Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hard Lessons...

So, I want to say upfront that this will be a difficult post. I want to acknowledge openly that I don't know how to be politically correct, so I apologize in advance for any offense. And, I am open to learning. I just want to share our story and what we learned....

So, about a month or so ago, we invited some friends over. This family has a little girl with special needs. When I told the kids they were coming, they had a little bit of a hard time, because the little girl often hits them. We had a good talk about being kind and loving, setting a good example, and forgiving quickly.
Emma was coloring, and the little girl scribbled on her paper. Now, Emma is pretty serious about her artwork, so she came to me crying, because she was going to have to start all over. I held her, and told her that sometimes, it is hard for Mommy too. Sometimes, I work really, really hard, and I get the kitchen all clean. And just as I am finishing, a little person comes in and spills yogurt on the floor and gets everything dirty and I have to start all over. That is really, really hard. But I do it, because I love our family so much, and I want them to have a clean kitchen where we can eat and make food. I asked her if she thought that she could love our little friend, and be willing to start over in order to be a good friend to her. I prayed with her, for the Holy Spirit to help her to forgive, and to start a new picture.

You know, it is not always easy as a mom to watch your kid get hit. But, as I sat and listened to my friend, and heard a little bit about her life, I felt so much pain and empathy for the great deal that she has "on her plate". It is really difficult to parent a child with special needs. Parenting is hard enough. It was just really good for all of us to spend the day, trying to be compassionate towards others. To bear with others, even if it's painful. And so, Emma had to start her picture over, and all of the kids got hit a few times and screamed at. And, at the end of the day, I honestly felt like God opened up a door in my heart that had never been opened before. As we had our family devotions, we had some amazing discussion that night about compassion, about kindness, about forgiveness. And we all learned that sometimes we take for granted how easy it is to befriend those that are like us. It is more challenging to befriend those who are different than us. But many times, it is more rewarding as well.

"But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you?.... But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful." Luke 6:27-36

Monday, May 10, 2010

To my seven year old...

Dear Emma,
This past week you turned seven. I can't believe it was seven years ago, that your tiny little baby body was born, and we first met you and fell in love with you. You have such a sweet heart, and a sweet spirit. Just a few minutes ago, you ran out to tell me that you were in your room singing to "the Lord Jesus Christ!"
You love to read, especially the Little House books. You love your cuddlies (stuffed animals), and you treat them just like your own little children. You LOVE to swim!! You enjoy riding your bike, and your scooter, and hiking. Recently, at our women's gathering at church, you started "helping" in the 3 year old class, and you LOVE being a helper. You always want to help, whether it's making dinner, making cards, making someone smile, or keeping an eye on Ezra. You love hearing stories about... well, anything, but especially about when you were little, or mommy or daddy or grandma were little. So, here is a story that I will remember on every birthday, and many other times as well.
It was May 5th, 2003. Your daddy and I were anxiously awaiting your arrival. We had just less than three weeks until your due date. We had set up your room with a crib, and a dresser, with beautiful purple and green bedding. We had a cradle set up right near my side of the bed, and a chair in our room so that I could nurse you at night. My tummy was so big, and most of the rest of me was pretty big too!! During my pregnancy, I had already had two dreams that you were a girl, and that your name was Emma, so after the ultrasound told us that you were a girl, we knew we would name you Emma Faith.
That day, we had a doctor's appointment to check on how things were going. The doctor had said that you were very, very low inside of me, and that I was dilated about 2 cm. He wanted an ultrasound, to check on the level of amniotic fluid, to make sure I wasn't leaking fluid, and to see that you were still okay inside mommy's tummy. So, off we went over to the office where they did our ultrasounds. I was so excited to see you!! As we were watching the computer screen, I noticed that the Ultrasound Technician seemed to be shaking my belly, and his face looked very concerned. He asked us if we lived in Ventura, and we said that we lived in Ojai. He said that he would like us to head back over to the doctor's office, but would not tell us anymore. I remember very clearly going into the restroom, for a moment to myself. I remember holding my tummy and the tears came so quickly, and my heart hurt very badly. I hadn't met you yet, but I already loved you with all my heart. I wanted so badly to hold you in my arms, and to know that you were okay. But things didn't seem well. I knew that you weren't moving very much inside of me by the way the Ultrasound Technician had been shaking my stomach, trying to get you to move. That was the first moment that I ever thought, "What if something has happened to my baby girl?"
And yet, that was a defining moment in my life. God's grace was abundant, and tangible. I felt Him say clearly to my heart, that you didn't belong to me. You were a treasured gift, entrusted to me, but you forever belong to the God who knit you together inside of me. And in that moment, I was scared, but I knew that my God is good. You belong to Him, my dear, sweet, baby girl.
We headed back to the doctor's office, where they told us that we needed to head to the hospital, because we were going to have a baby sooner than we planned. You actually came the next morning, at 10:04 am, on May 6th, 2003. And, you were tiny, and precious, and amazing.
And so, every day that I have to be your mom is a treasured gift. I am just a vessel, entrusted with your care. You belong to the God who created everything, who sustains everything, and treasures you more fully than even I can understand. I love you, dear Emma Faith Hester. Every day with you is a gift.