Birth Mothers – Hating Those I Should’ve Loved
“She had the baby…he’s addicted.” My heart sank at my wife’s pronouncement. Competing emotions tore at my soul. Sadness and apathy wrestled with disbelief.
“Yes, that’s number five?” Disbelief yielded to a familiar feeling, hatred.
I have six sons and they have all suffered at the hands of their birth mothers. Four different women birthed my sons and their sins have afflicted them for life…and I have hated them for what they have done to my sons.
My sons were born of crack and alcohol, meth and weed, whatever – a smorgasbord of poisonous concoctions wreaking havoc on flesh and blood, soul and spirit.
My sons were born of a local family entirely ravaged by the evil demons of illicit drug abuse. Everyone in their family, everyone, has been destroyed by drug abuse. Prison, poverty, and even death as just last year, an older brother with a known heart condition died while ingesting drugs alongside some family members.
My sons were born of young woman embroiled in urban rot so stereotypical, it’s unfathomable.
My sons spent time in a crack house, witnessed violence, and handled drugs. They’ve had a front row seat to the worst that humanity may offer.
They are afflicted in the flesh. They suffer from Tourette’s, hearing impairment, damaged limbs, autism, microcephaly, epilepsy, and a wide assortment of tics that will forever remind that they are different. They’ve had brain hemorrhages and seizures – seared forever in my memory is my wife’s cry during the first, “He stopped breathing!”
They are afflicted in the mind. They have developmental delays, attachment disorders, sporadic cognitive development, and speech issues.
Worst of all, they are afflicted in the soul. My six sons have been traumatized, suffering deep loss as they silently mourn that which they’ll never comprehend, a deep and restless anguish at the destruction of what should’ve been. I have only recently come to understand that I will never fathom the depth of their trauma.
And in all this, at varying times, I have hated their mothers for what was done to them.
When my son can scarcely ride his Big Wheel because he cannot keep his hand on the handlebars because of a tic, I have hated.
When my son has an epic meltdown over something most would consider minutiae and other kids look on in astonishment, I have hated.
When my son slept no more than 2 to 3 hours in a row for the first five years of his life, I have hated.
When a mother walked away with nary a tear, I have hated.
I have hated…when I should have loved. I have hated; my wife takes our sons to visit.
Whenever she is able, and it’s not frequent as this particular woman still lives enslaved to her demons, Ami will stop what she is doing and take him for a short visit. It’s no secret who she is in our home and it’s not a secret that she struggles. Yet, if we can meet her in Wal-Mart and allow her to buy him a toy or take a couple of pictures and bring a glimmer of joy to her life, we do.
God’s concurrence, His sovereign rule over all things, stuns the tepid practitioner of the faith. All things work together for the good of those who love God. (Romans 8:28) Notice that Paul does not stipulate that all things are good, only that all things work together for the good of those who are called according to His purposes.
The drug use that afflicted my sons was anything but good. It was wicked and these women have borne harsh consequences. I looked on as one stood in a pool of tears, clutching her young son to her chest, as she signed away her parental rights conceding her helplessness against the demons of addiction.
Yet, my wife and I have sons who we cherish more than life itself. The tender love of our family has healed much of their wounds and I cannot imagine my life without them, how empty and bleak it would be. But at varying times, I have hated these women…when I should have loved.
As I stood in judgment over the latest birth of yet another drug addicted baby and entertained the notion of our family taking on another suffering child, as I hated this woman for her sins, the Lord laid upon my heart an overwhelming sense of my own sin.
Only by the grace of God have I never consumed an illegal drug. Growing up, drugs were reserved for the ‘Stoners’, an eclectic bunch replete with Metallica-inscribed jean jackets, feathery mullets, and generally poor attitudes. I was a good student and a jock and that’s just not what we did. However, my addictive personality testifies to what could have been. Cocaine would’ve been my drug of choice.
Yet, God kept me from that and I am eternally grateful, but I still struggle with so many other sins: sins of pride, anger, and covetousness. My heart is vile and wicked at its core. Only Christ is good, and He in me. Confronted with my own sin, my own weakness, my own frailty, how could I hate another for their weakness?
God calls the believer to serve as an ambassador for Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:20) Just as Christ is strong in our weakness, in our weakness is His strength. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) So too should we, His people, be strong where others are weak.
I’ll not deny personal responsibility, but that’ll not stop me and my family in coming alongside. God brought my sons to our family for a reason, that we might raise them in the way of the Lord that when they are older, they’ll not depart (Proverbs 22:6), but what if there were another reason? What if they were brought to us that we might lavish love upon the even more unlikely, these struggling birth mothers? What if my sons were brought to us that we might introduce their mothers to the life-giver, the Lord Jesus Christ?
Lost in the love of the Orphan is the love of those struggling in their weakness, the birth mothers. Many of these women have been abandoned, betrayed, and abused by those who were supposed to love them the most, usually the fathers. They’ve had things done to them and now they’ve had their essence, their child, maybe the one ray of light in their lives, ripped from their very arms. Now the darkness closes in.
Still my flesh pushes back against the mercy that I know is right, the mercy that is a manifestation of the mercy I have known in redemption. Others have protested. Friends and family have expressed disbelief that we would consider any of these women worthy of compassion.
Yes, my sons have suffered. My family has suffered…but my sons will never remember not knowing about Jesus. Can the same be said for these women? Would I deny them the grace they so desperately need in this unforgiving world?
I am thankful the Lord didn’t deal with me according to my sins. I’d be a goner. Yes, we should lavish love upon the Orphan, but let us not forget the oft-ignored suffering of this frequently demonized group, the birth mothers. Let us reach out to these ladies in love, no matter how unworthy they may seem. Recall that we ourselves have done nothing to merit God’s favor and allow that truth to resonate in our souls as we contemplate those before us.
Author - Founder
Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).
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