God's Example for Attachment

God’s Example for Attachment

If you think about it, all of creation has been in survival mode since the Fall — trying to meet our own needs, creating our own gods, always chased by a fear of lack. Yet if we examine God’s relationship with us, it always begins with “I Am.” Whatever you need. Wherever you are. Whatever you are going through, I Am. 

God doesn’t begin His relationships with rules and regulations, but with His presence. Relationship must precede rules and boundaries. We don’t send a newborn to bed without his supper because he cries. We don’t correct a new convert when he lets out a string of expletives right after a worship service (or we shouldn’t, at least). By the same token, we shouldn’t punish a child for being unable to self-regulate because he experienced early trauma.

We are born wired for attachment. As the authors of Wounded Children, Healing Homes explain, “Eye-to-eye contact is a critical link that sets the brain toward balanced regulation. The mutual gaze leads to emotional attunement; a deeply satisfying experience of feeling harmonious oneness and completeness, not unlike the peace experienced in the womb. Without the attentive loving gaze and emotional responsiveness of the parent, the infant brain struggles on its own to develop and mature.”

So how did God attach to His first children?

He provided for their physical needs. 

God planted a garden and set man over it: And the Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden [delight]; and there He put the man whom He had formed (framed, constituted). And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight or to be desired—good (suitable, pleasant) for food; the tree of life also in the center of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of [the difference between] good and evil and blessing and calamity.” (Genesis 2:8-9)

He provided human companionship. 

God created Eve as a helpmeet for Adam: “And the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.” (Genesis 2:22)

He offered His presence and a relationship.

God came and walked and talked with them: “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. . .” (Genesis 3:8a)

This was a picture of perfect attachment — secure attachment.

Broken Attachment and the Fall

After the Fall, everything changed.

Adam and Eve were banished from Eden, evicted from the only lifestyle they had ever known. Not only did they lose the presence of God, but they also lost their home and carried the shame of the Fall. 

I’m sure it was beyond stressful. When Eve said, “I have gotten and gained a man with the help of the Lord” (Genesis 4:1), she may have been in survival mode. How do you survive without the presence of God, who walked and talked with you daily? How do you handle life on earth without preternatural gifts? 

Let’s put ourselves in Eve’s place. Evicted. Homeless. Alone. The constant supply of free food is gone. She feels shame. Her husband tills the ground, which brings forth thorns and thistles. She must dress herself and her family. Do you think she may have been depressed? Avoidant? Ambivalent? Checked out? I would have.

We have no written record about the parenting style of Eve, but we can hazard some guesses based on the actions of Cain. (This is not to say that every child who participates in aberrant behavior can blame it on Mom, as Sigmund Freud thought.) Cain was stuck in one of Dreikurs’ mistaken goals (see Chapter 5). For some reason, even though Abel was securely attached, Cain decided he shouldn’t try. 

“The brain is “experience expectant”. That is, it is hard wired to expect certain signals, such as eye contact, kind touch, rocking, loving voice tones, playful interactions, and assistance from others during sickness or distress.” -Deborah Gray, Nurturing Adoptions

When Eve said, “I have gotten a man,” I don’t read a whole lot of excitement there. Do you? I could be wrong, but I picture her being detached herself. It definitely doesn’t sound like secure attachment.

Secure Attachment

So what does secure attachment look like? According to Bowbly, as cited in Nurturing Adoptions, securely attached children believe the following:

• My parents come back. They are reliable.

• I am worth coming back to.

• I can depend on my parents and the people they entrust to educate and spend time with me.

• My feelings are mirrored back to me so that I can process how I feel and how others feel. 

• I want to please my parents most of the time.

• I am rewarded for becoming competent, for my creativity, and for my positive states.

• I can get help with psychologically overwhelming events and feelings.

• My parents will teach me how to cope with problems and how to resolve them.

• Intimacy is enjoyable.

• My needs are routinely met in a timely, sensitive manner.

• Repairs to relationship disruptions are empathic and prompt.

If we ourselves have felt secure attachment, we expect our children to follow that pattern, as well — even if their experiences have been vastly different from ours.We parents tend to expect our newly adopted children to enter the home and quickly develop a secure attachment style. We assume that they know the amount of time and work it took to secure their adoption. 

