a tough one.  I've dreaded today, a day that symbolizes our daughter's entry into the world.  Reactive Attachment Disorder has hijacked two years from Natalie and from my family.  Her pictures decorate the house and serve as a reminder of how life was BEFORE the disorder climbed from the pit of hell and wrapped it's talons tightly around our unsuspecting girl.  Every single day, I long to go back in time.

Natalie is still struggling even though she is, thankfully, making steady progress at the therapeutic boarding school.  So far, we've all been forced to accept a slow healing instead of the parting of the Red Sea type miracle we pray and faith for.  And in it all, I feel lost.  Totally lost and completely dependent upon a God I wish I could see, touch, and hear. 

Sure, He shows up routinely in many ways:  a message from a friend, a particularly tight squeeze from Hopey, or an "I love you so much Momma" from Caleb....but at this place in my life, I want to hold his nail-scarred hands, see the sparkle of love in His eyes, and feel His warm breath in my ear as He speaks  the power of truth over me and my family.  I want to give My Father a big bear hug and cry on His shoulder!  Would I fall on my knees if the Lord showed up at my front door today?  No, I would pack Him up in my Suburban, drive Him to Natalie as fast as I could, and watch Him heal her.  It's the absolute truth! I'm ready for healing NOW!   

Lydia has days where she bursts into tears, missing her sister.  At 15, she is still trying to process Natalie's mental breakdown, her physical aggression, and the hateful words spoken.  She knows none of the hysteria was Natalie's fault...that it was the result of a disorder triggered by a latent memory of the Russian orphanage experience...but her heart is still hurting.  On the phone, when I speak to Natalie, she always cries.  At 15, she is lost in the confusion of her breakdown, trying to figure out why she battles the feelings of aggression and hate, and wondering if she'll ever feel whole and happy again.

And they both reach out to me.  At 45 years of age, you'd think I would've garnered enough wisdom to fix this.  I'm their mom, and know them better than anyone, so where are the words...where are the words.....WHERE ARE THE WORDS? 

When you choose to believe in a God you cannot see or hear (and make no mistake, it is a choice), the only answer is to go to the foundation of what you believe....His Story.  His Word.  So today, on Natalie's birthday, I celebrate what I believe.  I believe Psalm 139 is true...that nothing is lacking and no detail has been left unattended. Everything Natalie is going through is part of the grand plan of the One who created her.  Her days were numbered and ALL was put in place and ready to go from the moment His heart conceived her.  And I absolutely believe in those beautiful nail scarred hands.  When Jesus was hanging on the cross, and the pain was almost more than He could bear, I believe the Almighty King of Kings thought of me and He thought of Natalie. Although the angels were camped around Him, ready to rescue Him from that gruesome scene , He knew how much we needed that cross and He went all the way for us.  He finished strong.  Then, when he burst with life from the tomb with victory, that too, was for us!  Victory was ours the moment He awoke from death and stepped from the grave!  WHERE ARE THE WORDS????  There is only one word needed:  VICTORY!

So this evening, our family will gather around and cut a cake for Natalie's birthday in her absence...but we won't be singing Happy Birthday.  Instead, in honor of Natalie, we'll be singing:



Psalm 139: 13-16:  Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.