I never thought that at 34 I would be holding a full size child, whom I love more than I can imagine, while she screams and thrashes through the remembrance of inexplicable trauma. Neither did I think that I would be teaching a 16 year old how to read, communicate, and relate to others at such a basic level. As a foster mother my world has been turned upside down, completely. What used to be done alone is now done in 3s. Sleeping and showering is now my alone time. Even when I'm away from them I think about and miss them.
My years of schooling, training, and practicing as a counselor have prepared me for the trauma, at least the understanding of it all. God has been preparing me for motherhood. And yet there are times when I feel totally unequipped for both. By God's grace we've made it through some of the toughest challenges, nightmares, painful memories of abuse, learning how to learn, forgiveness, and loving one another.
I know how to comfort my girls when they are overwhelmed and afraid. I know how to explain the symptoms of anxiety. I can teach them how to take deep breaths and calm down. I can explain God's heart for them. I can meet their physical needs and give them a life they never dreamed of. But...
I've also been traumatized. Holding my child while she's subconsciously reliving her abuse with eyes closed and body trashing on the couch, crushes my heart for the pain she's endured. I'm constantly on edge wondering if we can take a trip to an unfamiliar place or will there be another episode like when she was triggered by a familiar face and panicking in a small tent in the middle of a typhoon. Will my little girl let me teach her today or will she be reminded of the pure hate shot at her from a previous care giver that shuts down her brain? What trauma will I endure today?
Trauma is tricky and can sometimes be a sticky trap. I know that in many situations people have been haunted throughout their whole lives because of trauma. I know it's real and how harmful it can be. I chose to believe that God can heal us from the sting of trauma and traumatic events. I chose to believe that He is our healer and will walk us through every hurt until one day they are no longer.
And I know that I have been hurt in the healing. I take this as my labor of love. In sickness and health, in hurt and loss, in the midst of healing and hurting... I will love them.