Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Getting Off The Train Track...

There are times in the adoption journey, when everything feels so fragile…last night was one of those times. It was a crazy evening, I didn’t feel good so I wasn’t on top of things, I had a really hard lecture to give today, Zack had soccer practice and Scott had a deacon’s meeting… Dinner was kind of a free-for-all. I had actually planned ahead on Sunday night and made enough for left-overs, so I knew the older ones would be fine…

When it came time to eat though, Abby wasn’t hungry, so I thought, “ok..later”. Later came and went and I couldn’t get her to eat. Finally, about 7:45, I told her 30 minutes to bed time, so she needed to eat, “Abby not hungry!” (She won’t use personal pronouns for some reason.) Thinking that she was like my others who went through stages like this when they were younger, I took her at her word and figured, she really wasn’t hungry.

But then bedtime came and she looked at me and said, “But Abby not eat!” Yeah…haven’t we been having this conversation all evening?! Now remember, I really didn’t feel good and I was frazzled, so patience wasn’t my long suit for the evening.

And I was automatically thrown to do what I would have done with our biological children, send them to bed without dinner, they won’t starve after all. BUT, thankfully that still small voice that whispers thoughts in my heart that are so vastly different than what I’m thinking at the time, nudged me and said, “You can NOT send a child to bed hungry that has gone to bed hungry before!” DUH Sharla!!

Sometimes I feel like I’m on a train track…I respond to situations without thinking, almost as if by rote. But adoption changes that completely! These precious children have lived such different lives than our biological children. I so get that with my head, but putting it into practice in every situation can be so challenging…. It requires a very conscious, intentional parenting… It requires that I get off the train tracks.

But it makes me wonder…what would all of my life be like if I got off the train tracks? What if I started making conscious, intentional decisions in every single area of my life, even in the day to day details, like how I discipline our children…in what I ate…or in how I spend money…or my time? What if I stop letting life just carry me along? I bet some things would be different!

Thankfully I was aware enough to hear the gentle whisper and I got off the train track that was on its way to becoming a train wreck! I fed her toast and a banana and she was happy! But afterwards, I have to say, it felt like it a narrow miss…this process does feel so fragile right now. I know God is big enough to cover my mistakes, but He doesn’t always take away the consequences…I think a mistake like that would have set us back in our relationship and we have made so much progress.

It definitely showed me how differently things can turn out when I get off my everyday train track to nowhere! This morning, she got right up and when it was time for breakfast we had a fun giggle that she was eating toast and a banana again! It was one of those, “just you and me” moments…no one else would have appreciated what we were giggling about…and that turned in to a sweet, unexpected moment of bonding!


April Isaacs said...

Sharla!! That was so beautiful!!! When are you going to write a devotional book? I can provide some comic relief:-)

I think about being more intentional often- same thing I think you were saying. It's so hard though. It seems like life is like the beach... just when you get going- a giant wave comes along and knocks you down and drags you around a little bit. Then, you forget about being intentional until the next time your intentional. Does that make any sense at all? If it doesn't maybe it's because I can barely swallow, my lymph nodes are extremely swollen and I have a pocket of pus in the back of my throat. Sounds lovely, huh Oh, and my body feels like a MAC truck hit it!

But, this is not about me. Sorry!

I am so glad the Lord spoke to you and you fed Abby last night. Probably another unconscious way Abby used to test your devotion and love for her. You past with flying colors!!

Smiles... if I gave you a hug right now, you might get my germs:-),

Shari U said...

Sharla, I just stumbled across your blog and this post really touched me. Like you, my husband and I have 3 biological children and in 2003 we went to China and adopted our precious Abby who will turn 6 this month. She was only 10 months old when we got her, but she was clearly traumatized and terrified. We've worked very hard on getting her "up to speed" and she's turned into a very happy little kindergarten student. I am so thankful I wasn't led to adopt when I was a younger mom. I truly feel it was all in God's perfect timing because I just didn't have enough patience when my big kids were smaller. There are so many things with Abby that I have to do differently from what I would have done previously. One of my other children commented on this recently and I responded that for his entire life, I have known where he was each and every day and he has been loved and cared for and has been warm and fed on each of those days. For my little Abby, I don't have the benefit of knowing where and how she spent her time and because of that, she MUST be given special consideration when it's called for. Thank you for this post and what a wonderful mom you are for recognizing that your little girl needed to go to bed with a full tummy.