"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
- James 1:27
Kids collecting Shells
Greetings from Guyana!
I want to thank all our friends and family for the many words of encouragement as we parent our boys and girls here in a challenging place. No one thought this would be easy, but to be honest I didn't know I would have to battle every minute of every day to teach and demonstrate how we love each other in this family and what is right and wrong and ok and not ok, to stand firm and love in the face of ugliness and brokenness and hurt. To teach these boys that each one of them has a role which helps the family. Just like in God's family; He gives us the dignity of a purpose.
As I write this email I am sitting with one of our boys in his room for a "time in", trying to be patient as I wait for him to make a decision. He has told me that he won't try to be kind and is ok if he spends the next three days in his room (even with me), foregoing all the fun things we do each day as a family. We want him to express his willingness to "try the new way again", to show kindness and respect. And so, it looks like I have plenty of time to write an email and reflect on the past few days.
For many years our boys have spent time alone, working through things and we have made a commitment to sitting with them during these times, even as they move from hiding place to hiding place, from behind the stove to the bathroom to the hallway. This happens every day numerous times for each boy and both Jennifer and I have been taking turns, with the same consistent love and resolve to teach this new way that is our family. We will fight with them, not against them. We will be on their team against this world that has been so hard to them.
These boys are unfamiliar with parental love or what it means to be kind to each other or show respect, especially when there may be a cost, like getting food, or water or clothes. They have survived by competing and fighting and have learned to deal with feelings of hurt, loss, and abandonment on their own. These methods have helped them survive in turmoil, through abandonment and neglect, and amidst a constantly changing environment with inconsistent expectations. And this brings us to our struggle; to show love and respect, to teach a new way, to model Christ's love to the broken just has he has shown love to us in our sin and brokenness. And it is hard and it takes patience and grace, in fact so much more than we've got. And so we must ask our King to help us.
I sometimes think of the uncomfortable position we have put ourselves in and how much we love and seek comfort and I am reminded that the love of Christ compels us to do this, to choose to follow Christ in spite of discomfort. It is part of us demonstrating to the world that the treasure we have in Christ is worth so much more than our comfort.
"Every child born into this world is a new thought of God, an ever-fresh and radiant possibility."
Kate Douglas Wiggin