The simple notes of a childhood song slice through the silence. Angry silence, silence holding our family hostage eight days and counting. No one on the outside knows the strain that punishing silence has placed on our fragile family bond. A stranger peering through our picture window might even envy the image they see. Framed by chevron-printed curtains on the other side of the glass sits a family of four—smiling mother, fully present father, teenage sons cradling musical instruments in man-sized hands.
I’m the mother. (“Only on paper” of course, as my child was painfully quick to point out only hours ago.) I sit on my sage-colored sofa, legs tucked, tears threatening to spoil the fragile pages of my open Bible.
Only You, God can author such a midnight miracle. Only You, sweet Jesus. Only You… My prayer of praise is a silent sigh of relief as I search the faces of my husband and five-months-yesterday-home-from-Ukraine sons.
Let’s back up a few minutes…
“Would anyone like to come to worship?” My Honey’s nightly question hangs in the air for a moment then plummets into the cavernous silence that has only been broken by expletives and anger from our sweet Boys of Summer. My Honey smiles at me with weary eyes and for the first time in months, picks up his guitar. He strums a few chords, tightens a couple of strings, strums again and begins to play.
“I’ve been redeemed,” he softly sings.
“I’ve been redeemed,” I echo.
“By the blood of the Lamb.” Honey’s voice is sweet.
“By the blood of the Lamb.” My voice cracks.
“I’ve been redeemed.” He sings it again.
“I’ve been redeemed.” I try to match his bravery.
“By the blood of the Lamb.” Louder now.
“By the blood of the Lamb.” I repeat the phrase, letting go of the last note just as Honey begins the chorus.
We sing in unison. “I’ve been redeemed by the blood of the lamb, filled with the Holy Ghost I am. All my sins are washed away. I’ve been redeemed!”
One by one our sons appear. The first is lanky and shirtless, with grease-stained fingers clutching a shiny new flute. He sinks deep into our other sofa—stone-faced, hazel eyes hard. I do not flinch when he stares at me although yesterday’s hateful words still smart in my heart. Our second son stands cautious on one foot, his other knee pressing the sofa’s arm, his own muscular arms holding a delicate bow and violin, his eyes avoiding mine.
That’s okay, God. At least he’s here. He’s right here. How long has it been since we were all in the same room together?
“Do you want to hear my flute?” Hard-eyes asks Honey.
“Of course! Did you learn a new song at your lesson last night?”
“Yes. It’s easy.” With that, our big, big boy begins to play his instrument with confidence.
“Wow!” Did you learn all of that in just four lessons? Honey’s surprise is genuine, his praise lavish.
“Will you play it with me on your guitar?” the flutist asks in his newfound “I’m a man now” voice.
“Write down the notes for me and I will try.” My husband hands him a scrap of paper. We wait as notes are transcribed into letters that make more sense to a guitarist who doesn’t really read music.
Suddenly the violin interrupts the silence. I hold my breath as I watch a miracle unfold before us. Our Violinist, with just five lessons under his belt begins his repertoire, stopping only when notes are not pure and warm. He starts again. And again until it sounds just right. Then comes his question. The first words offered freely from the Violinist to My Honey in eight angry days.
“Can you play my song?”
Shocked but not showing it, Honey replies, “Sure. I will try. Bring me your music so I can look.”
The Violinist takes a step toward Honey. A step toward reconciliation. A step toward peace again in our home. Thank you, Jesus. We need peace. I am so battle weary.
Within minutes, The Violinist, The Flutist, and The Guitarist discover their ability to play the same song — a song every fledgling musician knows by heart. EDCD EEE DDD EEE, EDCD EEE DDEDC. “Mary had a little lamb. Its fleece was white as snow…”
So here I sit, in awe. A week of chaos calmed by a melody. Unity. Cooperation. Teamwork. Timing. Those nebulous concepts whose value we struggle to convey to our newfound family members – coming together right here in a simple song about Mary and her little lamb. Counting and nodding in unison, my husband and sons strum, flute and fiddle together as the atmosphere in our home shifts from darkness to light, from chaos to compromise, agitation to agreement, stony silence to serenity.
After music comes conversation, reconciliation, the restoration of a broken relationship. Sometime in the wee morning hours Honey and I finally crash. Our household rests at last.
It’s been a long day. A long week. A long five months. A life season perhaps only those who have bravely adopted teenagers from institutions in Eastern Europe could possibly imagine. It’s been never ending ups and downs and highs and lows, victories and defeats that leave our heads spinning and our hearts bleeding as we end our days clutching hands under the covers, sometimes too tired to even pray.
Tonight will be different from last night. Tonight our bedtime prayers will be praise as we pour out thankful hearts to God for His power, His mercy, His ability to work through our prayer team to intercede for our family and help us battle the generational strongholds and spirits seeking to destroy our beautiful boys from the inside out.
Tonight we have reprieve. Tonight our home is in order, our hearts are at peace, our sons are back in the fold, and the spirits of intimidation and fear dispelled in the name of Jesus. Tonight no weapon formed against our family will prosper (Isaiah 54:17). Tonight, because of Mary and her little Lamb, whose red blood was shed for me and my family, the silence is broken and we can sing in our sleep, “I’ve been redeemed, by the blood of the Lamb…”
Resources for parents battling in the spiritual realm for their kids and families:
More Scriptures to Pray:
“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the ________(family). Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:13,14
“Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded, declares the LORD. They will return from the land of the enemy. Your children will return to their own land.” Jeremiah 31:16,17
“I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save.” Isaiah 49:25 Father, go to______ right now and save him/her from whatever he/she is doing to destroy him/herself.
