Goodbye Ordinary

I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us. Isaiah 63:7

What is Love? April 2, 2009

Filed under: Adoption,Faith,Kids,Parenting — Lori @ 5:54 pm

I was just reading a post at A Bushel and A Peck about their newest family member, Honeybee, and the love she is expressing for her mom.  It got me thinking about Kira (our six year old) and how often she will hug me really tight and say, “I just love MY mommy!”  And, of course, I tell her how much I love her all the time. 

This morning Kira came and got in bed with me – a daily ritual – and I started to say something to her, and she said, “I know what you are going to say.  You are going to say you love me.”  I said, “Yes, that was what I was going to say.”  I asked her if that bothered her that I was going to say it because she sounded a little bit annoyed.  She said, “No”.  (However, there seemed to be a “but” left hanging.)  I asked her if she knew what the word love means.  She said, “Not really.” 

Wow, here we have been saying this to her and her sister and they even say it back, but she doesn’t really know what it means.  Have you ever tried to explain what love is?  It isn’t easy.  I told her that Jesus was the greatest example of love because He loved us while we were still sinners.  Even though we did not have anything to offer Him, He loved us so much that He died for us.  And not just died.  He took upon Himself the wrath of His Father – wrath that I deserved to bear for my sins.  This is the verse that I thought of:

I John 4:10  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Ephesians 2:1-9  1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

We were God’s enemy and yet He loved us with such a deep love that He planned and purposed that His own Son would take our sin and the  punishment we deserved on Himself in order that we could have a relationship with God. 

So, how to explain human love?  I told Kira that I am incapable of loving the same way that God does.  However, my goal is to do what Jesus said – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.  If we love others as much as we love ourselves, we will put their needs and desires above ours.  We will not do anything out of selfishness, but always look towards the needs and desires of others.  This is hard enough to do with those we love, isn’t it?  It is even harder to live this way with everyone else we have dealings with.  I also told her that she could partly know what love is by the way that Daddy and I treat her and her sisters,  see to their needs, and put them at the top of our priority list instead of ourselves.

And, how do we show our love to God?  If we do this in a consistent way isn’t that the best way we can teach our children about love?  To love God with all my heart and soul and mind, well, let’s see – the heart – I should immerse myself in knowing God so that the desires and motives of my heart will be pure and in cooperation with God’s will.  For my soul, I should make sure that each and every day I am in proper fellowship with God, keeping short accounts of my sin – repenting, sorrowing over it, and turning from my sin with the Holy Spirit’s help.  And to love God with my mind I should make sure that what I put into my mind – or even let linger there – is honoring to God and will have the purpose of making me more like Christ.  In other words, I better be putting God’s Word into my head which will affect my mind, heart, and soul.

Colossians 3:16,17  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Psalm 119:9-16 

9How can a young man keep his way pure?
   By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
   let me not wander from your commandments!
11I have stored up your word in my heart,
   that I might not sin against you.
12Blessed are you, O LORD;
    teach me your statutes!
13With my lips I declare
   all the rules of your mouth.
14In the way of your testimonies I delight
   as much as in all riches.
15I will meditate on your precepts
   and fix my eyes on your ways.
16I will delight in your statutes;
   I will not forget your word.

I hope that although Kira doesn’t think she knows what the word “love” means, that she does know the concept.  I am pretty sure that she gets the meaning because of the way that she has used the word.  I do know that it seems like Kira is awfully happy to have someone to call Mommy.  She has no memory of her birth mother.  Her mother figure was the main Auntie (caregiver) at her orphanage.  I can see by the way that Kira has so easily given and received love that this woman, Surehka, taught Kira what the word love means.  I am very thankful for the love and care the girls had in those three and a half years at the orphanage.

I think love is a little harder for Kalindi.  I think she has a pretty strong fear of rejection and find it hard to receive love.  We are working on that.  She has doubt in her worth and I assume it will just take time to build her up.  I am seeking the Lord on how best to do that.  Any suggestions would be welcome!

The great thing about Kalindi is that she has such a hunger to learn about Jesus.  She asks probing questions and pays close attention to what I teach her.  (We are going through Susan Hunt’s book, Big Truths for Little Kids, I highly recommend it!!)  I think the Holy Spirit is working in Kalindi’s heart.  Please join me in praying for the girls that the Lord would draw them to Himself.

Thanks for stopping by!  Lori

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One Response to “What is Love?”

  1. Lisa H. Says:

    Hi, Lori!

    It sounds to me like you’re doing a great job teaching the girls about love. What immediately came to my mind about teaching the girls about love was an article I recently read that talked about how children being cared for in institutions feel shame and valueless at not belonging to anyone, and how they can only really learn to believe in and accept love as parents adopt them and make them their own. I’m sure that Kalindi must have those feelings of shame and abandonment compounded by all the events that led up to her needing an adoptive family.

    You’ve already given K. a family, so that’s the best thing you could do, but I’d think helping her process her feelings and thoughts about her adoption would be imperative….Can you get her to verbalize how she feels and what she thinks and then help her learn to turn to God’s Word as the source of “truth” about herself? Also, verbalizing how you were drawn to adopt her because YOU value her and helping her see that God created her and values her and wanted her to have a family, because He loves her.

    I think it can be harder to help older kids feel “attached” to us because we don’t get to hold them and change them and bathe them, etc, but I’ve found with Peter that he would watch me cuddle and snuggle his little sisters with longing in his face, but would reject it when I offered it. Finally, I decided to push the issue because I felt that he needed to learn to receive physical affection, so I’ve made a point of holding his hand and kissing him and being more demonstrative with him, and while he initially feels self-conscious, he really eats it up! I think it’s met a deeper need for him in feeling loved and accepted. Also, he’s appreciated having us verbalize him as a member of our family (like naming our family to our baby) and having photos around that show him with us. Just anything you can think of that makes tangible your permanent “claim” on Kalindi. Things like those decals on the back of the car that show each family member, or having her sign her name on cards that each family member signs, or even making family T-shirts. Some of it might seem a little corny, but I think things like that are meaningful to these kids.

    God really blessed your sweet Indian girlies by giving them YOU!

    Lisa


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