Look back through tears of discouragement. Hope.

This is hard.
No. It feels impossible.  

Tears fall.

My sobs are ugly and pathetic in this hiding place.  
Parenting beloved children who seem to resist connection 
with all-their-might is deeply painful.  
How!!?  How do we keep on keeping on!!!??  
How can I endure two hour tantrums, hateful glares, raging loud screaming fits that seem unending
when and my heart is broken and discouragement floods into those cracks like liquid steel, making it hard to breathe under the weight?  
This time I’m crying in the car- hiding and writing these words on my iPhone just to re-group before jumping back in.  I cry loud, ugly, broken out to the One who Shepherds my heart- begging for wisdom on how to shepherd my lamb’s heart when mine is horribly weary.  And I beg Him to redeem my frustrated words.  Again. 
Through this heavy cloud, I sense my Shepherd’s voice soft and clear:
“But look back…”
My sobs stop as one of our other children approaches my hiding place (how do they always find me?) with an iced drink she made to give-  While I’ve been sobbing out here, hiding in our van, this one sought to give love by making a drink.  She has been in the kitchen washing dishes out of love for me- this child who now daily strives to let me and others see her love- 
once resisted my love with a powerful vengeance. 
“Look back.”  

She’s a miracle- this one offering me a cold, diet soda on ice.  She’s a living miracle and her beautiful, sweet attachment to me, her dad and now 6 siblings, is a gift I once was too discouraged to imagine.

Back then, I struggled to hope.  In that five year season as we stumbled along learning to parent her precious, broken, unattached heart- trying clumsily to build trust and connection, 

discouragement had suffocated hope.
How many times did I seriously mess up?
Clearly, He redeemed.
How many buckets of discouraged, hopeless tears did I cry for our treasured daughter?
Only He knows- He who holds every tear.  

But now- She loves BIG like a shining, warm light.
Love pours from her with beauty that literally changes many who meet her-

(She is worth every tear- even if she were not yet able to love.
But she does love and Oh what a gift it is to be a recipient of her love.)

“Look back…”
Glancing back, my minds eye sees another one of our children who raged daily tantrums- 
Intense-beyond-description- as I’d struggle exhausted with trembling arms to hold his powerful body for hours each morning. 
He would scream and fight as my tears would flow-
My heart of love for him would ache for him to find peace-
Discouragement, isolation, and despair felt suffocating in that season.
And I was so afraid-
Fear for what his future could hold.
Fear for our future too because fear is one of my biggest weaknesses. 
 Now daily, instead of raging, frighteningly intense tantrums, he runs to my arms just to be held.
“I love mama” are words he says often while touching my face with his little hands.  Then he collapses his head into my chest and holds tight with smiles that reveal darling dimples in his precious cheeks.  My arms have become his favorite place.  His attached and regulated and loving behavior is crazy beyond my wildest hopes only weeks ago-   This one who stole my heart before we even knew his name has not had a single tantrum in 2 entire months!  

I’d never dreamed we’d make it this far this this year!

“Look back…”
I hear His voice. I know His gentle touch. He redeems all.  
Taking a deep breath, it’s time to get back in there and painfully love our powerful little world changer through the hard while remembering this truth:
His kindness, when I’m a mess, is what changes my heart and life. 

By His grace I’ll go back in there and show His love in that same way this evening- 
Because a connected heart longs to listen to the one who she’s connected to.  

His love for us is gentle, kind, unimaginably patient and 
long suffering. 

Mamas who are in the trenches too- aching with steel-weighted, discouraged hearts- 
“Look back” 
at His faithfulness.
Friends who have stepped out into what HE placed into YOUR heart
and you find yourself within 
The Valley of Hard
where discouragement suffocates hope-
“Look back” 
 If you are new to the journey where Discouragement or fear sucks life from your heart and you see nothing hopeful behind you to look back on,
then let me assure you- 
He’s now writing the story you 
will look back on.  

He’s got this. Breathe.
and cry out to
the One who walks close to the broken.

He’s there, unfolding beauty…

Psalm 77:1-3, 11
I cry out to God; yes, I shout.
Oh, that God would listen to me!
When I was in deep trouble,
I searched for the Lord.
All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven,
but my soul was not comforted.
I think of God, and I moan,
overwhelmed with longing for his help.
11 But then I recall (Look back on) all you have done, O Lord;
I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.

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