*This is an excerpt from How to Have Peace When Your Kids Are in Chaos. You can purchase it here.

Want to learn more about attachment? Catch up on the series on the podcast:

How to Assemble a Vision Board

Write down your vision.

I covered this in more detail here. If you missed it, go back and read it first.

Grab a board

This is the simple part. Go to your local craft store and purchase a canvas or poster board.

Find Pictures that represent your vision

You can use Pinterest, magazines, take photos yourself, make some graphics on Canva, or draw your own. The possibilities are endless. Last year, I made some fake book covers on Canva to represent books I planned to write. The actual covers changed and that’s okay. The board is a representation of the work you are going to do. Remember to be flexible and have fun!

Think about what your vision will look like on a daily basis.

Think through your day. Make sure you block out time for your vision. It won’t just magically happen. You must make time for it to happen. This means giving up something else. It may mean giving up something good. There is a myth that everything will be balanced -that you can maintain everything perfectly all the time. You may have to give up having a spotless house for a season while you work on a project. It may be sleep while you get up at 4:30 to write (true story). Maybe we gals have to give up late-night Netflix watching because we need sleep so we can get up in the morning. Maybe kids’ nap time is the time to work on a project. Find time to work on your vision. I guarantee in order for a vision to come to pass, we have to be more intentional about how we spend our time.

My Vision

Years ago, when my eldest was a toddler, hubby and I moved in with my parents in order to stop renting and buy our first home. Most of our belongings stayed in boxes. I had limited space, was living on someone else’s schedule, and had a toddler who recently learned how to flip out of her crib. What did I do? I decided to start writing again. It was my first pursuit of writing as an adult. I didn’t own a computer. I had a typewriter. I set it up in my brother’s drum room and typed while I listened for Audrey who was next door in her room.

I gave up evening TV watching for a long season while I typed away. I felt satisfied, empowered, and productive. And guess what – the circumstances were not ideal. I didn’t have a pretty office. I didn’t have a desk. Nothing I wrote during those eight months was ever published. And yet it was time well spend. The time was profitable. The season reminded me writing is where my passion is parked.

This reminiscing and rambling is a reminder all the work your pour into your vision is profitable in some way. Don’t enter the process of creating a vision board with the idea that you will or should have perfect circumstances. Or the mistaken assumption – I will create a perfect product right away. If this is your frame of mind right now, you may need to do some reframing.

2020 Vision Board

Here’s my completed vision board for the coming year. It’s more of a summation of ideas than actual events. I break down my goals into smaller achievable objectives on paper and a calendar. I have :

  • Typewriters to represent writing more books
  • A computer to represent e-courses
  • A clock to remind me to spend time wisely (I’m using the 5 Second Journal and The Morning Sidekick Journal to help with keeping track).
  • Flowers represent time in my flower garden which is still part of my overall vision
  • Family time is super important – I mentioned some of the activities we do in the article here.
  • I have some house projects represented including some outdoor ones.

2019 Vision Board

This is last year’s board. It’s seems much different than this year’s. Last year, The Whole House had finished up its first year of the podcast, some e-courses, and a live gathering. It had poured so much of my energy into The Whole House. I still will this year, however, I have realized that my room is me. Everything I have to offer is my experience, the way I do things, and the topics God puts on my heart. I guess what I’m trying to say is your vision board is not some way out there idea, it’s not projecting some vision of something that isn’t in your wheelhouse. It’s you.

Want to know more about creating a vision board? Listen to this podcast episode!

Are you looking for a way to plan your goals for 2020? Have you ever tried creating a vision board? A vision board is a great visual to look at your goals on a daily basis. Vision boards can be fun, colorful, creative, and a great group project to do with friends. Why create a vision board? Grab a cup of coffee and join Kathleen and Kristin as they share what a vision board is and three reasons to create one.

Next Steps in Planning Your Vision Board


Yesterday, I talked about Three Reasons to Create a Vision Board, you can read it here. Today I’ll share one of the ways I plan projects and goals.

