God came down to Earth as a man…..Jesus. He was born, grew up, walked, talk, taught, lived and eventually died among the very people he created. In his humanness, he experienced all that we do…..All the emotions, that we do, all without sin.
As a child, I imagine that he skinned his knee just as my boys are prone to do and cried as his mom kissed the pain away. Or experienced the joy of playing with other children. I bet he felt deep satisfaction as he finished his first carpentry project along side his earthly father, Joseph. Maybe he got seasick on his first fishing adventure. He formed strong relationships with his disciples, ones that brought him the joy of camaraderie and the pain of betrayal. He came to earth to dwell among us, to be fully man all the while fully God. Amazing…
I find it so comforting to know that my Lord and Savior is familiar with life. My life. Not only does he know every hair on my head, when I sleep or when I rise, he has actually walked in my human shoes so to speak. He has felt the hurt that I feel when I am betrayed by a friend and he knows the temptation I feel to do things that would not honor Him. He has been there. Just one of the numerous ways that our God has provided for us. He has given us an example of how to live….our God in the flesh. Fully God and fully man.
Our third son, E, came to us at 11 months about 17 months ago. He left the only home he ever new, with people he had never met, who looked, smelled, and sounded different than he was used to. His world was rocked and in turn ours was too. With this hurting child came issues I never dreamed I would encounter. One minute he wanted me the next minute he pushed me away. He didn’t do the things that the other boys had done at his age and his responses to almost everything were totally different than with my other two children. His in ability to deal with intimacy made it hard for us to bond. My expectations were that he would just become part of the family. That he would feel our love and respond in kind. That he would love having two brothers and that he would just adapt. Sure I had read all the adoption literature that I could get my hands on but they didn’t not teach my heart. As time went on, the situation deteriorated, I got angry and E got more and more distant. I tried all the things that I had done with my older two and didn’t get the same response, but my stubborn heart refused to turn the tables. I wanted him to bend, to become the child that I wanted him to be. To act the way that I told him to act and to respond to me the way I wanted him to, but instead he refused and I refused to bend. We were locked in a stalemate….a face off if you will. Who knew a child could push a grown woman so far.
Just when the situation became almost more than I could bear, I heard a much needed message, from a fellow mom, about being a student of our children and it hit me right between the eyes. I was not reading the E playbook, I was reading the parenting playbook that came with my first two boys and the game this time around was different. Instead of learning about what made E tick, I was stuck in my own expectations, hopes, and dreams about what this adoption would be, what he would be. I was sitting and stewing in my own pain and refusing to see what E had to offer me. What I could learn from him.
As I became a student of my son what I learned began to shape the way I saw him. Instead of stubbornness I saw hurt. I learned that “no” and ‘don’t” were triggers for anger and that simply rewording my commands, to tell him what I wanted him to do, made a huge difference. Instead of putting him in time out in his crib, where he seemed to feel rejected, we put him in time out on the stairs where he could still see us and the anger began to get less and less. I learned that what seems like correction to me feels like rejection to him and that sometimes loving really hurts. Things have not changed over night, but they are better because I am choosing to really see my son for who God made him to be, wounds and all. I know now that it is my job to relate and empathized with my son….to know him. Then to take what I know about him and help him become the man God wants him to be.
God has provided for our children’s needs……through us. As parents we are called to dwell among our children. To walk and talk among them. To teach them. To really see them. To know them. To understand the why behind their actions. To do so means that we must look beyond what we think our children should be and see them for who God has designed them to be. To put aside our expectations for who we had “always” planned them to be and be thankful for what and who they are. Setting an example by the way we live. Just as Christ did for us.