Our son has experienced trauma for the first decade of his life- being only thirteen- that’s really all he knows. He came to us when he was nine, finally got stability, food, and a warm bed. However, he still had to deal with the lies of his birth mom, canceled visits, and the trauma when her rights were severed.
After moving to Ohio, he still had a lot to accept and deal with mentally and emotionally. He moved from the only state he’s ever known. He moved out of a very Spanish driven culture to a white/Italian driven town. He gained aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins- which he’s never had before. His name change, his school changed, and his mother changed.
These things would be difficult for anyone, especially a small child.
All things considered, he is doing good. He loves us, loves Chase, and loves his life here. He is just still hurting and because of that, it comes out in many different ways.
I’ve spent countless hours researching online how to help him. I spoke with other friends who have adopted older children. I’ve called therapists in hopes someone could point me to someone who’s worked with adopted children with trauma. I’ve set up appointments and shared our experience with any professional with a listening ear. I would question everything I read and wonder if it would work. I was uncertain about the steps to take next and often went to bed feeling defeated.
I wanted to help my son in any way possible. I would implement everything as a trial and error and would get so frustrated because it seemed like nothing was working. Nothing the experts were suggesting was making an impact. Nothing was helping him with his trauma.
His stutter is rooted in trauma and can become very minimal or almost non-existent until he experiences something that’s a trigger. These triggers cause him to struggle to get a single sentence out.
When I see him struggling and become frustrated- it breaks my heart. I want nothing more than for him to speak with freedom and ease. I hope one day he does and preaches the gospel to those who are hurting and broken. What a testimony that will be!
James and I were talking about what to do, what our next steps will be, and who we could call. I expressed that I felt like I have exhausted every possibility and all I could do was pray.
At that moment something in me clicked. I’ve spent countless hours researching, making calls, and implementing everything that has been suggested but have yet to ask God for help.
I forgot to go to the one who is the Healer. The one who speaks life and truth. The one who created my son and knows the depths of his heart.
During this time I came across a video my friend Kristen, from college posted. She and her husband lead an amazing church in Harlem and I encourage you to follow their ministry. Kristen shared a story about her precious baby daughter crying and how they tried everything they could think of to bring comfort and end the tears. At the end of the day, they decided to pray for her and for guidance. That night their daughter slept all the way through for the very first time. While sharing this story Kristen said something that tugged at my heart. She said that we often try to problem solve, live in our own will, do things our own way and when things don’t work out, we then pray. When in reality what we need to do is “Pray first, Problem-solve second.”
1 Chronicles 16:11 says, “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.”
When she spoke these words I knew that’s exactly what I’ve been doing with our son. I was overworking myself to problem solve and when everything failed- that is when I prayed. I needed to stop striving to exhaustion before coming to Christ for help.
What are you trying to problem solve right now that you haven’t gone to Christ first with?
After I went to Christ about my son, He spoke to my heart on what to do next. My son, when upset, can believe the lies of his past and the lies from his biological mother. I want my son to believe the truth of the word and speak that over his life. I printed scriptures to hang in his room so he wakes up seeing the truth and goes to bed seeing the truth.
Whenever there is a conflict that is rooted in trauma or a trigger is set off- we stop and pray. We give the power and control to Christ first.
Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Sweet friend, He will give you all answers you’re looking for to solve your problem. Whether that is speaking directly to your heart, leading you to certain books or people, He will guide your steps. It’s easy to believe the lies that things won’t go smoothly. It’s easy to believe the lies that you will never figure out how to handle the giant in front of you. It’s easy to give up and turn your problem into a failure.
Let me gently remind you that your problems will be solved simply because you prayed first. You will be filled with peace and confidence in your decisions moving forward because you took the time to Pray First-Problem Solve Second.
This post originally appeared on HeatherMargiotta.com and was republished with permission.
Heather Margiotta is a Christian Writer and Speaker from northeast Ohio. She is a wife to a loving husband and a mother to two handsome sons. She received a bachelors degree in Theology and writes about her faith, adoption, relationships, and grief on her blog, HeatherMargiotta.com. Besides loving Jesus and her family, Heather is obsessed with coffee, local pizza joints, and nail polish. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.