Create a Document or Paper for each project or goal.

 Break the project down into measurable, attainable objectives with deadlines for each. This is important. If you don’t have deadlines or dates to work on your goals, you probably won’t do it.  You’ll wish you could/would. 

Next thing you know another year has passed since you wanted to get healthy, better that relationship, start the website, make the quilt, etc…

Here’s an example from my own life. 

I’m an empty-nester-ish. I want to continue to spend time with my kids and grandkiddos in creative, intentional, and memory-building ways. *Just a note here – your vision board NEVER have to focus on being Insta-famous. Your vision should be about impacting your sphere of influence which starts with your family. 

Back to my example. Some things I have done (and continue to do) with family and friends. These fit in my family and relationship buckets.

  • Weekly swim days in the summer
  • Apple picking days
  • Fall Harvest and Craft Day
  • Christmas Craft/Cookie Day
  • Camp Lemon-Lime (Family Camp)
  • Joe and Throw (local coffee place) with my daughter to work – typing this there!

When I have these events on the calendar, I break down measurable goals to make them happen. Some are easier than others but all take effort.

Here’s a recent example.

Goal: Christmas Craft/Cookie day

Once I had a date scheduled, I worked out a list.

  • Plan crafts
  • Shop for supplies
  • Choose cookie doughs to prepare and mark recipes
  • Clean cookie cutters
  • Make dough

The list is a lot longer, but you get the picture. I literally write down everything I have to do on a list then I break it down into smaller jobs. After I have smaller jobs written out, I schedule them on the calendar. I used to use my journal (and sometimes randomly write things in there). The problem is I would lose the list and have to search. I’ve been using Trello now. I can make checklists, schedule things for certain days, see what’s next, and use the app on my phone or computer. Kristin uses this too! Maybe this seems like a lot of work to do for something. Consider the alternative, I schedule the day, freak out the evening before, go to the store, make the cookie dough, stay up until midnight trying to find a craft on Pinterest, and scrubbing toilets. I’ve done that before. It’s not fun. I’d rather break things down and do a little at at time.

Does this mean you have to do it this way. Nope. You don’t. You do what fits best with your personality and way of doing things.

These are just ideas. If one of your goals is to spend time with family, you’re going to have to be intentional. Otherwise, you may (like I have on many occasions) end up with a someday mentality. 

  • Someday when I have more time.
  • Someday when my schedule opens up.
  • Someday when I have more people to help me.

Remember the saying – Necessity is the mother of invention. It’s true. If you believe in investing in family relationships is important, you can find a way to make it happen with lots of intention and little or no money. For example if your goal is spend more time with your family -reading books aloud is free. Pop some popcorn. Sit by the fireplace and read. If you want it to happen, you must plan it. 

Rethinking your Vision Board

You may be thinking – wait, I thought this vision board was about starting a ministry/building a business, or some huge idea!

It is. For sure. But everything must be in its place. Like the illustration of adding rocks, gravel, and sand in a jar, to be effective, we must start with the big rocks first – God, family, relationships. If we don’t, everything won’t fit correctly. If you try to build a ministry without having the other aspects in order, it will fail. (This is just a friendly reminder.) 

It is important to be as proactive as possible. The saying – If you fail to plan, you plan to fail is true even or especially when it comes to God, family, and relationships.

Let’s say you have a great plan for spending time with God, family, and friends already in place and you want to move on to starting a business, a podcast, a website, teaching a class, starting a coaching business, hosting  retreat, or fill in the blank -you could focus your whole vision board on one of those.

