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Living Beyond Yourself
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Lby_1This week the Word of God came ALIVE for me, thanks in part to this Bible Study! It was one of those times where God spoke so specifically about the circumstances in my life - through this study - and I was left mulling over His message for me for days.

Don't you just love it when He does that?! Oh, our God is such a personal God! I pray that He meets you exactly - specifically - where you are as well, and takes your breath away, too. I pray that you let Him!

There are instances where kids are lovingly placed for adoption, and lovingly adopted. Lovingly adopted because the parents WANT and LOVE the child, and will go through whatever is necessary to have that child in their lives.  The hassle, the expense, the legal struggles, the waiting... all of those pale in comparison to the joy of that special day when the child is truly adopted, and a family is formed. (Do you remember that the Word says WE are all adopted? That's how highly God thinks of adoption!) This is a joy I've experienced personally, although I haven't said so here before. I have four kids, one of them I adopted at a young age, and three I didn't.  Mike is the biological dad of all four.

(For those of you who secretly wonder if there is a 'difference' in a mom's love - no. There's not, but I don't blame you for wondering)

There are also instances where sometimes those kids grow up a little and feel that maybe God had it wrong. That maybe the biological parents would be the absolute best, and this current life is really second best, instead of His best for them. The child's perceived rejection, the feelings of abandonment, isolation, and resentment can grow. They have. My child's heart has particularly hardened against me, as she feels that if I were not here, her life would be better. She has rejected me in every way she knows how, and she fantasizes of even more extreme ways to act out her feelings against me.

I love this child dearly. It's hard to show it. It's hard to be in the same room with her a lot of times. She's hostile and looking to attack in any way she thinks she can. She's a wonderful child, with serious issues.

Maybe this isn't making any sense at all. Here is what I'm talking about.

I tell you all this - although I'd decided at first not to - because I want to share with you how God ministered to me so personally this week. It cannot be done otherwise, and so I put this all out there. Should you think I'm an awful parent, that's ok. Leave it in the comments if you wish, just try to be tactful about it.

I have lived so fully under the false belief that my love has somehow failed my child. If only I could be more this, or more that, or just DO MORE... all would be well. The reality is I've done all I can. I've loved, I've prayed, and cried and disciplined and sought help from professionals. It hasn't been enough and it was NEVER going to be enough. We've only just now discovered that yes, God does have a plan for how our daughter will be restored, and we finally understand it a little more.

I'm empty, drained, stressed, and numb from the chaos this has created in our family. This is the closest we've come to just not making it. I used to think we had it made, since 'divorce just isn't an option' for us. And it wasn't. Until life got so complicated, that out of sheer self preservation, I started to wonder about it. I had never before thought that anything would be able to so swiftly threaten our marriage - certainly nothing from within our own family - and yet it has. Mightily.

This week, God reminded me that love never fails. Seems simple, huh? But why, if it's so simple, was I convinced that my love for my daughter had failed? For years I've thought this, and been weighed down by the guilt of it. My dirty secret.

But this week He lovingly pointed out that my love did not fail. His love did not fail. My daughter's love? It didn't fail. I've loved all I possibly can, and you know what? So has my kid, in the ways that she can right now.

I sat, amazed, as Beth Moore described the exact scenario in our home, where an adopted child has the issues I mentioned above.  What were the odds of that? Are there any 'odds?' No, it was just God, giving me exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right moment. I'm so numb to life right now, I don't really 'get' subtlety. So God didn't give me subtle - He gave me my whole life as an example in this week's study, just so I wouldn't miss His point.

I'm still thinking on it. I wish I had more to say that might mean something to someone else. The truth is I'm just not there yet, and I'm still awed by the personal, intimate, loving way in which He looks out for me. Also, some of the things I'm thinking about and praying about I just want to keep close a little longer, and not share just yet. And another thing. If I waited until I thought this was ready for some "Yea, This Post is Holy" status, well, I'd just never get there.

What I hope you get out of this (if you're still with me!) is that God is a loving, personal God who cares about the details of your life more than you can imagine. Let Him show you. Let Him take your breath away with His unfailing love.

Heather HolyMama! Eph2810
Christy Jenn Karin
This is a list of the women participating in the study and the links to their blogs. New postings on the study will be published weekly, between Friday 8pm - Saturday 8am. Please feel free to visit each of us and comment. Everyone is welcome to participate in this discussion as we seek to live beyond ourselves. May God bless you richly from the hearing of His word.

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Your Comments

Owlhaven Said:

That is so great to have that certain evidence of God caring for you, isn't it? Another great book is "Attaching In Adoption" by Deborah Gray. (Sorry, I'm always recommending books, aren't I?)
I'm praying for your daughter!
Mary, mom to many

on Apr 15, 2006 12:17:09 AM
Theresa Said:

I can't say I have been in your shoes, but I can say that I will pray for you and your family. What an awesome God we have...I'm so glad he is carrying you right now and I'm SO glad you are listening to Him.
Lifting you up, T-Lo

on Apr 15, 2006 1:12:47 AM

I"m not in the LBY group online, but am about to finish up the study with a group of ladies from our church. God is using the study in my life too, but what He has done for you....the hope He is giving you....is so awesome to read about. He really does use every circumstance in our lives (especially the trials that are nearly the death of us) to produce something wonderful in us....love never fails. Some day I hope you see the fruit of it in your oldest daughter....I will pray that you will.

