You know I love a Transparent Thursday post! And today is no exception!
Today we celebrate the birthday of our oldest son, Jordon. He turns 11 years old, and what a treasure he is. He is witty, funny, sweet, loving, a HUGE cuddler, and he's been the biggest blessing I never knew I had.
Our story is complicated. It can be messy at times. It's not only our story to share, but we are the ones that are typically asked about it.
You see, Jordon started out 11 years ago as my first nephew. He was born during a hurricane, and he is pretty intense like a hurricane too. He grew within my younger sister's womb, and quickly grew within my heart--but it took years for me to see or feel that growth.
My sister suffers from Bipolar disorder, and if you don't know anything about that disorder, then my explaining it won't help. If you do know something about it, then no more explanation is probably needed. She struggles.
But, don't we all? I mean, yes, she struggles a little more than most of us, but we ALL struggle with SOMETHING, I am defintely no exception. I struggle greatly myself, thankfully her disorder is something I do not struggle with.
I struggle from social anxiety disorder, a chemical imbalance that affects the neurons in my brain. I am seeing huge growth thanks to prayer, and understanding my struggle. I had to admit I was struggling in order to begin seeing changes though, and I wasn't willing to do that for a long time.
My denial, made me a really bad mom to Jordon. Jordon struggles himself, and he's too young for me to share too much, but I will simply call it ADHD for now, although I think it's much deeper than that.
Jordon moved in with our family when my husband and I had been married for a little over a year, and our son had just turned 1. He was living with my mother, and they moved in with us to help counter my husband being laid off. We needed financial help, and my mom was going through a separation, so we all thought the two of them should move in with us.
This is where our story gets complicated. I want to share so much, but my sister is not happy often with my sharing, so I will tread very carefully as to not offend anyone--while still sharing our story.
My sister loves Jordon, she truly does. I questioned that for a number of years, but I know without a dobut that she truly does. However, that love didn't extend in the way that some of us moms extend love. She kind of bounced in and out of his life, leaving my mom the primary care provider for the first 4 years of his life.
Jordon was 3 when I married my husband, and he was the first "male" role model Jordon had. He IMMEDIATELY attached to my husband, intensely. There was no doubt when my mom moved in with us that Jordon needed stability.
He was struggling greatly. He had SCREAMING tantrums, hitting, biting, punching, kicking, he just simply needed stability. We all recognized that. We tried to instill that.
We moved him into our sons room, and I began taking the motherly role. I didn't do that part willingly though. I felt like I "had" to. I resented my sister very much. I resented the fact that she could do whatever she wanted, and still be his mom. I resented her late night partying, and her dropping by incessantly to have "fun" with him. I resented everything about her. And I took that frustration out on him.
If you ask him about it, he'll deny it happened. But, I know the truth. I also know, God must've protected him from it because he truly didn't feel like I wasn't loving him. If you ask him, he says I'm the best mom and he doesn't remember me ever not being nice. If you ask him, I love him intensely and if it weren't for me, he doesn't know who he would be. He loves me fiercely!
That is the grace of God, there's no question about it.
I know, unfortunately, that my screaming was directed at him, often. I'm a yeller, I've shared that often through my blogs. It's something God is HEAVILY working on in my life. I yell at everyone, but for a few years, as my other children were too little to really be doing anything wrong, I yelled primarily at his precious soul. Oh, what a humbling moment this is to admit.
I yelled unrighteously at him. As I mentioned, he struggled greatly when we first took him in. I had the opportunity to overwhelm him with love, and I did, but I also saw my sister. When he would act out, when he would misbehave, I didn't see a child--instead I saw my adult sister who seemed to be "out of control". I judged her through his actions, if that makes any sense.
It wasn't right. But, it happened. There was about a 1 year time span, 6 months or so we had no contact with her, that it was the worst. We had a restraining order on my sister, I was angry, I was dealing with SERIOUS sin in my own life, that I just couldn't admit, and I took my frustrations out via screaming at that little guy.
I WAS WRONG.
Again, I saw my sister in him, and I hated what I saw. I envisioned this child growing up and acting like this adult I was having such a hard time with. And I allowed my emotions to control my tongue.
I WAS WRONG.
