The Story Isn’t Over For Your Child.

If you’ve wondered this as you’ve battled your child for days upon days, or found yourself so frustrated you could scream, you’re not alone. But there’s a truth you need to know.

Book opened in library on wooden shelf. Education background with

I know you. I see you. I am you.

I know what’s going through your mind on any given day. I know what you whisper as you recover from an 8-hour battle with your kid, or walk out of an IEP meeting defeated because there’s no sign of progress. Trust me. I know. If you looked at an X-ray of my heart it wouldn’t look like the perfectly formed plastic model you’d see on the corner of a doctor’s desk. It’s been broken so many times over my child, it’s deformed and morphed, like lava flow into ocean waters morphing into new land.

“Is this it?” you wonder, in the murky midnight hour, as you stare at your ceiling fan spinning endlessly. “Is this the best it’s gonna get for him?” You try to figure out where you went wrong, or what you could have done differently in the beginning. “Maybe I should have learned about trauma earlier?” “Maybe I’m making it worse?” “Will this be my child’s entire life?” “Will our circumstance ever change?” “Will she ever stop hoarding food?” “Will his behavior ever be better?” You beat yourself up, you wrestle away resentful thoughts, and then you punish yourself for giving in and allowing them to flood your mind, like a breached levy. You love your kid…no question…but find yourself constantly battling the voice that whispers, over and over, prompting you to believe…it’s over.

Absolutely No Mistakes.

Oh, how we’ve been there. I’ve wondered if this is the best it’s gonna get as I’ve picked up broken pieces of plates, or keep-sake Christmas ornaments, after an all-out tantrum. I’ve walked out of IEP meetings, hearing no progress, and no hope, and wondered, “Is the story over?” I’ve been to the darkest places possible in my mind, and heart. I’ve all but given up on a few occasions.

But here’s something I believe…

I don’t believe that any human being is a mistake…ever. I think there are some humans in this world who’ve lose their way (clearly), and choose to live opposite of their great purpose (definitely), but no human life is a mistake. And even though I’ve been to those dark places in thought and spirit over some of my children’s choices, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their life has purpose and meaning. They have a future, and hope. It’s just hard to see through the tantrums, battles, and constant challenges.

But, it’s not over…

The Story Isn’t Over.

Not even close. There’s still time on the clock. It may feel like the bottom of the 9th, 2 outs, and no one on base, but listen to me….it’s not over. Regardless of where they are on the journey, or how out of control they are, or how much they push you away, or how impulsive they are, or how disrespectful or defiant they are, it’s not over. I believe this to the deepest depths of my heart.

Want to know how and why? Because I’m living it as we speak. Sister, your situation is my situation. Brother, your painful, unexpected journey, is my painful, unexpected journey. You say, “But my kid was so out of control she couldn’t live in our home anymore,” and I say, “Me too!” You breeze down the list of “Yeah, buts,” and I can too. “Yeah, but you don’t know what his birth mother did to him before he came to live with me!” Yes I do. “Yeah, but he’s been kicked out of school and he’s turned coaches, teachers, and therapists against me.” Smack dab in that trench.

I still say it’s not over. Why? Because our stories weren’t over when we were 9, or 11, or 15. Lord Almighty am I ever thankful for that truth. My story wasn’t even close to ending when I was 15. It’s still not over at 40. Neither is your child’s. You can’t determine your child’s future based on their current 8-year old (or 5-year old, or 15-year old) behavior. There’s hope for every human being. Even if they’ve been broken by trauma experienced before birth, or early on in their life. Even if their attachment is severe from multiple foster homes before you.

I believe the words of Jeremiah 1:5 over my kids…. “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

Translation? There’s a future and hope for everyone of our children. Truth! The story isn’t over.

