Welcome back to the Broken Crayons Still Color podcast! I’m your host, Shelley Hitz and today’s guest is Brenda Love.
Brenda has known rejection throughout her life. She has never had anyone stand beside her and fight for her no matter what the cause. In 2007, Brenda and her 4 adopted children fleed from an abusive husband and father. In 2011, one child was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder. Again, Brenda found herself all alone during the lowest point of her life. Like most mothers, her focus was not on herself, but rather on her children. All of them. Even the one child that was rejecting his mothers love. A love that he desparately needed but could not accept. It was during this season that Brenda totally had to surrender everything to God in ways, that she had never experienced before.
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SHELLEY. Welcome back to the Broken Crayons Still Color podcast! I’m your host, Shelley Hitz and today’s guest is Brenda Love. Hi! Brenda.
BRENDA. Hi! There Shelley how are you?
SHELLEY. I am doing great and I’m so grateful that you are coming on today and sharing your story. And before we jump in I just want to share with our listeners a little bit of your story.
Brenda has known rejection throughout her life, she has never had anyone stand beside her and fight for her no matter what the cost. In 2007 she and her 4 adopted children fled from an abusive husband and father. In 2011 one child was diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder again Brenda found herself all alone during the lowest point of her life and like most mothers her focus was not on herself but rather on her children – I’m sure many of you can relate to that, all of them even the one child that was rejecting his mother’s love, a love that he desperately needed but could not accept.
It was during this season that Brenda totally had to surrender everything to God in His ways and she has – in ways that she had never experience before. So Brenda I’ve met you in person I heard your story I know its powerful but you know let’s just start off with sharing a little bit like what the broken pieces looked like in your life.
BRENDA. Well the broken pieces – of rejection came and the lowest point was in 2011 when my son was diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder and I was base while trying to protect off where my children at the same time. It was really difficult to do because one was rejecting that and I needed to keep them safe from each other and him safe from himself.
SHELLEY. Just for one minute I’m just going to interrupt just for one minute for our listeners that don’t understand what reactive attachment disorder is coz’ I didn’t before I met you (LOL) to be honest. Could you explain just a little more of what that looks like so they can understand why this was a low point for you.
BRENDA. Yes, thank you. Reactive Attachment Disorder is something that happens to children that are traumatized it can be from the birth, it can be actually a child that is birth to its natural parents and race but perhaps that child has spent sometime in a NIC unit and they did not have that love and nurturing from a kid whether it’s the biological parent or not. In my case my 4 children were in orphanages and its very very likely that, well statistic say that 75% of the kids adopted out of an orphanage will have reactive attachment disorder.
BRENDA. I adopted 4 only 1 had a reactive attachment disorder so I was very blessed in that but they tend to fight out against the caregiver because that’s the person that is replacing the one that wasn’t there.
SHELLEY. Oh yeah
BRENDA. You know they tend to not trust because they don’t – they tend not to trust because they know not to trust. Okay, that’s how they were raise they were slept in orphanage beds just to sit and cry and no one was there to feed them, to nurture them, to love them, to kiss them.
BRENDA. So, and my son was diagnosed, he was acting out in horrible ways and it was a battle going on within his heart that needed to be fought.
SHELLEY. And what kind of ways was he acting out?
BRENDA. He was acting out sexually, violently, just anything to get attention – harming himself was a huge thing, a lot of self harm even when he was in restrictive nurse he was continuing to harm himself and do things that were totally wrong and has left scars now on his body. So he was just kind of like a little wild dog that has been cage it out and now he’s trying to stand up for himself and to fight for himself because that’s all he knew at a young age. Even though at the time he came to my home as my son he was 7 and at this time he was in his early teens but still hormones kick in and he needed to – in his mind he needed to take care of himself. He was rejecting all kinds of parental or teacher guidance etc.
SHELLEY. Yeah, so he was being violent and harming himself but sometimes he would also be violent against you and your kids and your other children?
SHELLEY. So you know how did that affect your family dynamic with this one person that was just trying to figure out life and but yet reacting in so many different ways that were hurtful to so many?
BRENDA. Our home is definitely fear-filled, definitely fear-filled. They knew they loved their brother and as well as I knew I loved my son but at the same time there was that fear because you didn’t know what was going to happen next. And even after he went into some stress centers which was because of self harm, more and more things came to light that had been happening to our home.
So I realized he needed a lot more care than what a stress center can give him and unfortunately even while he was in a stress center one of the male nurses invited my son to move in with him.
SHELLEY. Oh wow
BRENDA. And so then once he was release from the stress center then I also had that battle to take on because this man knew where he lived, he knew where he went to school, my son had his phone number, he had my son’s all his pertinent information and I think my son he hasn’t admitted to this yet but I believe he was terrified of that situation as well inside because he only released the man’s phone number to a police officer and not to me. But at that time, we were leaving one hospital going to another and the song from that hamlet king, Caleb all of me about his baby boy Boaz.
