For those of you who have been blessed to parent a newborn, you know it is a time of very little sleep. It is a time of meeting thousands of needs but usually not your own.
I found myself in that blessed place after several years of longing to be there. I had dreamt about the rocking and the midnight feeding.
Through our adoptive parent training we had learned about the attachment concept of rupture and repair. Rupture happens each time an infant has a need - a wet diaper, hunger or thirst, a need for comfort, a need for sleep. Repair occurs as the parent meets that need by feeding, rocking and regulating. Through the thousands of ruptures and repairs in infancy, healthy attachment occurs and allows the infant to grow into a child who trusts and feels secure.
I had longed for a child. I knew the importance of my role in repair. I was all in. Then we adopted a second child. The ruptures doubled. The repair needs doubled. And, as you might guess, the reality of midnight feedings I was once so excited to wake up for and the neediness of toddler-filled days extended into months, then years.
At times, when I was most tired, I found myself void of gratitude and struggling to offer repair. The midnight wake up calls would leave me livid. The constant clinging made me cringe. The mess would release a monster in me. I’d snap. Yell. I didn’t know how to ask for help and I’d use my voice to create the space I felt I desperately needed. I didn’t understand the fierceness of my reactions. I didn’t like how I was behaving. And I had no idea what to do about it.
The fear in my children’s eyes - should have stopped me, but it didn’t. Sometimes, I’d find myself justifying the tone, the volume, the fear. “I’m just so tired,” I’d say. ”All moms yell,” I’d defend. I’d find friends who would even offer comfort, “yelling is human nature” they would contend. I was so busy justifying my anger that I couldn’t see the pain lying beneath.
I wasn’t making the connection that human nature which pushes away or separates has another name: sin.
Because God loves us so much, He designed the rupture and repair pattern needed for trust. God knows that unrepaired rupture continues to separate us from one another and from Him. Even when we try to justify our behavior because it is a family pattern or because it is something that most people do, it does not mean that behavior is what God wants for us.
God was there through the rupture offering me repair.
The Bible study I was in at the time focused on 2nd Samuel when David commits adultery with Bathsheba.
Upon discovering she is pregnant from the affair, David lies and tries to trick Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, hoping to cover up his role in her pregnancy. In an abuse of his power, David eventually murders Uriah and then marries Bathsheba when none of his cover up attempts work.
David was supposed to be a man after God’s own heart. How could “a man after God’s heart” use his friend’s wife for his own pleasure? How could he lie and cover it up with murder? I felt confused and enraged.
Unrecognized by me at the time, the triggers of my past were activated. As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I had not yet connected the dots between the wounds of my soul which had created in me a fierce heart for stopping injustice or between the unhealed wounds to my soul causing my own unbecoming behavior. I was still pretty darn good at pretending that if I just painted a certain picture for the outside observer - that maybe those wounds wouldn’t actually exist.
So there I was, burning with anger toward David. How could this guy who gets so much glory in the story also be responsible for causing so much harm to others? I wanted justice! So when I read, “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.” I breathed a sigh of relief. Good, I thought, finally some justice.
But then scripture became a mirror, and here is what I saw: Nathan told David the story of the rich man stealing and sacrificing the beloved lamb of the poor man, and “David burned with anger” against the rich man. He condemned the man’s actions. He called for justice. The scripture reflected my anger toward David like Nathan’s story reflected David’s anger toward the rich man. David’s rupture opened the door for Nathan to speak truth to David, “You are the man.” The one who has been given everything and could have even more but you have messed it up. Then David confessed..”I have sinned.”
There it was. Rupture. Conviction. Truth.
I was angry at David for his justification of sin, while I was justifying my own sin of taking my anger out on others. I didn’t yet understand the root causes of my anger. There had been a rupture to my soul that had never been repaired. Through the various stages of my life, it had been covered, hidden, numbed by alcohol, disguised by busyness and good deeds. But Scripture is prophetic. It is truth-telling.
As you enter into study, God just might use it to help you uncover the truth about what needs repair. To help you identify the wounds that if left unmended will continue to kill you and those around you as they fester.
No I wasn’t a King ruling an entire country, but I was guilty of causing harm from a position of power. It was not intentional, but with children impact is what matters - not intention. David named it: I have sinned. So I named it: I was sinning. Rupture led to conviction.
Conviction is not condemnation. Jesus did not come to condemn me, but he came to save me. To save me, and all of us from sin. From the sin that separates from His all encompassing love. Conviction leads to truth, forgiveness and the possibility of repair.
I am learning that healing happens in God’s presence and not in the pursuit of perfection or the pretense of having no pain. For so long I thought that repair meant to fix - make like new - the ruptures wouldn’t exist anymore.
Now I understand that repair is not erasure, but redemption.
“The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.” David’s story is redeemed each time we celebrate his fierce faith in facing a giant or in his grandparenthood to Jesus.
My story is redeemed every time I embrace my identity as a beloved daughter: beloved daughter to my parents who are walking with me in repair and beloved daughter of the King. My story is redeemed every time I can see my scars holding sacred truth that makes me beautiful instead of marking me as ruined.
Repair. The mending of my heart allowed for the mending of my behavior.
Repentance was the first step toward breaking the generational cycle of yelling and redemption was found on the other side.
Ruptures happen in our lives. Sometimes we cause ruptures, sometimes we experience them because of others. Our willingness to repent and make repairs when needed can allow for our minds to be made new and our relationships to flourish. Our willingness to give God the whole of our ruptured hearts - the abuses committed against us – helps us realize that we don’t have to carry weight we weren’t meant to carry. We experience repair and we trust God more.
As we trust God more we might find ourselves taking some Godly risks with relationships. And in doing that we just might become like Nathan was to David - speaking truth about rupture and repair to someone we love.
It’s taken many years and much practice, but I am breaking the cycle of yelling. You can watch my recent sermon (link on my website) to learn more about God’s incredible love and some resources that have helped me continue to heal and develop a better way for using my voice.
What might be a rupture you’ve been justifying or trying to tackle on your own or pretending didn’t exist? What would it look like for you to take this to Jesus?
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