As he grew, we continued having more children, and my plate continued filling up. The screaming really started to rear it's ugly head with everyone, not just him anymore. He was simply the one I was "irritated" with the most--and it was always after my sister had done something. I always saw her in him, I couldn't separate the two of them. I loved him, but I saw this woman that I seriously was angry with.
I was angry with her for not loving him. I was angry with her for having her twins, I was angry with her for "ruining my mom". I was angry with her for all the wrong reasons.
I was angry.
The truth is, I wasn't really that angry at my sister. I was really angry with myself. I felt what I was doing, and I couldn't stop. But, what I felt more than that was this stirring within from God that said, "you are angry with yourself".
I denied that. Why would I be angry with myself? I wasn't the one doing the ridiculous things, she was.
OH BUT I WAS.
I was living with my own sins, my own downfalls, and instead I focused completely on my sister. It was easier that way. It was easy to focus on someone else's shortcomings as opposed to my own. I didn't want to focus on my short comings. I wanted to love that child, but I didn't want to admit that I wasn't loving that child.
Moving into our new home in September 2013 was when God really started working on my heart. It was shortly after I had tried to take my life, while living with my mom and sister for a year. THAT year, almost destroyed me. I allowed every single sin that I was living with, hiding, eat at me so badly, that I tried to take my life.
IT WAS THAT CHILD that spoke to me afterwards, and wrapped his arms around me. IT WAS THAT CHILD that said, "what will I do without you? You're my mom. How do I choose between you and Daddy?".
Now, at the time he didn't know I had tried to take my life. He only thought that his mom and dad were getting a divorce. Instead of admitting how badly I was struggling, I blamed my sweet and loving husband. It became much easier to focus on him, than myself. I was tired of focusing on my sister, and I turned on my husband.
GOD'S GRACE AGAIN. My husband is my rock!
After moving into our new home, God began a mighty work in my heart. He showed me the sins I was hiding, and He showed me what He wanted me to do with it. Less than Three was written in obedience to what He was doing at the time. I share in less than Three about how much I struggled with being Jordon's mom, in vivid detail. It's heartbreaking, because I really failed that boy.
But, it's beautiful too, because if you have faith in God, and you believe in grace, what happened within my heart is nothing short of GRACE and REDEMPTION.
He called me "Mom" for the first time in September 2013. He referred to me as mom to others, and when he would talk to me he would say things like, "you're my mom," but he called me "Nina" which is godmother in Spanish. I am his godmother, and my oldest neices godmother and that is what I am referred to by nieces and nephews.
Yet, this child called me, "Mom". I wrestled with the name for a long time. My sister was his mom, not me. She fought us tooth and nail to stay his mom, so how could I be his mom too?
Oh the turmoil I felt within.
God healed all of that.
He revealed, in a mighty way, that Jordon was chosen by Him to be my son just as much as he was chosen to grow in my sister's womb. God had a purpose for all of us, and my purpose was to be his mom. My sister is his birth mother, I am his mom.
There's a difference, and it's something I respect and treasure now.
I am thankful to my sister now. The anger, the irritation that I often feel, God eases that. There are moments, in my flesh, when I am insanely mad at my sister. But, God quickly softens my heart.
He's AWESOME like that.
There hasn't been a moment, in the last year, that I have questioned why I am raising this child as mine. He is mine. He was always meant to become mine. God doesn't make mistakes. And we cannot change His will.
I struggle with yelling still, but I don't struggle with directing it at him anymore. Today, after 6 years as his mom, I can truly and unequivocally say, I am thankful to be his mom.
I am thankful for every single hard day we have had, because they have taught me SO MUCH. I have learned more about grace through that precious child than I could have ever learned without him.
I was scared to share this story. We all know I still struggle with the opinions of others. I felt like I "knew" I would get someone saying, "that woman doesn't deserve that child", and it would crush me.
Truth is, I don't deserve any of my children. I don't deserve my life.
But, God doesn't give us what we deserve. He gives us what he gives because He is good, and He has a purpose for us. I was meant to have 5 children, all of which are raised in the admotion of the Lord, and in THAT I can rest!
Moral to today's post, appreciate what you are given and DO NOT QUESTION why you were given something. You may never understand, but He does. He has a purpose, a plan and it is GOOD.