Remember, your vision board is for your season, your sphere of influence, and your personal habits and goals. No one else’s. Well, no person’s. Like I said yesterday, it needs be be in God’s time and His plan. If you have never asked God to help you plan a goal, then be patient with yourself. Don’t expect to come up with a vision board to save the planet or have a Ted Talk that everyone watches. Your vision board will be a reflection of your authentic self with your personality and giftings shining through, not someone you think you should be. If you’re spending lots of time thinking how others will react to what you want to do, stop. This isn’t about your aunt’s opinion about whether you should write a book, have another baby, paint your house pink, or start a podcast. This is about aligning yourself with God’s will and His purpose for your life. If you want to paint your house pink, that’s not a moral issue, its’ a personality perk – maybe you just like pink. Let me end with this scripture to guide you:

11 And [His gifts to the church were varied and] He Himself appointed some as apostles [special messengers, representatives], some as prophets [who speak a new message from God to the people], some as evangelists [who spread the good news of salvation], and some as pastors and teachers [to shepherd and guide and instruct], 12 [and He did this] to fully equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service, to build up the body of Christ [the church]; 13 until we all reach oneness in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, [growing spiritually] to become a mature believer, reaching to the measure of the fullness of Christ [manifesting His spiritual completeness and exercising our spiritual gifts in unity].

Ephesians 4: 11- 13

Want to hear more about vision boards? Listen to this week’s podcast episode!

Are you looking for a way to plan your goals for 2020? Have you ever tried creating a vision board? A vision board is a great visual to look at your goals on a daily basis. Vision boards can be fun, colorful, creative, and a great group project to do with friends. Why create a vision board?  Grab a cup of coffee and join Kathleen and Kristin as they share what a vision board is and three reasons to create one.

Three Reasons to Create a Vision Board


What is a vision board and how does it work?

vision board is a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal. Literally, a vision board is any sort of board on which you display images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life.

-makeavisionboard.com

A vision board is a great visual to look at your goals on a daily basis. Vision boards can be fun, colorful, creative, and a great group project to do with friends. Why create a vision board?

We need a visible vision to help us achieve our goals. 

Seeing your vision on a daily basis helps you remember it.

“Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Elie. The word of the Lord was rare and precious in those days; there was no frequent or widely spread vision.”

I Samuel 3: 1

Sometimes people think they should just live by the seat of their pants because they think having a vision or plan isn’t spiritual. The attitude, well if it happens it happens usually means nothing is going to happen.  How often do we live reactionary lives instead of lives of action and proactive plans?

Jesus’ final word before the ascension was full of action words (see Matthew 28: 18 -20). Go into all the world. Preach. Publish (I love this one) the good news.

Without a vision, people perish. 

Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained;
But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God].

Proverbs 29: 18

We like to quote the scripture. It sounds cool. Think about it for a minute. Maybe your vision provides disaster relief and you show up after a tornado. You didn’t bring water or medical supplies because you were just winging it. People could really perish in that situation. We need to have a plan. 

The Hebrew word paw-rah’ means “to perish”. Paw-rah’ was the word used in a biblical proverb where a woman’s hair was let flow out of its covering (hairband). Unconstrained in the wind her hair is directionless and blown in all directions.

medium.com

How can you go if you don’t have a plan? 

When my kids were younger, we studied Paul’s missionary journeys. While Paul didn’t have an actual canvas from the local art store with his vision hot glued on it, he didn’t just wander aimlessly either. He had a plan. His plan was inspired by the Holy Spirit and he followed through despite shipwrecks, snakebites, and imprisonment. 

3. God always has a plan.

Another important point – Pray before you plan. Also, don’t give up even when you have obstacles. As I write this, I’m on what was supposed to be a working vacation in the mountains of WV. The plan was I write while my husband fishes. That plan isn’t working out. More likely, God had another plan. My body is finally relaxing. I’m sleeping a lot more here than I do at home. I’m listening to worship music and dancing around like a crazy woman, bingeing on blogs about goal setting and taking notes on them in my favorite way – by hand in a notebook. God is directing my path, it is narrow. I could fight, be stuck and feel frustrated. Or… I can let the oil of the Holy Spirit grease my path so I can slide through easily. Hopefully, I’ll continue to choose the latter. 

In September, I attended Winsome retreat in the mountains of PA at White Sulphur Springs. The retreat was a refreshing time in a gorgeous setting. I connected with some friends and overcame a fear (that’s a story for another time).  What I didn’t do is receive a typewritten answer from the Lord about what my next year’s plan should be. I went to the retreat with an expectation of seeing some writing on the wall. It won’t. What was there was what God knew I needed at the time. Affirmation. Confirmation. And a message – You’re already chosen.

