Nothing hits your heart harder than hearing your eight year old son say out loud, “I know what it’s like to be abandoned.”
This simple yet profound statement coming from the mouth of my child should have left me in shambles. A natural thought process after hearing this should have been, “Is my greatest fear starting to manifest?” I should have played those words over and over again in my head to the point of exhaustion. I should have had the tortured thoughts of how my dumb mistakes in the past are wrecking his future. I should have realized that my innocent son was beginning to believe that he was not good enough for his biological father to want to be in his life. We’ve all heard the stories. A child is abandoned at a young age and every aspect of their life afterward is a picture of how badly someone broke them.
That’s how I should have processed his statement, but I failed to mention one little thing. Context. The context in which my son made this statement is absolutely key when understanding how I chose to process this information. The entire conversation went something like this:
Elijah: “Mom, Dad, we need to make more of those bags for the homeless people because we gave out our last one today.”
Me: “Yes buddy, we do. And we will. It makes God so happy that you like to give to people and help them.”
Elijah: “Yeah, I know. And I can help them a lot because they got left and I know what it’s like to be abandoned.”
This is why context matters so much. Context allows us to see something for what it really is. His statement reveals so much truth. Has he been abandoned? Yes, his biological dad did choose to step out of his life. He knows in his heart that someone who was supposed to love and care for him decided not to. He also knows that God will never leave him. He knows in his heart there are other people who are dealing with similar pains. He also knows that God wants to use him to help them. He knows that his biological dad isn’t around and may never be. He also knows that God brought Zach into his life to be everything he needs. He knows that his heart is sad. He also knows he can go to God, and us, and share his heart.
I remember one journal entry I wrote a couple of years ago while praying specifically about Elijah and his life. God spoke so clearly to me about this exact issue. He comforted me in a way that only He could. “Elijah will be a rock for many people because of the difficulty he has faced at such a young age.” The context of our conversation proves that this word from God is already coming to pass in his life.
So, how do we handle this? We pray for his dad. We talk about how unfair life can be. We allow him to be confused and upset and angry at times because those are all normal emotions. We tell him it is okay to love his dad and want to see him. We are honest with him when he asks us the hard questions and we do our best to share Gods love for him while he is processing his pain. I believe context revealed that what the enemy meant for destruction, God is redeeming.
At eight years old my son understands that his pain has a purpose and his purpose is bigger than himself.
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