Monday, March 9, 2015

God's Village

As I think back to the fire and the devastation it caused our family, I am reminded of God's great faithfulness. He used the fire to remind us that we are not the "all in all" for our children or ourselves for that matter. We cannot be everything to everyone including our own families. God allows other people to come into our lives to teach, guide, invest and help along the way. And, we are BEYOND thankful for that.

What I have experienced guilt and shame around is the concept that I cannot be the perfect mother to my kids. I am not always patient or kind or encouraging (ask my kids, they will surely tell you). What I can do is constantly point them back to know Him, to rely on Him and to trust Him. He will never fail them. And I am slowly understanding that He allows the strengths of other people around me to help me raise my kids.

Sidenote...this is not a free pass to allow other people to do my job. I still have to invest almost every waking second into their lives, whether teaching school, driving someone to practice, playing games, cheering them on or praying for them. It is time consuming. It is exhausting. It is good.

So, how do we do that? Most of you know the difficult that adopted children can have with attachment. And it's a pendulum issue. Attachments to family members take a LONG time or are not made at all. Or attachments happen too quickly and are made to the wrong people (the UPS delivery guy instead of dad or the cashier at the grocery store instead of mom)! It's a huge obstacle for families to tackle. And it was one we took very seriously.

So, when our younger kids find someone that they "click" with, it's kinda a big deal. A really big deal. They are certainly attached to us, our families, and our close friends. But other people tend to come and go in their worlds, and they don't attach easily to them. They may see the same people week in and week out but they take a long time to establish trust and a genuine relationship. Another sidenote (because I know how much you like them)....people who visit orphanages really need to be trained in how their behavior affects future families. Because my kiddos got the "white people come for a week to give us presents, play games and leave us" mentality, and it doesn't bode well when they come home.

Well, Zeke Turner exemplifies the child who has few trusting relationships in his life. He loves everybody he meets, but he has an affinity for only a select few. Mr. Dale is one of those people.

I cannot tell you what it is about Mr. Dale except that he loved Zeke first. Zeke adores the ground Dale walks on. When Mr. Dale walks into church every week, Zeke begrudgingly tolerates the time it takes Mrs. Wanda and him to get to their seats. Zeke stares at them as if it is taking an eternity. Music is being sung but he never utters a word. In fact, I think he may be holding his breath. JT has to hold him back until they are settled in. Then, Zeke barrels across the aisle (no son, don't mind the 1500 other people in here who are being distracted by you), dismisses everyone in between Mr. Dale and him, and basically tackles Mr. Dale with a huge hug.

And I cry almost every time. Mainly because I am reminded of a little 3 year old boy in Uganda who wandered the dirt roads of Africa without food and someone to care for him who now leaps over people to get to someone he loves. I recall a distended belly and bare feet that didn't know the embrace of a man in his life that runs to Mr. Dale every single week now. And we are reminded that God has brought people into our kids' lives to show them God's love in a tangible way. Oh how grateful we are for His faithfulness to our children!


Gretchen Butler said...

Oh my word!!!! Absolutely precious! Thanks for sharing! Love this!

Dawn Stephens said...

Sheryl, amen and amen!