We share a son–we don’t really, but we do.
You gave him life, I’m giving him living.
This wasn’t the way any of this was meant to be. He was formed inside of you and birthed into your arms. Then he came home from the sterile walls of the hospital to mine. You were so deep into your addiction that you couldn’t choose the very thing that could free you from it all.
You couldn’t choose him. So I did.
And with that choosing came unexpected encounters with the deepest places of my heart.
People have said things about you to me. They’ve told me you’re worthless, deserve less and shouldn’t be given a second chance. Folks have said you should be fixed so you don’t dump any more kids on society. What a burden. I hear the words of strangers and even those of friends I love as they judge you and your decisions and my soul rages for a second. I want to raise my fist in solidarity because of the pain your choices have brought on the boy I love.
But that split second of condemnation is stolen as I see your face in my mind and mercy rushes in and compassion captivates my conclusions. I see you in my mind and the memories of our moments together slow the life in front of me and the conversation that I’m in. I recall your words and the anguish of your plight and bitterness of your own betrayal. You say you love him but you keep chasing the temporary highs and lows this fleeing life tosses your way.
Our relationship has to have boundaries, I tell myself, and I’m guarded in the most vulnerable way with you. For a moment, I’ll risk it all–my reputation, the heartache and the ground I’ve gained in the mental game to show you that I care. But I also want you to know you can’t manipulate me. I’m found doubting myself and the sand I’m standing firmly on.
I judge you.
I second guess you.
I blame you.
Then I forgive you.
I wrestle with all that’s holding you down as my heart presses paradoxically with all the emotions. There’s a war within the walls of my heart and sometimes I can’t tell which side is going to win.
I’ll defend you while I build a case against you. Sometimes I see just another mama. Sometimes I see the one thing standing in my way. I have great hope for you but I also find myself believing you’ll never really change. It’s confusing to my mind and exhausting to my ego.
I decipher text messages from you, searching for the real meaning behind the words you use. I wonder if you really mean what you say when you tell me you’re thankful for me and the love I give your boy. Then I read your lines again and my heart turns on me as I protect my deepest places of mama love for my boy…he’s mine and when you claim him as your own, the battle begins again.
I’ll keep fighting and figuring out how to navigate it all.
I have to, because this is a war worth winning. I’ll fight for mercy and grace and all the good to replace whatever it is my human heart wants to cling to. Sometimes I’ll settle on a side that feels safe. Or maybe I won’t. But whatever I do, know I’ll keep coming back to love a boy we both love and the baby I call mine.
Kristy and Zach are biological parents to four beautiful kiddos. They have called nineteen others their own since starting their journey as a foster family in the summer of 2012. They say yes to the hard and crazy as they follow Jesus on this journey of surrender and obedience. Kristy loves coffee, good conversation, comfy clothes and Anne of Green Gables. She is assertive and loves change as she learns to thrive in the chaos. Follow Kristy on her personal blog, This Hard Calling.