Once upon a time and halfway around the world, a little boy was born. He was not born into ideal circumstances and spent the first month of his life in a hospital where no one held him, cuddled him, or rocked him to sleep. The next year of his life was spent in an orphanage.
By the time he joined his adoptive family, the scars of the first year were seared into his little heart. He did not know how to trust, how to bond, or how to relax in the care of adults and submit to their wisdom, knowledge and authority. He resisted, fought, poked and tried to hurt the ones who loved him most (because he himself felt so hurt and wounded). Sometimes he even told his mother that he hated her, didn't want her to be his mommy, and that he wanted to hurt her.
There were days when the mother went in the other room and cried. On other days (if she were completely honest), the mother silently admitted to herself that she didn't like her son, either, and wished that she weren't his mommy. But even on the worst of days, the mother loved her son very much (for loving and liking are two different things). Every night she hugged her son and said the following words, "I love you, little tiger cub. I'm so glad you're my son." And every night she prayed that God would heal the wounds in her son which she could not reach.
Loving a child with attachment issues is like hugging a porcupine. It hurts. Every time you reach out you are pierced through the heart by sharp quills, hurtful words that cut the soul quicker than a double-edged sword. When you wake up in the morning, still nursing yesterday's wounds, you are pierced again. Your body is a mess of old, faded scars, fresh pink ones, and open, bleeding wounds. But you can't stop trying, stop reaching out, stop loving. You must die to yourself and learn how to hug porcupines.
The mother in our story cried out to God one day and said, "I'm not sure I can do this anymore. It hurts too much." God tenderly replied, "Take my hand; I'll walk with you." As the mother reached for God's hand she noticed that His hand was also pierced. And suddenly she realised: she was pierced for love of one child, but God was pierced for love of the world. Anna loved Benjamin, but God so loved the world...
With this thought the mother's ears were opened and attuned to the rhythm of God's heart. With every beat she could hear whispers of His lifeblood circulating around the world, coursing in every language to all of mankind - "I love you, little tiger cub. I'm so glad you're my son. I love you, princess. I'm so glad you're my daughter." The mother wept, and as she wept she felt her own wounds begin to heal.
The next morning was no different in many respects. Yet in this it was vastly changed: the mother's pierced hand held tightly onto God's pierced hand and together they journeyed. She was no longer afraid of porcupines.