our work

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Jar

I have, by far, the most wonderful blog readers in the WORLD! My previous post regarding Lemuel's list brought so many sweet, affirming, been-there-done-that, comments and private emails that, once again, I am on the receiving end of multiplied blessings. I save those emails like candy in my pocket and read them at the lowest times in our battle with Reactive Attachment Disorder.
RAD is an ugly beast that makes children hard to love and makes parents throw their hands up, no matter how much reading, training, success or "good OTHER kids" they may have. RAD lays low even the most confident parent. Trust me. I have lived on both sides of the tracks. I was smug when my children were 10, 8 and 4. There was no RADish. Our word was law. Our kids were obedient and drew compliments on their behavior, manners and appearances everywhere we went. I remember an older lady approaching me at Taco Bell one afternoon to tell me that she has never seen such polite children in public and that our son's pre-meal prayer brought a tear to her eye. I was thrilled that she was hard-of-hearing and made these statements ten decibels louder than necessary.
RAD is the vehicle God has chosen to use to show us that HIS grace is sufficient. Through RAD, we realize that we are but dust (one "t" in "but" . . .ha ha) and HE is all that matters. RAD has shown us that missing ONE quiet time matters and that hugs and kisses are never to be taken for granted.
God is sovereign and His will can NOT be thwarted. He has handed us both bitter and sweet pills to swallow in this life and all that He allots is, in essence, good, useful and a means to the ultimate end - making HIS name great.
As I hug Lemuel goodnight tonight, things are so sweet. We are having a "good week" and his love feels like a fragile butterfly. I want to catch it and keep it in a jar on my dresser so it can't fly away. But just like a butterfly, I know it will die if I try to trap it. I have to appreciate it while it's near me but not make any sudden moves. I tell him "I love you" at least twice a day. Sometimes he answers in kind and other times . . . silence. The jar sits open.
I'm the ADULT. I'm the MOTHER. I'm the one who had a great childhood in a Christian family and always knew that, to at least two other people, I was a superstar. I must take the risks in this relationship with a child who has none of those benefits.
So I sign off tonight, bolstered by the hearts of my readers, who have shared with me that they, too, often walk down foggy paths, chasing their butterflies.
Thank you, yet again, for filling my pockets with "candy" for those rainy days when the jar is open and the butterfly is nowhere to be seen.


  1. I am crying, Nikki. You have touched my heart, yet again. Thank you for your affirmation, your encouragement ... and that you know about RAD makes me feel less like a "loser" step-parent and so much more a part of a "knowing" community. You are amazing and your children are blessed ...

  2. Nikki, always love your insight and your heart. You encourage me in our walk with our hurting children and give me courage to keep pressing on. Thank you so much for being honest.

  3. I had to laught out loud. When my husband says, "we are but dust" from the pulpit, I always giggle...because my brain says "butt dust".