Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Just Thinking...

Yesterday was Abby's second trip to the dentist since we've been home. I was hoping that it would be much better than the first when they had to use the 'power washer' on her teeth to get them clean...but that was not to be the case.

Apparently power washing gets the heavy stuff off, but they still need to be scraped with that annoying little torture device, so Abby had to sit through that yesterday. She was not happy but I unashamedly bribed her with a play date today and it worked...she opened her mouth wide and let them get it done. But bless her heart, I felt so bad for her.

I mean think about it... being adopted is supposed to be a HUGE blessing (and in reality, we know it is better that she has a forever family, better medical and dental care, more educational opportunities, etc.,) but from her 6 year old perspective, in the last 8 months she's been to the doctor numerous times...been poked, prodded, given shots, water squirted in her ears (by the pediatrician...not me!!), had her teeth power washed and scraped...she has to go to school, clean her room, help around the house...some blessing from her perspective!

But yesterday, as I was standing in her shoes (in my heart) for a while, it occurred to me that this is alot like it is when you are adopted older, in a spiritual sense (aka...when you become a Christian at an older age, like I did...age 33).

I think many people have this idea that when you become a Christian, everything is going to get better... that somehow Jesus is Mr. Fix It and He'll make your life work. But that's not how it is at all... He goes to work on your heart and it's a long, and often painful, process.

As you start to read your Bible, He pokes and prods at thoughts and attitudes that aren't very Christ-like... Maybe He'll shine His bright light on your selfishness...or critical attitude...maybe He'll tear down some idols in your heart.... it can be very similar to going to the doctor or dentist...it's a cleansing and healing, a sanctification process that is often painful and makes you want to run in the opposite direction... It kind of helps you understand why the Israelites kept wanting to go back to Egypt.

Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

When I first became a Christian, my heart needed some serious power washing...it needed to be scraped and cleaned...and those early years were tough as I learned to trust Him and let Him do His work in my heart.

But I'm so glad I did... After 10 years I know a peace and joy like I've never known. It doesn't mean there's never a problem...there's plenty of them...but I can rest that I am not in this battle alone and I can know for sure that He loves me and will never leave me or forsake me, that He loves me unconditionally and He will forgive me when I mess up (which I frequently do)!

And I'm happy to say that while my heart continues to need daily maintenance and cleansing, it's not nearly as hard as it was in the beginning!

I think I understand a little better now where Abby is coming from and that will make me more empathetic as I walk through things with her that my other children don't even blink at... You see, they were like those who become Christians early in their life...it's what they've known their entire life...so doctor's appointment and dental check-ups are just as natural to life as lessons that God has for them everyday...

What an amazing journey this continues to be!


trina said...

Wow, I never thought of if that way. He is a miracle working, healing God that can change hearts...souls..and lives. Great post!!

laranou said...

Hmmm...even for those of us who have grown up all our lives in the church, there are still tough times. Just like our bio kids, who really wants to clean their room EVER?

Like the parable of the workers who came to the fields at different times of the day, they all had hard work to do for the same pay (ours is a pretty awesome reward though).

As I physically grew my faith had to grow and change. There is still a LOT God is teaching me every day. Lots of poking and prodding. God had to cleanse the same childish ideas of Him as a great gift giver or Mr. Fix-It.

Great thoughts to ponder today!


Anonymous said...

WOW! Love the analogy.
Power washings are tough whether teeth or heart.


April Isaacs said...

Sharla! You are the best writer! Are you working on that devotional book yet? GET STARTED!

I always kind of feel like an idiot when I read your blog and then I look at what I wrote for today.... God wanting to give me a cheeseburger.... there's just no comparison.

Bless Abby's heart! God is definitely giving you the wisdom to understand some things about Abby!


Melissa-Mom to 3 bugs said...

Hey Sharla, I've been lurking on your blogs since you traveled to China with my friend Robin. We were neighbors until my family was relocated to Japan. I have been watching your blog closely because we were waiting on our daughter who turned out to be 5 1/2 when we picked her up last month. Thanks for your openness and honesty, especially about adopting older kids. Today, I received a pointed email from someone about a parenting decision we made and it made me doubt our choice. But, then I read back through your blog history and noted that your timing choice concerning this decision was almost to the DAY the same as ours. Not saying that that's right or wrong, but thanks for encouraging me there. So, from a bonafide lurker, THANKS for revealing yourself, your faith, and your family to strengthen and encourage others. May God richly bless you this week!