Daily Prayer with 44 Scriptures
Books to Order:
If you believe God may be calling you to make your home a mission field, now is the time to begin planning for summer hosting with Host Ukraine .
p.s. This song keeps me moving forward when everything in me wants to crawl back into bed and hide from the challenge ahead. Singing these words helps me to believe them: It Is Well with my soul.
Julie that is beautiful you are in my prayers always and Nannie would love it. I love you and God is always with us.
Thank you for reading and for reminding me that my Nannie would be proud. I love you, too. And I’m so thankful that God promises to NEVER leave, not forsake us. Blessings to you and those you love so dearly.
If it was easy every day NO one would appreciate the good times. Celebrate family successes.
I suppose that’s true, Anna. We are celebrating!
Find the song “Simple Gifts” on you tube.. play it and remember IF God brought you to it, He will see you through it. The boys are homesick, reality is sinking in.. For all of you. . When we are at our _least _ lovable we need the most love. Fear not. Be still and KNOW that He is God.
Thank you. He surely will.
Hi Juliet, so sorry things have been stormy there but thrilled for the breakthrough. Will keep you on my prayer list. You have a hard row to hoe and, rest assured that snake will be working overtime to create as many problems as he can.
When you mentioned one of the boys pointing out that you were mother “in name only”, it took me back more than 60 years. I was adopted when I was born and my very sweet wonderful adoptive mom died when I was 8 after a 5 year painful bout with Hodgkins. When was about 5, I overheard a conversation in a store between my mom and another lady where she shared that I was adopted. That’s when i found out. I can’t really say how much concept a 5 year old has of adoption, but I basically understood I was not naturally hers.
Some time later, maybe when I was around 7, Mom told me to do something I didn’t want to do and I told her I didn’t have to; that she wasn’t my real mother. I have never seen anyone cry like she did. The flood gates just opened up. It absolutely broke her heart and her tears absolutely broke mine. There is nothing I wouldn’t have given to take back those words.
Those words were childish, just said because I wasn’t getting my way. I’m 70 years old and there is no one (other than Jesus), I have or will ever love as much as I loved and love her. I was in my 30s before I could think of her without crying. Anytime I thought of her in connection with those words, was cause for deep remorse. We have to be so careful to guard our tongues, they can do so much damage but sometimes those hateful words that slip out when we aren’t getting our way aren’t really from our hearts. From one dumb kid on behalf another, I’m sending you a hug, an “I love you” and an “I am oh so truly sorry.”
Bless your heart, dear Linda. Thank you for picking up on that most painful tidbit in the middle of this post. You are so right, it stings like a billion bees and my mind tends to replay the painful words, as words are my “love language” – they also have the power to hurt me deeply.
Thank you for sharing your story and your regret. I’m so sorry… What I know in my brain and tell my heart not to feel is just what you said. But somehow my ❤️ still feels it and it hurts so deep that walls of protection start to form and I cannot seem to find the balance between hard and soft. In order to connect and bond, I must remain vulnerable and continue to reach out, even faced with rejection or retaliation. In order to guard my own heart, I need to step back and put things into perspective. It’s a difficult dance and some days, exhausting. Thank you for sharing.
As we were told before we went into it, adopting an older child is definitely not for the faint of heart – It’s rough, and we too had a very hard time for awhile, especially after a few months home with our older girl from China. Years later, things are substantially better, albeit still imperfect, but we know our daughter has a much, much better life than if she’d not been adopted and we do think one day we will be able to look back on the tough years and know it was worth the pain. Please know that many are praying that it will work out for you all. I know it’s got to be very hard with two adopted teen boys at once (and teens are hard anyway — we have three right now and they do say awful things at times, even the two we raised from babyhood including our bio child), but it does get better over time with older adopted kids and my friends assure me that it gets better with teens once they’re grown (we are hoping!). Don’t be afraid to seek counseling if needed in future for your boys as attachment disorders are more prevalent in older adopted kids. I want you to know in any case that your posts, including this one, are inspirational to me, and I do struggle with my faith at times…You bring me back and I thank you. Please take care of yourself too!
Carol – thank you for sharing part of your journey. I’m glad to know that my words bring encouragement to someone else along adoption’s road. I believe things will improve with time, boundaries, empathy and God’s love poured through us to them. His unconditional ❤️ is what heals each of our wounded souls so we can love other wounded souls.
Thank you… I am looking for ways to care for myself. Self-care is an important part of caring for a family. Thank you for responding with hope and encouragement.
Oh, Jules. I had no idea the challenges you have been having. I admit I’ve been merely praying general daily prayers for your family. These will be more intentional now.
Blessings to you, your Honey, and the Boys of Summer….
Thank you my friend. Even “general prayers” are mighty in the courts of heaven. I appreciate the support. We will get through this. It just feels like swimming upstream some days and that’s when the prayer cover gives us strength to keep kicking.