Sunday, September 7, 2008

Going Backwards to Move Forward... (2-fer, # 1)

Today is a '2-fer' day... (2 posts on the same day!)

The last week has been very interesting with Abby... I've read in older child adoption how important it is to 're-create' some of the things you missed with them as small children...cuddling, rocking, possibly feeding them, etc...any nurturing thing you would have done for an infant, you want to try and do as much as possible for an older child.

I don't fully understand how the mind and heart work, but I trust the experience of others, and in a way, it seems logical to me... Abby never got to experience the love and care that we offered to our own children, those early days when they learn to trust you, that you will care for their EVERY need, not just their physical ones. So I've been a little frustrated, trying to figure out how to do that for a child who is so independent, who has learned so well to be self-sufficient and do those things for herself.

I should have known to just trust God to take care of it, instead of worrying about it. One night last week, Abby came downstairs and showed me the old animal blanket that Mackenzie had given to her. They were Mackenzie's when she was a baby so they were pretty worn and itchy! Thanks to a Yahoo Group that I read, AOK2, I grasped the opportunity to ask her, "Would you like for me to show you how I used to hold Mackenzie and what she did with her blanket?"

Amazingly enough, she said yes... So I took her in my arms like a baby and showed her how I would hold Mackenzie and how she would rub the satin against her cheek. Curious to see what would happen at bedtime, I was surprised when Abby carefully placed both of the old blankets in her bed and covered them up with her! Up until now, she has had no real interest in sleeping with anything...

The next day, after school, I asked her if she would like to go and pick out a new one, that was soft (and clean!)...and she was so excited! She picked out the prettiest white kitty (I know, I was really hoping for the gold lion or tan monkey that would hide dirt) but she wanted the kitty, so that's what we got! She sleeps with it and she even took it to church with her today.

Later that day, we were baking a pound cake and from time to time Abby would lick her fingers...the next thing I knew she was sucking her thumb. I thought it was a game, but the thumb sucking has continued ever since... We are definitely moving backwards!

But in all of this, she has also become more clingy, wanting to be held and carried, wanting more help with things (things that I know she can do on her own, because she's been doing them from the start)...things that should have been done for her as a baby, and most likely they weren' heartbreaking. So, we will go backwards with her and follow her lead in moving forward.

And God is really using this as a magnifying glass to my heart... Yesterday, the girls (Abby, Mackenzie and I) went to the Super Target to grocery shop and the next thing I knew, Abby's thumb was in her mouth. I cringed inwardly...what will people think to see a 6 year old sucking her thumb...but then God gently reminded me..."this is about her, her highest good...who cares what people think". And so we went...

But here's the other thing...what is happening with Abby is, in many ways, occurring in my own spiritual life... God seems to be taking me backwards. Over and over He has brought the phrase to mind, "go back to the basics." You see, it's been a rough and far too busy few years, somehow I lost my focus on Him, I lost the sweetness of my relationship with Him...too many times it was about the "in order to" get through the next lecture for CBS, to get my kids through a rough ______ (whatever was plaguing my life). But the joy of that relationship had gone missing...

In China though, God rekindled that flame and my passion to be in a close relationship with Him, just because I love Him! But how do you go back? By going back to the basics...for me, it's time alone with Him...a verse each day to meditate on...journaling a prayer to Him about the verse...learning to rely on Him again for EVERYTHING!

In Matthew 18:3, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Like Abby, we must learn to go backwards so that we can move forward... Little children come in faith and trust, in total humility they recognize their need for the love, care, protection, nurturing, provision of their parents. But as children of God, we need to humble ourselves in the same way...we need to lay down our chains of independence, self-sufficiency, arrogance and pride and humble ourselves before God, who loves us so much.

Why do I call them chains of independence, self-sufficiency, etc...because they bind to us a life that is full of striving, worry, and emptiness and they keep us from a life of freedom and joy, the abundant life!

Abby is changing...she is moving from a self-sufficient 6 year old to a child that is able to freely give herself to the love and care of her family...she is beginning to taste the life of a child that is loved by her forever family. Likewise, if we ever hope to know true joy, peace, satisfication...the abundant life that Jesus came to give us...we too must go backwards to move forward!

1 comment:

trina said... sweet. I can imagine her sucking her thumb and looking up at you with those pretty eyes.