I am glad you've had the courage to write about this. It is very freeing (even while making us horrifyingly vulnerable) to confess our weaknesses and bear each others' burdens. And I know with this out there before your sisters online, you'll get a lot of encouragement, moral support and most of all prayer.

God bless you and your family as He keeps revealing hope to you!

on Apr 15, 2006 1:48:49 AM
Diane J. Said:

You know, I believe sometimes Satan wants us to keep our issues and pain to ourselves, like something we should be ashamed of. He wants us to feel isolated, so he can pick at us, like a lamb isolated from the rest of the flock. It took great courage to open yourself up as you have, and I respect that. Just as God loves us unconditionally, but allows us free will to serve or not serve Him, as Mamas we love our children the same way. But our love for our kids doesn't always mean they will return that love in the same proportions we give our love to them. As Christians, how often do we serve and obey God, and return His love in the same proportion He loves us?
Kelsey, keep on loving her. She is the one God will have to work on and change. You can lead by God's direction, but you can't MAKE her show love and do right. God has to deal with her in those areas.
Hold on, my child, joy comes in the morning.
Ain't God good? :-)

on Apr 15, 2006 2:21:31 AM
Carol Said:

Kelsey, I am thrilled to the bones at what God is showing you through this study! I praise Him that your heart is so tender and open to His teaching.

I absolutely can not wait until you get to the week on peace. Meanwhile, we have a few other fruit to explore and I know each one will draw you (and me!) closer to the Creator of all.

Still praying for you and praising Him...

on Apr 15, 2006 7:35:47 AM
boomama Said:

Thank you so much for your openness and honesty. I think that everyone who reads your blog has prayed for you...and now we can pray SPECIFICALLY, which is just awesome. It's so encouraging to read how God has personally reached out to you...He is faithful!

on Apr 15, 2006 8:13:56 AM
angi Said:

As an adoptee, I know that Mom's love isn't different. If anything, my parents love me more than their birth children. My dad is a minister, and has always used the story of my adoption in illustrating God's love for us.

My parents also adopted two boys, after me, who are half brothers, both of which have several of the RAD symptoms. With much prayer, one of them is coming around, the other is a long way off, but still, know that God will bring your daughter around, just like he has my brother, and will with my other brother.

on Apr 15, 2006 9:32:47 AM
Heather I. Said:

Thank you so much for opening up and sharing your heart, Kelsey. I'd never heard of RAD before, and I went to that website you linked to and found it full of insight.

I read a story in a book a few months ago written by a woman who rejected her mom until she was 26 years old. When she turned 26, a light bulb went off, and she went to her mom and asked her, "Can you ever forgive me for all those years of my anger and rejection?" The restoration of their relationship was beautiful.

I think the Holy Spirit allowed me to read that story to remind me that someday my adult children will be my best friends and appreciate me! But for now, I have to train and teach and discipline, even when it's not fun -- I WANT to be their best friend now, but I just can't be!

We'll be praying for you ...

on Apr 15, 2006 10:24:35 AM
momrn2 Said:

You finsihed your post by saying, "God is a loving, personal God who cares about the details of your life more than you can imagine. Let Him show you. Let Him take your breath away with His unfailing love."

I know this, I just needed to be reminded... TODAY! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

on Apr 15, 2006 10:53:21 AM
Lauren Said:

"I pray that you let Him!" Oooh, zing, Kelsey....but the good kind of zing.
I've been praying for you and your daughter. I will continue to pray.

on Apr 15, 2006 12:00:34 PM
Mary Said:

I just want to echo what Dianne said about shame and how powerfully Satan uses it against us. You took a big step against him by sharing and refusing to question your love for your daughter. Thank you so much for reminding me of the power of love. My parents and I have been trying to love my sister "out of a situation", so to speak and hang in there while she made bad decision after bad decision. The Lord is beginning to show us an answer to our prayer after several years and I know he will be faithful to you in your situation too. There's a reason Satan attacks us. If you and your family were not a threat to him, he'd leave you alone! But God is so much bigger and He is able to deliver you.

on Apr 15, 2006 12:28:41 PM
Chaotic Mom Said:

I am speechless. And very excited for you, that God is working through you in such an amazing way. Not easy, eh? But thankfully we have God. And thankfully we're all learning such great things through this study, in very personal ways. ;)

on Apr 15, 2006 1:41:05 PM
Julie Said:

What an amazing post and so relevant in my life right now. My 6yr old DS has a condition called Sensory Integration Disorder and while we are in the process of testing and hopefully starting some treatment plans there many days where I feel like a failure because I cannot help him, control him or get him to do the things he needs to do. I feel guilty when he gives his teacher a hard time (God bless her she is so patient with him). I needed this reminder that I have not failed him and that God will not either. Thanks for sharing your heart so that we can pray more specifically for you and your daughter.

