God Knows What it’s Like to Relate to Children Who Don’t Know How to Attach

God Knows What it’s Like to Relate to Children Who Don’t Know How to Attach

Okay, let’s get this ugly confession out of the way right now. We need to expose it, let it disgust us, let it bring us low, and then let it deliver us.

We treat our Heavenly Father just like our unattached children sometimes treat us.

Yep, we do.

He gives; we gripe.
He forgives; we fail again.
He embraces; we enter in and just as quickly exit out.
He assures us; we refuse to accept it.
He protects; we protest.
He instructs; we ignore.
He leads; we loiter.

Joshua Fuller

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; …
Isaiah 53:6a (ESV)



Okay, humble pie in the face. It doesn’t taste so good. I’m ready to throw up now.

I want to deny this. I want to excuse it. I want to blame someone else. But truth is, the only way to purge, is to confess it. Cuz it’s the cold, sorry truth.

Oh, Lord, Jesus. I know that sting of rejection. I know that hurt of ingratitude. And I repent.

If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

The Christ of Christmas is the sacrificial lamb on whom

“… the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Isaiah 53:6b (ESV)




The purpose of Christmas is to restore us to the Father.

In recent months, Bob and I have been learning TBRI* principles.

The basic idea (based on years of research and application) is that children “from hard places” never learned to connect with their parents (or primary caregivers). It’s simply a brain development issue that should have happened tens of thousands of times in the first few years of a child’s life.

Note the number of times. Over and over and over and over. A child has a need. The child cries. The caregiver meets the need. Over and over and over. This is how attachment forms.

This is how we also learn to attach to our Heavenly Father. You know it really is okay for us to cry out our need to Him. Over and over and over. It takes a need, a cry, and a consistent Father.

Maybe this is why we can rejoice when we encounter various trials (James 1:2). Because we are learning to depend on God. Our attachment to Him is being established. Wow!

Jesus came to earth to demonstrate what this connection looks like.

You know that utter joy and indescribable contentment you feel when holding a baby close to your heart. You know the same feeling when someone you trust holds you close. That’s an itsy bitsy idea of the type of connection God longs to have with us.

This desire to connect with us in an infinitely deep way is why Jesus came into our world as a babe.

Then He died to make it possible. To make us legally God’s.

The fact that it cost Him his life was nothing compared to what He would gain.

This Father who endures our belligerent resistance, our bitter retorts, our accusations of abandonment, our gross misunderstandings and judgments, knows, that in truth our attachment is building. He knows that soon we will run into His arms, laugh in his presence, rest in His embrace.

Soon we will find our home in Him.


*Trust Based Relational Intervention at the Texas Christian University’s Karyn Purvis Institute Child Development Center

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