On the days he hates me.
And it's really hard in that moment to gain perspective and clarity. It's hard to see his inability to control his environment and world. His desire for control in whatever way he can grasp it overrides any kind of behavior or attempt at kindness.
And my heart seizes in my chest and I tell myself to breathe. To exhale. "Son, I love you. You may not hit me. You may not hit others..." and he instantly starts whacking at himself. Trying to hit himself. Trying to punish himself. I put down the things in my hands and I say to him, "And you may not hit yourself. Squeeze me. Squeeze me hard." I wrap my arms around him and give him firm pressure. He's still angry. He squeezes. I can feel the anger and frustration in that squeeze and I pray that he's able to release this intense emotion.
I see him testing me. Testing my love for him. Seeing if it's any match for his self-loathing. His frustration and anger at the world that he in turn reverts inward directed at himself.
He feels other, not apart. Different. And the truth is he does have things that set him apart. And my heart breaks and I want to fix it. I want him to feel loved and accepted. I want him to know that his uniqueness is okay. He is not a mistake. He was made in the image of God.
I ask God to change my heart. To keep it soft. To not stiffen and respond in anger. Somedays I win at this and other times I fail. And I have to ask forgiveness from God, His maker. And I ask forgiveness from him, my child.
Some days are easier than others. Some days I'm more aware of my failing than God's faithfulness. I'm more aware of my son's contempt than God's continuing work in his little heart.
I know he doesn't really hate me. I know it's his way of saying, "I'm frustrated. I'm angry. I don't have control." But these are things I must continuously give to the Lord.
So Jesus help me. A new day has dawned and I'm need of your grace for today. Your new mercies for today. And help change me into the Mom you created me to be. In Your Name, Amen.