Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Affections Stirred

A while back, it was an average day spending the night with my sister, when she asked me if I wanted to come with her to babysit the Deutsch kids. My first reaction-absolutely not.
SEVEN kids. SEVEN. Me? With seven kinds? Seriously? Come on.
Alyssa glances over and adds in, "I'll pay you half."
Crap. I need money. Photo stuff isn't going well...and it'd really just be nice to have a bit of money...
My mind started going through the pros and cons. And I kept coming back to saying no.
But I kinda needed a bit of money...
"Just try it once. Really, it's not as bad as you think it is. Just once. And if you hate it, you never have to come again," Lou said.
"Fine," I grumbled.

When it was time to go, we drove out there. What seemed like literally forever from even MY house, we got there. And I was starting to regret my coming. I mean...if you know anything about me-I'm really not good with kids. I've even gone far enough to say that I hate them a few (more like about a hundred million) times. And I was about to walk into a lion's den of children. (Yes, I really did compare children the ages of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 to lions.)
We got there, and all of the kids stood at the door waiting for us. They were so excited Alyssa was back, and that she had brought someone new (me) with her. And my heart just melted at the sight of recently adopted Flint and Meadow with smiles from ear to ear. And I went in, and found the tiny Miss Clover, with a blanket up to her face and bed head like you've never seen. And the walls of my heart tore down. I couldn't help but fall in love when their teeny hands grabbed onto mine, and showed me around to each room, and proudly showed me which bed was theirs.

Let me pause this story, and go back a decade or so to when I was real little.
Ever since I was probably the age of comprehension, I've wanted to be a Mom. Whenever someone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, into the 6th grade, my answer would be, "A Mom!". I was still asking for dolls for Christmas, when the other girls my age were getting much bigger and better, "grown-up" things. My Mom always tells stories of when Zach was just born (Before I was even 2...) I would get real nervous when he would start crying. And I would beg my Mom to hold him, comfort him, something to get those sad drops of water to stop coming from his eyes.
Every single time I see a baby, my heart smiles from the deepest to the most shallow places. It literally swells in my chest, and I feel like I can't breathe. And I get a stupid-big smile on my face, and can't stop staring. (I know it may seem creepy, but I do it with the best intentions. I mean, how can you not look at the brand new eyes and soft skin of a baby and not fall in love?)
And what's even more heart-melting than a newborn? Well, a newly adopted child. I've always admired the parent who can take a child who they have never met, and love it with everything they are. And it's ugly, and it's hard, but it's so beautiful to me...the restoration. The smiles on the faces of those who would have had none without this willing family to take them home, and cherish them, and call them their own.
My heart beats to that drum, ladies and gentlemen. And it has since the very start.

But guess what?
I had become hard. I had become cold, and walled up to the very thing that broke my heart for the things that beak His. I had become walled up to the fullest amount of joy I could have.
Why? Because all I had seen from children was broken, tired, worn-out Mothers.
I cannot tell you the amount of mothers I have seen that seem tired and annoyed with their kids. Even to the point where they turn their cheeks to the wrong-doings of their children, and pretend "it's just a stage, they'll grow out of it."
That frightened me. I don't want to be that Mom that runs around with kids that everyone hates because they're so awful. I don't want tobe that Mom that is tired. I don't want to be that Mom that forgets that their child needs guidance, because I am worn out.
And if my life-long dream has been to adopt- how can I possibly love a child that I did not carry in my stomach for nine months? How can I possibly not become tired and sick of a child whom I did not carry in my own womb?

So this is where the walls came up. These walls came up out of fear, and hurt. I "knew" I could never be a good enough Mom, so I gave it up.I hated the children I saw, I hated the mothers that I saw, so I gave it up. I put up walls.

And a few weeks ago, I was asked the question- What stirs my affections for Christ?
What is that one thing that makes you tick?

And my first thought-photography. Of course. That's been it for so long because that is a direct wire from my heart to Christ. What I see with my eyes is something I cherish, because I know it is from Christ. My photos are my worship. Of course photography stirs my affections for Christ.
So I dismissed the thought. I already know what it is...why try finding other things? Not a big deal...
But Steph and I were up late one night. And she was venting to me her ponderings of the question. And so my mind went there with her. And where did my mind go?
And I tossed it around in my head-why? Why did these kids keep coming up in my head?
Children stir my affections for Christ.
And tears immediately sprung to my eyes.
So I thought about it a little bit more.

And I realized-Tisha and Bob.
That's what stirred my affections for Christ.
They know parenting like the back of their hand (I mean...with 7 kids, how can you not?). I'm sure they read all the books, and did all the research. But they didn't know what it would really be like. No one really does know.
And so they went into it with their vision a little bit impaired. I'm sure they mess up sometimes, because every parent does. But their love for their children exceeds much of the love I have ever experienced. And my heart swells at this thought.
There is a mother out there who deeply, tenderly, passionately loves her children? There are children who are well behaved, and their mother is not made of stone? There are huge families that love each other?
Really?

My heart was broken for the things I had missed because of the walls I had put up before me. Because I simply couldn't love children, because I would end up being worn out, cold, and tired. Who wants to be that?
I was too worried about myself, that I muffled the very thing that God had called me to love. God has called me to be on love with children, because children stir my heart. And they make me see again the love of Christ. The relationship between an adopting parent and their new child, is an image of Christ. The relationship between a mother and her daughter, and father and his son, they're all an image of Christ and His child.
I am the adopted child.

I look at the Deutsch family, and see something that is not seen very often.
A perfectly happy, perfectly imperfect, perfectly in love family of nine.

Because the truth is- Children stir my affections for Christ.
Motherhood stirs my affections for Christ.

And Tisha, your family has lit that fire inside of me. I feel so incredibly blessed to know each child of yours, and be able to call you a friend.

When I grow up, I want to be just like you....
(and my Mom, of course...)
(I was planning on putting more photos on this blog, but they don't seem to be in the right format, and I can't change them at the moment...so nevermind...)