Question: Have you struggled to see the bigger story with your children? Share with us in the comment section below. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Ruth

    This helped me this morning. We have been slugging through the broken system of child welfare trying to get the resources for one of our children. Moments of shear exhaustion and frustration had about caused me to quit it all. God has a purpose in all of this. Nothing is a surprise to Him. He loves this little guy we fight for and yes each and everyone of us is highly valued by God

    • I am so glad. Yes, there is a great purpose for us all. Thanks for commenting.

  • Theresa Siertsema

    What a great reminder for my family today. Thank you.

    • You are most welcome! Have a great week.

  • Jeannine Williams

    This is amazing. We’ve just submitted paperwork for the adoption of our 12-year-old foster daughter who came to us just last June. This was not something we planned, as we have two older teenage biological kids, but something we knew God asked of us when we heard our girl’s story – 8 years with an addicted mom, 4 years in unhealthy foster placements. The range of emotions I experience in a day sometimes frightens me. Thanks for providing a safe place to learn and share.

    • It’s our pleasure. We’re cheering for you!

  • Becky Wenger

    Our 16 yo was home “to stay” last summer but still couldn’t handle home life and needed to return to RTC for more help. Our 11 yo has been in RTC for three months and acts like a girl off at college, quite happy to be independent and away from home, writing letters home as if she is very much enjoying her time there. Staff reports that she has never mentioned home or Mom n Dad since she’s there. Three months. Yeah. I know very well how this can feel like the end of the story. But your post is full of encouragement and hope. Thank you!

    • Hang in there Becky. We have been there (and still are currently). You are not alone! 😉

  • Jay Derting

    We adopted four kids.
    Our daughter in high school, behavior tanked at school and home. Long nights of talking and saying you can do this. Let’s work together, and get this turned around. All the while trying to have her not see the heartbreak and disappointment that you truly have going on inside.
    Our 11 year old son is struggling at school and everyone is tired of 504 meetings. Wondering what do we have left to try.
    Just when you start wondering if you can keep going you find out that the daughter that they told you she may not make it and if she does she don’t set your expectations to high, just qualified for the National Championship in Horse showing and is headed to Vegas.
    I guess the reason I have to believe and keep going: God still believes in me.

    • Oh my goodness, Jay, this is an awesome story! So cool. Thanks for sharing it here.

  • Judy Marstaller

    Love never fails. Never give up! God has great plans for us. I repeat this daily in prayers as we struggle.

  • Cheryl Rheynard

    Morning. A friend shared an article that touched my momma heart. We have 4 adopted children. Two boys are both in residential facilities. Our baby boy is 11 with severe mental/emotional and educational disabilities. Breaks my momma heart. I have been told if we prayed enough or disciplined enough they would be better. Not true. Our youngest has been in residential for 2 years and was admitted to psych hospital last week. Hurts

    • Cheryl, my heart breaks for you. I know how hard this is. No words can take away the deep wounds you feel for you kids. I’m in this trench with you. Hang in there.

  • Rebecca Hyink

    Thank you, Mike, for the reminder and the encouragement. It’s often difficult for me to maintain hope when the negative environment is so overwhelming.

    • Rebecca, it;s my pleasure. I know exactly how that feels. Hang in there!

  • Allisonm

    You’re right, Mike, it’s definitely not over for us. Seven years ago, the best advice the professionals had to offer us was that we place our six year old in an out-of-state RTC and relinquish him back to the “system” because they couldn’t see him ever being able to function in a family. That was after two years of intensive work with his severe attachment and trauma-related challenges. We didn’t follow that advice. We had unreasonable hope then and we have reasonable hope now. God is definitely not done with our family. Our children are survivors. When we learned to see that as a strength and to honor that, we were able to help our children start turning that strength in a healthier direction. It’s been a long and arduous journey with a lot of therapeutic resources every step of the way. We still have to work very hard daily on relationships and trust, but no one who saw our kids when they first arrived would recognize them now. They are all teens and heading soon into young adulthood. Their stories are just beginning and the most interesting parts are yet to come.