God's quirky sense of humor never ceases to amaze me.
I've been talking with a good "friend" of mine (you know who you are) about an issue I have regarding children who aren't my own. I've admitted to her...and now I'm admitting to all of the people who read my blog that I'm not a lover of children. Don't get me wrong...I ADORE my own children. Just watching my children brings tears to my eyes and there is no way I could ever explain how deeply in love with them I am. It's OTHER peoples children I have the problem with.
Growing up I never wanted to have children. It wasn't until I was dating Jeremy (my husband) and his cousin had a baby that I even considered that I might one day want a baby of my own. I became an auntie when I was 9 years old. My nieces were darling, but when they were in their cutest stages I was at some of my worst (early teens--yuck!), so I never appreciated them...they just got on my nerves...why would I ever want that??
Anyway, I digress. Loving other peoples children has been a very difficult thing for me. I see the flaws in my own children, of course, but my love for them covers many, many imperfections. With other children the flaws stick out like a sore thumb and I don't have that deep love to override the annoyance of these less than perfectly behaved children. It's not that most of the children I've known are any worse than my own...we've definitely had some "fun" issues to deal with, it's just that it's so much more blatant with other children. Perhaps it's that with my own children I see their "issues" as something to work on, habits to change, behavior to mold and for some reason with other children it seems like more of a character flaw. Please, don't get me wrong...I know this is flawed thinking, I'm FAR from perfect I'll be the first to admit.
Okay, so onto the whole point of this--God's sense of humor. We moved into this neighborhood when Abby was 2 months old, Savannah was 19 months old. We were outside and all, but with such small children, interaction with other children was fairly limited...not to mention that our entire block had just been remodeled and we were the first family to move in. Shortly thereafter our neighborhood filled in nicely and all was well--until the interaction began. For anyone who has never seen my neighborhood, let me just tell you: It is a sight to behold. A family must have at least 2 children to live in the homes that make up my neighborhood. There are a TON of children around here. God has put me amidst not just a couple "difficult" children, but a PLETHORA of "difficult" children. It all started with the neighbor whose daughter seemed to delight in making Savannah cry (let me just say, it's not hard to make Savannah cry, she's VERY sensitive). I cannot tell you how many times Savannah came running home in the early years of our residence here crying her little eyes out because Jackie wasn't her friend anymore. *sigh*. Then there was the kid who I would watch pinch Abby (she was just a toddler) and when she would cry he'd comfort her and say "Oh, what's wrong" as if he had no idea what made her cry (he was 7 at the time). We had a little girl who would mouth off to me like you wouldn't believe. I actually had to make her leave my house once because she opened a card and "read" aloud, "Dear Mom, I hate your freakin' guts" (she was 3). There is the boy who called me "STUPID" because I wouldn't let him have candy without his parents permission. Oh the list goes on and on and on. Some of the things have been pretty outrageous and others are just things "normal" kids do...but when you multiply it by 10-15 kids EVERY SINGLE DAY, it's UNREAL! The hitting, biting, screaming, name calling, stealing toys, coming into my house at 6:45am...just to START the list...is just a bit overwhelming to someone who doesn't particularly "like" children! Hahahaha...so tell me, is God funny or what??? Do you think he put me here for a reason??? And the sad thing is that I'm just starting to understand that. My "friend" I've been talking to just opened my eyes to this fact. I need to learn to see children for their hearts, the way Jesus saw them, and the way He wants me to see them. He wants me to see past the behavioral issues and into their little hearts that need His love, His compassion and His salvation. WOW! Afterall, child or adult, who wants to be defined by their worst behaviors?? Not I!
Thank You Lord for this revelation!!
Now the question is: Do I delay learning my lesson so we can stay here for 4 more years?!?! Hahahaha...JUST KIDDING (kind of!)