I woke early this morning and quietly crept out of bed, trying not to wake Russ. The morning was cool, and the light was gentle. In two hours it will be hot and the sun will shine harshly — I’m not into suffering, so I prefer to run early. Without Russ, I can run as slowly as I like, which goes along with not liking to suffer.
As I was running, my mind drifted to a post I wrote recently about Restorative Sabbatical. I wrote,
I’m going to be honest here; we have had three long hard years. Life is getting better, there is no doubt…
I thought of my children and my heart was heavy. These three years have not only been hard for us, they have been equally, or possibly even harder, for them. While our lives have been turned upside down, it cannot compare to the changes they have faced. They have given up their:
home (even if it was an orphanage, it was home)
friends (some who were like sisters and brothers since they were together for many years)
and the life they imagined.
I do not doubt that this is the life God has for them; He places the lonely in families. But we cannot ignore their losses. We must not ignore them. It is essential that Russ and I acknowledge our children’s grief, fear, loneliness, and anger. We must join with them in their suffering.
Even their healing comes at a cost to them. Letting go of the old ways of relating to people, the ways that made them feel safe, is terrifying. Learning to trust that we:
won’t hurt them,
will provide for them,
will keep them safe,
will love them,
will never leave them,
is hard, gut-wrenching, wrestling-with-your-soul work.
Lest anybody (including me) think that Russ and I have made all of the sacrifices, we must always keep before us just what our children are struggling to embrace.
May we never give up, never lose hope, and always believe in the transforming and healing power of our loving God. And may we do it gently, with our children’s hearts held tenderly in our hands.
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