As I looked at my caller ID, I let out an audible groan. School. Taking a deep breath, I answered. Then came the familiar tale of my son’s struggles in elementary school—not able to focus on his work, spinning in line and constantly moving, being disruptive to the classroom and bothering other kids. Sometimes arguing with the teachers. Not following directions.
Hanging up, I closed my eyes and sighed. Lord, I don’t know what to do. I feel so overwhelmed in trying to do the right things and find the right help. I just don’t know if I can handle this. Are you sure I’m the right one for this job?
Was This a Mistake?
As the parent of an adopted child who has ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), this thought often pops into my mind. I love my son unconditionally but often feel inadequate for many of the challenges we face. So that leads me to question whether I’m really the best mom for him.
My son came to live with us straight from the hospital when he was just two days old. He was a healthy and happy baby, a bright and curious toddler. When he started talking, he often amazed others by his vocabulary (and still does!). He was a high energy boy, always needing to move, needing to touch. But he had problems listening and obeying. So my husband and I became firmer with consequences for not following directions and sought out new ideas for discipline. Yet all the charts, programs, and “obey all the way, right away, and with a joyful heart” suggestions didn’t really change the issue.
What was I doing wrong? It must be me! If I just was more consistent, if I just disciplined more, if I was firmer while also showing unconditional love, then things would improve. As I tried harder, things did get better . . . for a little while. But the overall struggles remained the same.
Finally, I accepted there was something different about my son that was getting in the way of his learning, that was making his peer relationships difficult, that was causing problems at home. And that something, I discovered, was ADHD and SPD.
The journey of finding the right help has been a difficult one, with multiple doctor and therapy appointments, special diets, medications, supplements, changes in parenting strategies. And it’s been filled with sleepless nights, strained relationships, tears, and raised voices.
Through the stress, and because of the unique way my son joined our family, it can be easy to think, I’m not the right person to do all of this. Maybe it was a mistake that I was chosen to raise this boy. Maybe my son would have been better off with another family.
But that’s a lie straight out of the pits of hell.
He Is in Control
Why is that a lie? Because the Bible says over and over again that God is sovereign; He is in control (1 Chron. 29:11–12).
Jeremiah 29:11 holds a special place in my son’s story, as God led my husband and I to this verse and many others throughout the book of Jeremiah, when we named him. It underscored everything we felt about our long struggle with infertility and waiting to adopt—God had a plan, and it was a good one. And while we didn’t necessarily see how things always fit together along the journey, we could trust Him.
So as I read this message of God’s sovereignty woven throughout the pages of Scripture, I have to ask myself, Do I believe all of these verses? If so, then do I think they apply to all other situations but just not this one? Or is He sovereign over this situation with my son, too?
But there’s another lie hidden in the midst of my fears—that this situation is too hard and I can’t do it. Yes, this is hard. And honestly, I can’t do it on my own. But God’s Word reminds me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9) and “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
And it’s not only these two verses that shout out this truth. Throughout God’s Word, we see example after example of God calling someone to a specific task and then equipping them to do it.
Moses didn’t think he was the right man to help lead the Israelites out of slavery. But God worked through him to get the job done.
The prophet Jeremiah thought he was too young and not good enough with words to take God’s message to the Israelites, but God said, “I’ll speak through you.”
David was the last son of Jesse brought before Samuel to be considered for the next king. As “just a shepherd boy,” the youngest and smallest, his dad didn’t think he was even a contender. But God prepared him to be a leader of a nation.
And then there’s Esther, all the disciples, the apostle Paul . . . people who didn’t feel they were up to the job. But God worked through them and accomplished great things. Not to mention all of the craftsmen and artisans God gifted with the exact talents and abilities needed to build His temple to very exact specifications.
If God can do that for these people—these ordinary people—then He can and will do it for me as my son’s mother.
A Truth to Hang On To
We’re several years into this journey now, of helping my son with his differently-wired brain and getting the tools he needs in order to be successful. There have been a lot of pieces to the puzzle—some that have had to be discarded and others that fit perfectly into the overall picture of this unique and wonderful boy.
I may not always think I’m the right person for this job, but here’s the truth: I am. That day over eleven years ago when a baby boy was placed into my arms, God called me to be his mother. God knew exactly what He was doing back then, and He has equipped me (and will continue to do so) with the skills and tools I need to deal with my son’s struggles, to guide him, to encourage him, and to love him.
You may not have an ADHD kiddo, but I’m guessing you have your own situations where you wonder if God has made a mistake. Maybe it’s in your own parenting struggles, your marriage, your job, your role in ministry. Throughout those uncertainties—and any other uncertainties of life—here’s Truth you can hang on to: God doesn’t make mistakes. He knew exactly what He was doing when He called you to that role, and He will equip you to do it.