OK, part two. Click here to read part one.
I’ve spent weeks going back and forth on the direction that I wanted to take part two. Examples of things I’ve seen in Honduras that didn’t go well followed by “and that is why we have chosen this other route.” But instead of telling you all the things we won’t do, let me tell you the things that we do. The essence, the root, the foundation.
We’re the tucking in kind.
We, as humans, like quick fixes. We like three step processes. We like straight and narrow. Our kids are none of these things. And to treat them as such is a great disservice to them, their story, their worth and dignity.
And those of us who are Christians love honoring God by thinking that He will fix everything. It is a mark of maturity and strength when we can leave it in His hands. I beg to differ.
When confronted with the realities of the lives of the kids, it’s easy to think:
- Experienced abuse
- Growing up without a biological family
- Has few consistent, long term relationships
- Feels loneliness, sadness and despair regularly
What can fix this? JESUS
But… Who is really, truly showing the kids what that means? More than sharing Bible stories and teaching snippets. I mean tilling the soil to create the foundation of safety, trust, understanding of love and commitment, in which these seeds can be planted? Answering the real questions about shame and guilt that they have buried so deep inside?
That, my friends, is where we hang out. We’re the fertilizers and mud diggers and soil transplanters. Let me try to paint a picture.
Let’s pretend your six year old child gets lost in the mall for an hour. You were freaked out of your mind. He’s freaked out. He’s clingy and shaky and weepy. What will you do when you get home? You hold him for as long as he wants. Then you let him watch his favorite show while you make his favorite dinner. Then when he goes to bed, you read him extra books, bring all of his stuffed animals for him to snuggle with, tuck him in extra tight, maybe sing a song, kiss him goodnight. Maybe you pray together that he would sleep well and wouldn’t have nightmares and that he would remember that God will protect him. Even with that prayer, you stay until you know he’s not scared anymore.
Do you know what you would not do? Tell your terrified child that he should go pray that God will help him feel safe again. Remind him that God knows how many hairs he has on his head and then pat him on the back.
And yet this is what happens all them time to the thousands and thousands of abandoned, abused, hurting, and confused kids in children’s homes.
Getting lost in a mall would be like spending the day in Disneyland compared to what the kids we love have been through. And I shudder to think of the times that they have been told that God sees everything, that he loves them and has a plan for their lives and that he is the great protector. So…
He prays that him mom will come visit….
….and for the tenth month in a row, she doesn’t.
He prays that the bigger kid in the same room would stop coming to his bed at night….
….and the bigger kid continues the abuse.
He prays that those left in his family will remain safe…
….and then finds out his brother was killed because he wouldn’t pay the ‘tax’ to the gang.
There are no quick fixes to the things our kids have seen, heard and experienced. And Jesus won’t be their bandaid. Some of my best conversations with kids have come from his out of the blue saying ‘there’s no way that God could ever forgive me for all that I did while living on the street.’ This out of the blue conversation came after years of ‘tucking him in’. Of getting to know him, caring about his past, learning about his fears, meeting his family, giving him relationship advice. If I had said “God loves you and will forgive all your sins” when I had first met him, he would have smiled and nodded while thinking “yeah, you clearly don’t understand what I have done”.
Our agenda isn’t and never will be converts. Our agenda is healthy soil and well loved children. And we can be rather feisty about it.
Because we love Jesus and when something is hurting our kids….we cuss a lot.