Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3, 4 ESV)
We are selfish people. It is part of our human nature. I was listening to a sermon a week ago from our pastor and he was discussing how much work a marriage is because it is the bringing together of two selfish people who now have to look past themselves and care for another. It is the same concept with parenting. And even more so the same concept with the broken hearted child.
I read a good article the other day that touched on the life of a child with reactive attachment disorder. It gave all the scenarios that a child could have gone through and how they respond to positive affections.
The response is typically to push away. And to even react negatively. Our hearts tend to take those actions and respond with rivalry and conceit. This is nothing that we have ever experienced before especially if we have birth children. In our minds we think “this is not normal.” So our actions display a flight or fight type of attitude. Again our thought pattern asks “what kind of child would reject me?” Now our walls build up.
“This child is a Martian child!” You want to scream. But let me ask you this, “Why did you adopt?” Was it for the purpose of satisfying your own personal needs? Was it the right “Christian thing” to do and now you can check it off your list? Did you go in with a “rescue mentality” only now to think that you are the one who needs to be rescued?
Raising a broken hearted child takes humility. It takes looking past out own personal needs and thinking of the other. They can push, but you stay. They can voice hate, but you voice love. They can run, but you chase…
I was reading a story out of the book “Jesus Freaks” this summer about an underground church that was in Romania during a time when it was under Communist control. The small group had one Bible. As they were meeting, the Communist soldiers discovered them. They told each of the believers that all they had to do was to spit on the Bible and they would release them. The first few adults stood up, hanging their heads in shame, spit on the Bible, mumbled forgiveness, and left alive. Then it came time for a young girl who was 16 or 17 years old to take her turn. She looked down at the Bible, took the hem of her skirt and wiped away the spit. She said something along the lines of forgiving the others and that this was the most precious gift. With that, the communist soldier raised a gun to her head and killed her.
This young girl found a strength inside of her to stand up for the truth that she new existed. The Holy Spirit inside of her encouraged her and strengthened her. It is the strength of this young girl that we must have with helping our children to heal. They have been spit upon, beaten, pushed down to the ground, removed from someone else’s sexual sin and lust, taken away from the mighty blow, the verbal abuse, the drug addict…we have to pick them up and wipe it away. The others did not know what they were doing. This child is a special child. He must be picked up and loved on.
“Oh but he rejects me! You don’t know what he does!” Oh but I do! He rejects because he is filled with pain and hurt. It doesn’t just leave because all of a sudden life is pretty in a sweet little house with a white picket fence, and three square meals a day. The pain of the past still exists. Grieving still has to take place. Unconditional love has to be shown and given.
It’s all new. Things that are new take time to adjust. There is no secret formula. Time. God. Love. Humbleness. A determination to pursue the heart despite the blows. Stubbornness. Prayer. Lots more of God. Remember the story of the Little Blue Engine? He carried a load that seemed to heavy for his little self. But he had determination. He had perseverance. He said it over and over to himself…”I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”
We start off that way. But then we get burned out. We lose sight of ourselves and ourselves in Christ. But that Little Blue Engine gained strength as he continued up that huge mountain. He persevered! Paul teaches us about perseverance.
2 Thessalonians 1:4 (NAS):
therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.
The whole idea here is that we would have a steadfastness under pressure and an endurance in the face of trials. It is not ourselves that we lean upon but on God Himself. Keeping our eyes on Jesus and not on that mountain in front of us. Saying over and over to ourselves, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!”
You see this is the fight our children need. The world has already stomped them to death. Hold on just a little longer. You are almost to the top. Oh let me tell you that when you get to the top, you will leap for joy just like the little blue engine. As he got to the top he was able to say…I thought I could…I thought I could. I know you can! Because you have the strength of God in your weakness! It is a time of rejoicing as your child finally decides to step into your arms. Yes, it is difficult. That word doesn’t even begin to explain the journey…but the view from the other side is worth it.
Keeping my eyes fixed Heavenward!