My Point? Don’t force the issue of a plan in YOUR time frame. Pray and wait for God’s time. He’ll show you. 

Turns out, this trip to the mountains is God’s time. So, today, I work on the skeletal plans of my vision and watch “dem dry bones hear the word of the Lord.”

Ready to make your vision board?

Don’t get out the hot glue gun just yet.

  1. Write out your biggest goals for the year. No matter how crazy they sound, do it. 
  2. Check and make sure your goals line up with the Word. Get someone close to bounce your ideas off of, someone who will support you and cheer you on.
  3. Get on Pinterest, Google, magazines, anywhere you can find visuals of your goals.

Still not sure what to put on your goal list?

Here are some suggestions to get you started.

If you’re like me and you like the physical act of writing plus you like to break things down into categories. My husband and I use the bucket method. It’s our bucket list. Each bucket represents an area of our lives. I think my hubby only uses three buckets – God, Family, and Work. He recently added health. I have more buckets – you can have as many as you like. 

For instance, if one of your buckets is homeschooling, you may have goals like – Get Jane reading on a 3rd-grade level. Read ten books allowed each semester. Here’s the key. Your goals need to be trackable, measurable, and flexible.

You can make a bucket for home projects, adult kids, friends – pretty much anything you want to work on.

Keep in mind you can shift gears later and decide which of these are most important. This is an exercise, not something set in stone.

The first year I did a vision board for my new career – writing, I got a little carried away. I decided I would write ten books within the next five years. It has been five years and I have seven books out now which is okay. It’s better to dream big and make progress than not to dream at all. 
Be sure to read tomorrow’s post where I share next steps, and the following day for how I put together my 2020 Vision board and pictures of the process!

Three Tips for Thriving Through This Christmas Season

December is here. 

We’re gearing up for the Christmas season.

Are you worn out already?

Are your kids in meltdown mode?

Are your triggers and your kids triggers causing chaos in your home?

I hear you. I know. It’s hard. Everyone else seems to be having the Pinterest perfect Christmas season. The tree is decorated, cookies made, lights hung outside, and you are just trying to get your child to regulate. I’ve lived there.

When we first brought our four home through adoption, they had never experienced an American Christmas while their new siblings had. Twenty-five days of building up to something was too much stress on their little bodies. Too many new people. Too many new traditions. 

Some Practical Suggestions

Simplify but don’t give up on your traditions.

It’s tempting to give up on traditions because your kiddos are overwhelmed by them. Instead of giving them up, simplify. It’s okay to pare back. Not go to every party. Not go caroling because your kids don’t know what a carol is. Just don’t give up on them altogether. To help my kiddos learn some carols, I bought a book and we sang a Christmas carol every night after our advent reading. Many times the kids were silent or sang “blah blah blah” sorts of sounds to the rhythm. It was okay. They learned carols. They know carols today. The biggest mistake parents tend to make is to give up and give in when kids “Don’t want to” which is code for “I don’t know how to do that” or “I’m scared out of my wits.” 

Involve your kids in the practice of celebrating Christmas.

If you are like I used to be, you want to do everything yourself because it is easier. You decorate the tree. Make the cookies, shoo the kids out of the kitchen because it’s less messy. Don’t. If you want kids to practice the habit of celebration, let them help. Let me rephrase that. Require them to be present and help in some way, even if the kiddos say, “That’s stupid!” One of the issues humans struggle with is doing something they are not competent in. It’s universal. I remember when my kids didn’t know how to hook the bulb and hang it on the tree. Heck, I remember when I didn’t know how. Be patient. These are moments of connection. It’s tempting to say, “You’re doing that all wrong!” or “Just let me do that!” Resist the temptation. Show the kids how to do it. Expect some things to be broken. Expect there to be icing and sprinkles on the floor. It’s okay. It will clean up, sweep up, but broken spirits take longer to heal. 

Don’t expect your kids to understand the real meaning of Christmas. 

