Tuesday, January 27, 2015

We were made to live for so much more....

     I wish I kept a better log of the constant changes around here, but it's hard enough to just keep up with the normal necessities of life.  I remember the days of recording firsts and exciting things that the kids did, and I wonder how long it's been since I've written anything on those logs.  Our girl has been home just over four months now, and in many ways it feels like at least a year.  I think part of it is because she was just meant to be here with our family so it feels natural and like she's always been here.  And I think the other major reason is because we have flown through so many stages in this short time.  We really went back to the beginning in many ways.....so many things that were missed out on, even during infancy, were noted....maybe because we have small children and she watched in awe, the way we cared for them...or maybe because she's really just incredibly aware.  But it gave us the priceless opportunity to start at the beginning.....and though she's flown through the stages, quickly catching up to where she would have been, it's been a blessing, and such a huge help in the progress that's been made.  It's a hard balance now, knowing when to expect more and teach more responsibility, while still wanting to give her more of those missed opportunities...to continue to meet some of her needs that she could easily meet on her own and would naturally be expected of most children her age.  I pray that we make the right choices and are approaching everything in a way most beneficial to her....but, the person that she is deep down...the sincerity, and genuine kindness, compassion and love that define her, make me certain that it is not our best efforts that are the reason for the progress we see.

     It's truly one of the hardest things I've ever done....and we've had some really trying weeks....but in just four short months, the difference is almost too hard to believe.  And I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult this is for her....how challenging to learn an entirely new way of life...new expectations.....new language...and the list goes on.  And as she opens up and shares about her past....and as she just is herself, revealing her character, I cannot help but want to shout...We were made to live for so much more!!!! So this was a little hard.....and also a huge blessing that has taught us so much, and shown us even more what we are called to be as Christ followers.  Sure God will ask you to do hard things if you follow Him....but the hard is nothing compared to the blessings....and it's the whole point!  This life is not about us, but it's so easy to make it that way.  I have to remind myself of this constantly!  We sell ourselves short when we live in our little world that we've created....what we would have missed if we had given in to our fears...doubts...and decided our way was better.

     At this moment, I'm sitting in my warm house, watching my sweet daughter shovel and snow blow (the neighbor is so sweet, out there showing her how to use it and letting her!) for our neighbors.  And my eyes are filling up as I consider in amazement how one who has suffered so much could have so much love and compassion for others.  And I assure you it's not because we've taught her all of this in four months.....this is who she is.  She came in to tell me she'd been helping another neighbor shovel....and then in shock told me how they then came and helped her with the end of our driveway (which we had never asked her to do!).  "Me help people, people help me!" she told me.  She then asked to help another neighbor.  I reminded her that if she was cold or tired she should come inside....that she did not have to shovel.  Her response was matter of fact, "I want surprise God!"

     Just this morning I wasn't feeling well so she worked hard to help with the boys and when I finally collapsed on the couch, she helped them make cards for me as a surprise.....and she peeked around the corner to watch them give them to me, thinking I may believe they just did it on their own.  When I thanked her too she asked if I had seen them.  To not even want the credit......  She asked if I wanted tea or coffee....and told me she was praying that God would make me better.  I am forever the student....God teaching me through these sweet children....the least of these.....

     She always notes how different things are amongst people here...."wow, people here say sorry,"  "people no boom boom (punch each other)....talk....say sorry...forgive,"   "people hug."   If she hugged her friend there people laughed.....she was baffled.  She said she loved a friend and soon everyone was talking about it....the teacher yelled at her.....again, she just did not understand!  Two little babies, maybe one year old....hugging and giving each other kisses and everyone acting like it was horrible...."no" she said to me...."so cute!"  She just understood differently.....she got it.....even when everyone and everything around her said the opposite.  And she held onto that love.....and maybe this is why it's so easy for her to give and receive affection.....to crave it and so freely love others.  She has wisdom beyond her years....and well beyond her life experiences thus far.         

    We struggle often with trying to teach our children (and ourselves, who are we kidding) not to have this "me, me, me" mentality.  It's a constant battle, with both extremes very evident in our home.  And it so naturally catches on from oldest to youngest much of the time...so we try also to teach them that they are modeling for their younger sibling.....which sometimes is hard to expect from someone who is learning so very much as it is.  But then we have these moments.....Caleb wouldn't eat the meal he ordered when we went out to dinner.  He's a mini me basically with major food issues, so it wasn't a huge surprise.  But he insisted he would eat it, so we bought it and he wouldn't even try one bite.  He was so upset about it...and she was so distraught.....everyone was not happy and content.  He wanted to eat, but didn't want his food and we weren't buying a second meal, so he was miserable and she did everything she could to change his mood......to make sure everyone was happy.  She succeeded and proudly whispered to me that it was working.  At one point though, it really got me.....she even offered to eat his pasta for him so he could have a different meal.  But she hates pasta....

      I truly believe this is only the beginning of a beautiful story for this girl.  She is strong and wise, compassionate and genuine and so full of love.  I am so very proud of her.....and she is finally starting to believe it herself.  When she first came home, she would often block her ears and shake her head no, refusing to look at us when we would tell her that she was beautiful...smart....a good sister...good daughter...good friend.  That we loved her and God loved her.  And so it became something we said as often as possible, and in time began asking her to repeat after us as she became less and less resistent to the words and began to see the truth about who she is.  And now...four months later she will say those words....."I am beautiful, I am smart, I am a good sister, I am a good daughter, I am a good friend....My family loves me and God loves me."  And she believes it.


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