This morning I was inspired. It’s Easter. We were at church and my memory was flooded. Of the below picture of my beautiful child praying 2 years ago. I want you to look at this 7 year old little boy and think. It doesn’t matter if you’re praying to the same God he is or whether you pray at all. Just look and let it sink in.
He, right here, is taking a leap of faith. To put this in context for you, we were at Easter service and had just finished singing. I was in the back with the tiny year old human, trying to keep him from ruining everyone’s solace. JT was in the front listening intently and singing. Then it was time to bow our heads. Our church was amazing. I haven’t ever had pastors that were so inspirational and down to earth. Everything they said hit you and your heart. I asked him what he was praying for afterwards and the 3 little words he uttered in his wiseness hit me and knocked my breath out. “To be happy”
Now to know my son is to know amazingness. My eyes fill with tears just writing this. This is not just a mother being over-the-top-my-kid-is-the-best-ever-because-he-came-from-my-womb. He is TRULY an amazing person. The depth of his soul can be felt in the questions he asks and the patient ways he interacts with his brother and sister. He is a builder, a question asker, a one in his own. He’s not one you just tell what to do. You don’t even want to just tell him to do something. You want to get his opinion. He is 9 years old and I guarantee you’d feel something so strong in his presence. Can he be a typical 9 year old boy? Absolutely every second of every day. He is a smart assed, defiant, video game playing, rumble tumble mess of a boy. But he is so strong and let me tell you why.
Because he is mine. Not just my DNA, but we are one in the same in the soul. He and I have been on our own since he was 17 months old. Now don’t take that to mean I’m dismissing his siblings. What it means is that I felt an obligation so strong to protect him from the same hell I felt. Left out, black sheep, and on my own. My parents divorced when I was young. My dad was still very involved and I knew he loved me. But my sister and brother came along and I was kind of a second thought. They were numero uno and could do no wrong. Kaite was always the wrong one, always the second to my decades younger brother and sister. I felt misunderstood and I never ever wanted him to feel the same. Because I knew when his dad and I divorced that I had paths to choose for him. He was never and still isn’t a thought to his father. He hasn’t voluntarily seen him but once in 6 years. You better believe though he will use him as a pawn to get what he wants. I chose a path of spoiling him. He was my baby and I wanted to make sure he knew he was understood and loved. Boy could he throw some righteous fits too. I knew in my heart of hearts at 20 years old that I had to make sure whoever came into my life wanted the same for him. Then I made the mistake.
I was so young, so lonely raising a toddler on my own that I clamped down on the first male that showed us attention. Notice I said us, not me. Now if you’ve read, you know I had a fix it problem. I could fix it, I could change it, I knew it could be done. There were so many glaring red flags. I noticed, but I didn’t because at 20 years old, with a failed right out of high school marriage to someone who kept me on lockdown, I had no life experience. Oh I THOUGHT I did. But truly I had no female role model to adequately mold a healthy relationship from. I thought the “rules” were overbearing, but my son had been left loose and spoiled so a little structure wouldn’t hurt. No matter the vast amount of issues we had, my son needed structure. No matter all I did wrong, my son needed this in his life. Then appears my daughter. Oh sweet, quiet, sleepy Lexi. Now she was a 100 times easier than JT was. So at first when he started getting blamed and in trouble, I wasn’t concerned. Then I started to feel his pain. I noticed he would only tell me things by ourselves. I would make excuses for him to avoid him getting in trouble. I would take the blame and get yelled at. The 4 year old spilled his drink? That was mom’s fault. I hit it with my elbow. You ask why I didn’t leave? At 23 I surely had learned some things, and I had. But now I had a daughter. And who would I be if I couldn’t make this work with 2 children with 2 different men? I had a moment of an out. 4 months later I caved and he was back. It got better and it got worse. We come to a point where I lost my faith. Then I found it again at this church you see in this picture. Fast and hard, my faith came barreling back to me, hitting me square in the heart. It wasn’t long after my tiny human was born. March of 2013. I started in searching the scripture, reading every morning. Highlighting and looking for the answer.
At first, I tried to justify staying. “When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “It is the sick people who need a doctor, not those who are healthy. I did not come to invite good people. I came to invite sinners.” Mark 2:17 For a few months I thought, Jesus is using me to save him. I tried to live this way and show my family. It didn’t work. Then I got to this: “Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt.” Proverbs 9:7 That HIT ME. Every night I was mocked. Every night I was insulted. Every night it was someone somewhere else that caused HIS problems. And I knew there was so much more than this for my children and I. At this point, I was the sole employed party with 3 children to support. He spent 8 hours a day, paid by room and board to make sure they were fed breakfast and lunch. Literally, I now pay someone $140 a week to do more with my tiny human than he ever thought about doing. I knew I could make it on my own, but how did I get my children out and afford child care? September 2013. I started actively getting my ducks in a row for a career move. By the time we were at the moment where my son had said he just wanted to be happy, I had secured that job. My breath was gone, but I knew there was hope for us. I just responded with, soon son, very soon we will be. I didn’t anticipate on it getting much worse before it got better. I had mastered my art of taking the verbal shots during nightly drunken pity parties. Then it happened. He said the right thing, at the right moment to get a reaction. I stood up in a drunken mans face and gave it right back, ending up on the floor with a black eye, watching my son and daughter staring through the glass window. JT broke down that night. As he sobbed, I don’t want anything to happen to you, I knew it was time. I was lucky enough to find support 800 miles from home to get us back alone.
He was used to the moves and I don’t really think he thought it was over for good. It was March of last year before I stopped seeing the anger in him. He was still quiet and went into his shell, making me pry his feelings out. And then, here comes Brad. JT was so wary at first. I think it may have been the first of May before we introduced him. I slowly watched in awe at the patience my husband had with him. The attention he showed him, kind and gentle. And he has now blossomed into a full on question asking, mistake making child that LOVES when he gets grounded. No jokes. This child loves boundaries. Not just pushing them, but I really think he appreciates us guiding him to good choices. He feels free to be himself.
So tomorrow, I’m showing him this picture. I will remind him of the day he prayed for something and then I will show him this scripture: “You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” Matthew 21:22