Some bloggers are gutsy. They write raw, honest posts and aren’t afraid to declare unpopular, inconvenient, unflattering truth. What I adore about today’s guest blogger, Kim Van Brunt, is her ability to do so with grace and eloquence. She isn’t about shocking people, getting attention, or making a ruckus. She’s in pursuit of redemption. Healing. Transformation. Though we have yet to meet in person, Kim has taught me much—as a woman and a writer—about genuine vulnerability and the healing found when we place the broken pieces of ourselves in God’s capable hands. Welcoming her to my blog feels a bit like welcoming a mentor into my home. I’m honored, humbled…maybe a little tempted to tidy up the place and pretend I have it all together. But that’s why we all need someone like Kim—to tell us it’s okay. We don’t have it all together. And our not-togetherness isn’t a blunder, but a seed of beauty.
Nothing So Broken: What We Pass Down (For my son)
Guest post by Kim Van Brunt
I saw my own fear in your eyes just last night, love.
It was in the middle of one of your tantrums, the fits you’ve been throwing for months now. Just lately, they seem out of even your control. I’ve been trying to reach your heart, to let you know you’re loved, loved, loved.
It’s so easy to forget that’s what you’re asking for, really. That your constant pushing the boundaries, testing the rules and doing the very thing I’ve just forbid — these are just symptoms of something that’s settled deep in you. You don’t even know it’s there, can’t really name it, but I can. I’ve seen it before.
Because it lives in me.
It’s just this: we are both terrified that we’re unlovable. That we’re too flawed for connection. That we’ve gone too far, crossed the line too many times, that others are better, calmer, kinder. That fundamentally, we are failures and it’s only a matter of time until we’re alone and rejected.
And now I’m scared that my brokenness is breaking you, too. That I’m passing down what I know: Fear. Insecurity. Invulnerability.
Last night, after I saw defiant eyes and angry eyes and raging eyes, I saw it there. Fear. And then you said the words that echo in me in my worst moments.
“THIS is why I feel like the WORST PERSON IN THIS FAMILY!” you cried, some of your fight leaving, exposing the hurt parts. “I’m BAD and I’m STUPID and I’m TOO BAD TO BE ALIVE!”
“You’ve made yourself invulnerable/
No one can break your heart/
So you break it yourself.”
-Andrew Bird, Eyoneye, from Break it Yourself
* * *
Part of your struggle has been my fault, I know.
After a predictable first five years, we rocked your very world when we adopted your little brother. You took on new roles in an instant, including big brother, middle child, one of two boys. I saw something shift in you, but couldn’t tell what it was then.
Just three months ago, things shifted again when baby sister came home.
Before we brought home your brother and sister, I thought I was preparing for their brokenness, for their need for love and connection and family. To help them learn how to open themselves up completely.
I didn’t know I was the one who would need to learn how to do that. I didn’t know I’d be diving deeper than ever before, seeing how far the roots of my fear go.
For both of us, adoption has been about brokenness.
Adopting two children exposed my brokenness. And I think adopting a brother and sister has broken something in you.
But God is so patient with us, son. He makes space for us so we can first see our need, and then he can go about the work — with us — of redemption.
* * *
You are wild, creative and fun like your dad. But you are also like me. Deep longings, big feelings. False beliefs of inadequacy and failure. Big dreams — and big fears to match.
And so I have to believe that I can take your hand and we can walk each other home. As I become secure in God’s love, you can become secure in mine again.
Teach me how to love with abandon. I’ll show you what it means to apologize when I fall short. Give me a lesson in wholehearted living, and I’ll demonstrate bravery. Dance without inhibition and I’ll share my art without apology.
So whether your brokenness comes from me or the world, it doesn’t really matter. I see you. I know you.
I love you. I love you. I love you.
Walk with me.
Kim Van Brunt is a writer interested in how our broken places make us whole. She recently redesigned her blog at kimvanbrunt.com, where she writes about mothering, adoption, faith and life. You can find her on Twitter @kimvanbrunt, or on Facebook at facebook.com/kimvanbrunt.