Daughter Ania and I hopped into the car after an evening of Christmas shopping at Ikea. Siri decided to send us in circles before putting on the interstate and gave us a three hour drive time for our ninety minute trip. Was that her idea of a joke? Half an hour down the road we hit snow and bumper to bumper traffic. Huge rigs pulled on the side of the road to avoid the slip and slide routine going on with cars. We snailed our way along singing Christmas songs with Pentatonix (we do the sound effects in the background perfectly) and laughing until tears streamed down our cheeks. Oh… Christmas, we love you. We arrived home safe and sound two and a half hours later, tired, and happy. How did you know Siri?


Or better yet, did Mary know? (Mom joke). Really, what does this have to do with kids knowing the meaning of Christmas? Lots.

You see, we sometimes over-spiritualize Christmas. Do you hear me serious sister?  As Moms, we are constantly reminding ourselves of the true meaning of Christmas and in a parallel universe, checking off a to do list like a maniac:

  • 
WRAP PRESENTS ☑

  • ORDER LAST MINUTE FROM AMAZON ☑
  • 
MAKE PIE ☑

  • RUN OUT FOR STOCKING STUFFERS ☑

  • CLEAN☑


And when our children ask for time, tire from activities, walk around in sugar comas and meltdown, we Moms despair of our kids ever understanding the true meaning of Christmas.  When the kids play with the plastic nativity scene and have Mary duke it out with Joseph, and the wisemen, we may wonder if they will ever “get it.”

Do we get Christmas?


BUT- AND THIS IS A BIG BUT…..
Do we get it?


If we do and we live consistently, acting on that belief, then they WILL get it. It won’t be a shopping trip to IKEA and driving home in snow. It will be Christmas.

How many of us don’t really meditate on the real meaning of Christmas every moment of the Advent season? How often do we get sidetracked into buying the perfect gift, keeping up with the neighbors and their extravagant Christmas decorations. We run out and buy more. Scour Pinterest and Instagram for the perfect table setting (guilty and fun!) It’s okay. We’re human. As long as we don’t overspend or make those things idols. The point is, all of our practices are confusing to kiddos, especially ones who have never celebrated Christmas the way we have. We each have Christmas ideals. We want kids to be thankful that Jesus left his place in heaven to born a baby. What does that mean to them and how often do we emulate our inner ideal? 

This is not a guilt or condemnation fest. It’s just a reminder that even if we know the true meaning of Christmas, we don’t always show it in outward ways. We practice traditions, ceremonies, and read Advent readings that have a deep meaning for us. Our kiddos don’t have the same deep meaning for things yet. It’s okay. Don’t stress over it. 

Christmas isn’t a day, well…..it is, a day we Christians picked to celebrate the birth of our Savior. I won’t get into all the theology. Christmas is a belief that God came to earth as a human babe. He left his throne and God-form to set up His kingdom on earth, not for a day- but for eternity.

When we live in accordance with that kingdom-

But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.

-Matthew 6:33

When we live with this in mind and action, knowing He works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will.

God sent His son to checkmate satan, to turn the tide in the game, to take us from the course and fashion of this world, take control back from the prince of the power of the air and establish His kingdom in our hearts and on the earth.

Kids aren’t going to respect Christmas because we put up a tree or purchased the perfect presents.

They aren’t going to act like angelic beings because we celebrate some man made traditions. However, they are going to watch us. If our actions are consistent with our beliefs, they will get it.

Just don’t expect them to float around singing the Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus unless you are!

Your children will get it, if you live it. It is a process. It takes time. You weren’t born with wisdom and understanding. Neither are they. We understand in part. They understand in bits. Wait for it.

I hope these tips help you thrive this Christmas season. How would you like a tip for each day of the Advent season? Grab a copy of:


Available at:

Alibris
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million

25 Days of Thriving Through Christmas: An Advent Devotional for Adoptive and Foster Families, provides an insightful, practical and encouraging resource for parents navigating the advent season. The book fills a void for adoptive and foster families as to ideas and guidance of not just surviving the Christmas season with children who have come from different backgrounds/experiences but to “thriving” during the season. With applicable daily Scripture readings to practical suggestions, this tool for helping families will become an annual tradition!

After you grab your copy, make sure to sign up for the free e-course to accompany the book! Click on the photo to see the course and watch the video explaining the course.