on Apr 15, 2006 7:04:48 PM
robin Said:

I can't imagine that as a mom. I will be in prayer for you and your little one. Thanks for sharing will all of us.

on Apr 15, 2006 7:14:47 PM
Heth Said:

Oh Kelsey. Thank you for being so open and sharing this.

on Apr 15, 2006 9:21:42 PM
Faith Said:

Kelsey, My youngest daughter, while never diagnosed specifically with RAD had alot of those symptoms. They called it all sorts of stuff. When she became pregnant (and I believe her hormones changed) - she became a different person. Just like that , it changed. It was nothing short of a miracle. She would never let us touch her before, then all of a sudden her head is in my lap and she wants me to "play" with her hair. I could go on with befor and after, but, there is some blog rule against going on and on in comments (probably). We could always e-mail if you'd like. I will continue praying for your family.

on Apr 15, 2006 9:31:19 PM
Janna Said:


Even though this was a deeply personal post for you, it ministered to me still. It brought back to my mind when I went through Beth Moore's Patriarch's last fall with a friend and subjects kept coming up that were just eerily right on what her and I were both going through in our lives. God is so personal. If people could get that, I believe that their lives and relationship with Him would be forever changed. God loves us so, as He is, who we are. Thanks for sharing the details of your story.

on Apr 15, 2006 11:49:05 PM
Joy Said:

God is indeed very personal. I am glad that you are able to feel His love and compassion at moments you absolutely need to. When you were talking about love, I was just reminded of the reflection about Easter I had during my quiet time with the Lord. It is love that begets faith. It is love that makes us see. It is love that heals. It is love that redeems because at the heart of the Resurrection is Love.

Happy Easter. :D

on Apr 16, 2006 12:51:21 PM
Patricia Said:

Kelsey, we raised my brother's son from the time he was 8. He came to us with many issues, so I understand a little of what you are going through. You said, "some of the things I'm thinking about and praying about I just want to keep close a little longer, and not share just yet". I finished Beth's Patriarch study just before we began LBY, and one of the things she said during that study was that we don't have to tell everyone everything - there are some things that, like Jacob, we wrestle with God about that are just between us and God. You also said, "If I waited until I thought this was ready for some "Yea, This Post is Holy" status, well, I'd just never get there." You are wrong...this was a very "holy" post because God was all over it! =) I pray you had a very blessed Resurrection Day!

on Apr 16, 2006 8:58:55 PM
Geekwif Said:

Your story made me cry. I can't even begin to imagine how heartbreaking this must be for you. God is so good and I know he will bring you through this to the other side and as always, all will work out for good in the end. I will continue to pray for you and your family that the good "end" to these difficulties will come soon.

on Apr 16, 2006 9:57:57 PM
Lauren Said:

Kelsey, I'm so happy that God is showing you his personal, unfailing love.

I so agree wih the comments about being open and especially Diane when she said," so [satan] can pick at us, like a lamb isolated from the rest of the flock." I know being able to let something like this out is very freeing and I'm praying that you experience freedom and peace too. You're such a sweet person, I hurt for you. I'll keep praying and reminding you that God is in control. :)

on Apr 16, 2006 11:35:22 PM

Kelsey, what a blessing to receive such a personal word from the Lord about your situation! I am rejoicing at that, and praying for your daughter.

For what it's worth, I used to serve regularly on a prayer team at an annual healing [emotional, primarily] conference. The speakers always recommended praying for children when they were sleeping, laying hands gently on them. In your daughter's case, this may be the time when her heart is most open. Pray specifically for a filling of any emptiness in her heart caused by any separations/rejections from her biological mom, especially the earliest ones. Only God can touch those places, much as you want to with your love.

Also, I recently read about a woman who'd adopted many children with disabilities, and a few of them also had RAD. One daughter was particularly unloving, and the Lord brought the mom to the place of saying, "Lord, I give up my desire to receive love from this child. I am willing to just be your hands and feet of love to her, even if she never shows me a loving gesture to the end of her life." The mom shared that it changed HER so much, made her life with this daughter so much more doable--to have no expectations made it easier to love her. (And over time, this daughter did change radically!) It might be a helpful perspective for you too, I don't know.

Praying for your family,


on Apr 17, 2006 9:42:42 AM
millicent Said:

wow! that was well said! I adore Beth Moore and the way that the Lord works through her...I am in the midst of my 3rd study, and I am learning just how much God treasures me!
Good Luck with your situation!

on Apr 17, 2006 11:34:39 AM

Just wanted you to know I read your post, and it was encouraging.

on Apr 17, 2006 3:32:02 PM
Addie Said:

Wow! How many times, have I been in your daughter's shoes with God! And yet he is ALWAYS faithful to me! No matter how many dreams I chase away from him, no matter how many times I say "life is not fair", no matter how many times I might blame him for a circumstance, his love absolutely does not falter. Reading this has made me see just a little bit of the ache and grief that I have caused God my Father. Beautiful post Kelsey! And I'm so glad that you received some encouragement too as a mother! You and your daughter are in my prayers.

on Apr 17, 2006 9:33:12 PM