His Mercy

"His Mercies Are New Every Morning"

A Thought

In this life we can not always do great things. But we can do small things with great love.." :) Mother Teresa

Prayer Quote

“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis


I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Nurturing - Unconditional - Love

What is love anyway?  Why do we love?  How do we show our love to our children who have come from very difficult circumstances?   And how do we explain the unexplainable?  The "We love you. You are our daughter  (or son), even though you were a stranger and not born to us."  "We love you just as if you were!"  "There is no difference!" "We love you just because you are YOU!" :)

How do you explain that?  How do you live it?  Is it superficial or based upon some obligatory code?
Or is it something much deeper?

In English, we only have one word for love.  LOVE.  But there are many different kinds of love.  There is friendly, compassionate, passionate, romantic, and then the kind of love where you give up your life for another.  That kind of love is called Agape.  It is perfect.
1st Corinthians, which I have mentioned many times on my blog describes this kind of love in chapter 13:4: Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[a] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Certainly, nobody on this side of heaven loves "perfectly".    But we have been given the best example of love, the perfect representation of true LOVE, in Christ Jesus.

The other part of this scripture, the beginning part suggests that we can "DO" things, that seeminly would be "loving", without love!
1 Corinthians chapter  13 : 1-3If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing. I like the foot note here because it gives a good sense of what the meaning is:  One can do something for the "bragging rights".....
What motivates those in the adoption community to adopt?  Many different reasons of course!  Because not all people are the same! Scripture is clear in many places:  You can be doing a seemingly "right" thing, for all of the wrong reasons.
At the same time, God can take a mess and turn it into a miracle! :) He is in the habit of doing just that!

The only person that can truly answer the questions above are those who have chosen to adopt.  And nobody should ever judge another person's motive.  But all of us should be introspective!
Some may find themselves overwhelmed with the unexpected. Some may have read and read and read, but once the adoption has taken place, realize there are many tools that they need that they just do not have.  
And you know what?  None of these scenarios are bad.  They are all real!
But what you do with the knowledge that things are harder than you thought, or that the situation is much different than you expected, or finding  yourself struggling to love, can bring about clear, honest, self-discovery.
Don't like what you see?  
Ask the Lord for help!
Love is a GIFT from the Lord, as is peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control!  These are all gifts, or "fruits" that God gives to us.

One thing is for sure.  Adoption will stretch you.  It will cause you to grow! But it might tear you up and spit you out a bit, causing you to rethink all of your motives, beliefs, ideas, and even your ability to parent!

Adoption cannot be entered into lightly.  It cannot be seen as a 5 year, 10 year or 18 year commitment.  It is a lifetime commitment to love another person.

Love is a choice.  Nurturing love is a dedicated laying down of your own life, dying to self, for another; not grudginly, but with great compassion.  And honestly, I believe that is the kind of love we must have for our children.

If you do all things "right".... all the right therapies, all the right education, giving of gifts, parties, material things, but don't work on the real relationship, it is like that  clanging symbol.  It falls flat.  There is no substance.

Our children don't need stuffmart.  They don't need parties and cars.... They need US.  They need our unconditional, permanent, real, genuine love.
They need our nurturing hand that reaches their heart and says, "Yes! You are loved!"  "You are cherished!" 
Oh people! They need to feel "cherished"!
And we need to speak this to them often! Yes, even our teens!

And especially, ESPECIALLY when they make mistakes.  This love must be given and flow freely from our hearts, even when they reject it; especially when they reject it.  And as our kids process the things that have happened to them, they will go through times of analysis... "Why do you love me?"  "Why did you adopt me?"  
These times are great opportunities to build deeper relationship and nurture further. Our older children, need our loving arms, our gentle touch, our soothing, comforting voice of acceptance and genuine love.  Many of them have deep shame, or are so fragile, they can only love many times on the "surface".  The deep committed love of a family scares them to death, because of past hurts.  Some of these hurts will take a life time to make sense of.  We can do our children a huge favor by not adding to their trauma in our own selfishness.

Love cannot, must not, be conditional!  "I love you if you respond how I want you to!" "I love you when you are grateful!"  "I love you because you love me and do as I say."  Other than that.... forget it!

This is NOT love.  And I am so very thankful that we have clarity in scripture that reveals to us what real love looks like.

As parents to teenagers who have had serious trauma backgrounds, such joy is brought into our hearts as we continue to see them flourish!  
Those little hearts have opened up, and each day they open more. 
Trust that is based upon truth, and a knowledge that we will not give up, ever, has driven them to new heights of genuine reciprocal love and an understanding and meaning to their own lives.  There is purpose! There is hope in the future! Yes things were hard! Yes there was rejection! But there is the other side of that. Faith, hope and LOVE!
True love, never gives up.  Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever ever!  
True love hopes.  True love faithfully keeps the doors of communication open and is always willing to forgive.  True love does not hold grudges; there is no room or time for them.
True love rejoices when our children are doing well, even if they were not doing well before.  True love finds a way to nurture at every given opportunity!  

If you are thinking about adopting; know that it will cost you everything.  EVERYTHING; but you will lose nothing.  Once you walk through the door, do not look back! You will gain everything if you walk the path of Love :)


MamaV said...

This made me cry. Thank you. We are looking forward to being refined through bringing another child into our home.

Christie M said...

Mama V....I am excited for your upcoming adoption!

Anonymous said...

This is such a powerful post. Your thoughts on unconditional love have influenced how I think about all relationships, including with strangers, and I thank you for that. And it has contributed to changed ways of thinking and acting about what I perceive as wrong, for me. The parts that particularly resonate are the facts that love is indeed a choice, not a 'normal' choice, but a super normal one that can only be made in God.

So glad I found your blog about a year or so ago:)


Christie M said...

One of the reasons I write, is to share what I have learned in order to help others.
You made my day. :)
BTW- I went over to visit your blog. Very nice.

Annie said...

You said it..... So true. I think this was how God chose for me to grow in love. I'm not perfect, but see that I am so much better than I was at sacrificing self happily.

Dawn said...

SO needed to be reminded of this today. Thank-you.

Sherrie Coffey said...

Very good and very true! God has taught me a lot about myself and how I need to change through my girls. Jesus is teaching me to love as He does. Sherrie

Aus said...

You really got it with this one - adoption will cost you everything - but you will loose nothing! In many ways our adoptions have cost us our extended family - but when I see our kids know joy - and love - and acceptance - and peace - I feel I've really lost nothing. The pain is real - but the loss - not.

Thanks - I REALLY needed this today!

hugs - aus and co.

You Are Still Holy