SHELLEY. Oh wow
BRENDA. And if I may just quickly “you’re going to have all of me, going to have all of me coz’ you are worth every fallen tear you are worth every facing any fear you’re going to know all my love even if its not enough – enough to mend our broken hearts giving you all of me is where all start.” And when that song came on I really to be honest with you – coz’ this is going to sound terrible but people in my shoes understand this is going want to brought at height and just say, you know just take him – just take him and someone fix him because I had all these other you know I had other kids at home that also needed some healing from this. And when this song came on God was like you can’t give up on him – you can’t give up on him, he’s never had anyone to stand and fight for him and went to hold him when he is sad even though he is rejecting this now he needs you to be there for him- and that was my turning point. And, at that point in time I knew that no matter what the future held I had to fight to the kneel so that my son will get the medical attention that he needed and unfortunately there was not – facilities close by that can give him the kind of help that he needed that he desperately desired.
SHELLEY. Yeah, wow! I had to hold back the tears (LOL) its so powerful and yet – you know the reality is that you know its not easy and you know you’d had to walk through a lot as a result you know just the broken pieces that have been left behind with your other kids and with him and you know what would you say has been a scripture that has really encouraged you during this time?
BRENDA. There have been several, right after that we ended up in court so the biggest thing was persecution against myself for doing what was right and the Lord has kept bringing to my “blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness” and I was doing the right thing by you know following James 1:27 you know looking after the orphans in the world and that was my call upon my life and this was no longer an orphans was my son and I had to do what was right.
And so “persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed” that was the huge one that I claimed every everyday because of doing what I needed to do to fight the system to get my son the medical help he needed so much persecution came my way. Not just through the judicial system but through family members and people that didn’t really know our family at all. I had no idea what was going on here, had no idea how much I loved and prayed for my son on a daily basis and I had to realized it wasn’t about me it was about my son and no matter what was said about me God made the truth and he would not destroy me.
SHELLEY. Amen. What the reference to that verse?
SHELLEY. Yeah, I know somebody needed to hear that today. Say that again persecuted but.
BRENDA. “Persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed.”
SHELLEY. Yeah, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed and I know a lot of you that are listening are going through hard times now you may not be going through the exactly what Brenda went through but some of you may have children that have reactive attachment disorder (LOL) tongue twister or you may just have children that are acting out and Brenda what advise or encouragement do you have for parents that are going through just a really dark season with their children?
BRENDA. To look past the behavior to a heart, its definitely a heart issue. It’s a heart issue, the behavior is just a symptom of what’s in the heart.
SHELLEY. Yeah, I just got chills (LOL) because you know it is, its so easy to focus on the behavior. Its so easy to focus on that and yet to look past that into their heart and to choose to love, you know you chosen you know to stay there and to stick it out and to love and there been some hard choices and I mean we could talk for hours I’m sure about everything you’ve been through (LOL) – but yeah, I love that.
Now if somebody really resonate with your story and would love to just connect more or you know talk with you more maybe than you know just connect with you in some way, how can they connect with you online?
BRENDA. They can connect with me at www.brendalovecoaching,com it is my website currently today its under constructions for a few more days probably. My email is email@example.com again that’s firstname.lastname@example.org and I also for parents of children that are orphaned or that have reactive attachment disorder or trauma PTSD, I am the founder of a community of parents with reactive attachment disorder and trauma it will be launching that out in February and its really excited about what the Lord’s doing with that.
SHELLEY. Wow! You know its such a needed thing because I think so many of the parents just feel alone, I don’t know did you feel that way many times during your struggle?
BRENDA. Totally isolated and so many times, Shelley I would just pray pray and pray and I got to the point where I had no words and I remember one night December of 2011 my daughter came in and she said mommy need to be quiet because I can’t sleep and I said excuse me because you’re wailing, you were just wailing and I had never heard that term come out of her before and I realized right there it was the holy spirit just praying through me coz’ I had no words that’s how isolated I was and desolate.
SHELLEY. Yes, and you know now you’re able to take the brokenness that’s been in your life and God is creating a masterpiece by using you to help others in that same situation to not be alone, to have a community, to have hope and to offer resources and real help to them so I’m about ready to cry (LOL).
SHELLEY. But it’s just so awesome and you know your story is truly another example of how God can turn our messes into masterpieces.
BRENDA. Most definitely, most definitely.
SHELLEY. And you know I always have everyone close out the show just sharing how God has shared has created a masterpiece within them so thank you so much for being on this podcast for sharing with us and are you able today to say that God has created a masterpiece in you?
BRENDA. Most definitely. First of all thank you for giving me this opportunity but yes I had been a mess but now I am His masterpiece.
SHELLEY. Amen. And I just pray that each of you listening was encouraged that you were just inspired and reach out to Brenda, you know if you are someone you know were on a similar situation definitely reach out to her because you don’t have to go through this alone, there is hope and there is help and that is in Christ but there is also a community.
And I heard I think it was Larry Crab one time say that we’re healed in community and you know if we were just truly being able to be in community we wouldn’t really need as much of the counselling and of the other things because community can really be a place of healing and I really believe that’s what God is going to do and the community that you are creating so I’m excited for that and thank you for joining us today.
And those of you that are listening, if you are someone you know has a powerful story to share I would love to have you on the podcast you can apply to be featured at my website at shelleyhitz.com/story and we’ll see you next time bye!
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