“There’s a climbing tree in the front yard,” L. said as we drove past the for sale sign. “We should probably live there.”
Two weeks after L.’s adoption was finalized, I put in an offer on the house with the climbing tree. (You know, because I get bored easily, and I needed something else to do.) L. was thrilled and excitedly discussed his plans for an American Ninja Warrior course in the backyard.
But a few days later as I drove him to school, he said, “Mom, I’m kind of going back and forth on feeling excited about the house.”
“Ok, buddy. Can you tell me why your excitement is going back?”
“Because I don’t want to fight you again.”
I’d be lying if I said that hadn’t crossed my mind, too. A few months after L. came to live with me, we moved from one townhome to another in the same neighborhood. He spent the month before the move struggling with extreme anger and aggression—usually aimed at me.
For him, moving had always been a bad thing. It had meant leaving people and places and things that he loved, and he refused to do it again. It didn’t matter how many times I told him I was coming with him and all of his toys were coming with him, he didn’t believe me. He didn’t trust me.
As he was winding down from one of his rages, and we were both crying, I looked at him and said, “This is hard, but we are going to get through it together.” And, by God’s grace, we did.
As difficult as that time was, I’m grateful it happened. I’m grateful for the opportunity to prove myself trustworthy to a kid who had trust broken over and over again.
I looked back in the rearview mirror at his face, furrowed with deep thought.
“You know what, buddy, I’m not really worried about you fighting me this time,” I said. “You’ve grown up a lot since then, and we’ve grown a lot together as a family. Back then, you didn’t know if you could trust me. But now you know me better.
“And I admire the honorable young man that you are becoming. You have worked really hard to use tools to handle your big feelings, and you don’t get really angry often anymore. But even if it happens again, it’s okay. We got through it before, and I trust God to get us through it again. Does that make sense?”
He smiled. “Okay, Mom. That makes sense.”
Tonight as he settled into bed, he looked intently into my face and said, “Mom, do you know this? I trust you. I trust God most, but out of all the people, you’re first place. I trust you most.”
This time, instead of a hurdle, moving is an exciting step for our young family—a step we’ll take together. And whatever the next big obstacle may be, we’ll get through it together, too. Because we’ve done it before. And because we’ll have the ninja obstacle course in the back yard to train on.
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10