This past week my boys asked me if they could once again visit a friend of mine in Raleigh. She and her husband are very kind and generous to them and they love going to visit her. But when I pressed them and asked them if they would perhaps prefer to just move away from me and live with my friends forever, they instantly and with great enthusiasm said , “Yes, can we go upstairs and pack now?” They followed this joyous outburst by reassuring me that they would still like to visit me every other month or so for the weekend. The youngest one did not want to leave me but asked if he, in turn, could visit them every other month or so. They were ready to move forward with their plans that very your!
So much for the notion that I have created a safe haven and happy home where the my three boys feel secure and have a sense of “belonging”!. For me, it was heart breaking and depressing. Then I began to feel some genuine annoyance that they were exhibiting such a profound lack of loyalty and appreciation for all I have done and all that I have given up for them! It ain’t easy taking care of these three little men.
I was once warned, in a foster care course I took, about EGO. (Eternally grateful orphans). It’s the erroneous notion that because you adopt a child the child will be forever appreciative of your altruism and selflessness, etc. The truth is, they are not grateful at times! But after all, they did not ask to be adopted or abandoned by their parents! It’s me that needs to be the one eternally grateful for God’s gift to me of them. If I see them from that side I don’t get depressed when they are not grateful.
It hurts, though, to care for someone that does not appear to reciprocate that love and affection. But pity the children (and adults) that are unable to respond. Some of us are so hard in heart, so wounded and disaffected with humanity we are unable to be vulnerable——and some of us are only eight years old.
But mankind is not, by its fallen nature, “eternally grateful” to its Creator and Redeemer, so why should my boys be to me? My gratitude to God comes from a deep awareness of how utterly dependent I am upon Him and how desperately depraved I would be without Him. Yes, this is someone of which I am cognizant.
But there are times that I make promises and vows to God of my loyalty and love—-and yet my heart wanders some days. He is my first love and I have no intention of abandoning Him, yet my behavior is not as consistent as I know it should be. He blesses me, restores me, prepares a table before right before the noses of those that don’t like me; He shields and shelters me and calls me His own——and yet, time after time my heart is not as loyal and my head is not as “one-minded” as it should and could be! What is wrong with my boys’ loyalty to me is also what’s wrong with my loyalty to Him. None of us are there yet.
Each time I wander away from what is essential (i.e. my relationship to Jesus Christ) I wander back to Him—for nothing and no one satisfies the longing of my soul as He does. And each time I ask myself—-why did I take my eyes off of Him in the first place?! (My boys will come to the same conclusion in time.)
But before all else, three things are essential:
-maintaining my intimate time with Him each morning, before I do anything else
-giving Him the best part of my day rather what’s left over;
-having accountability and fellowship with men and women who share my passion for Jesus Christ
These three keep those devilish suggestions that I wander away from Jesus at bay.