New Life, Old Ways
May 17, 2010
As I was sitting around a table with friends today and our kids playing downstairs in the basement, a bad feeling started to stir in my chest. You know the kind, where things just don’t feel right.
Call it your gut, call it mother’s instinct, I call it the Holy Spirit. It feels like a gentle stirring that gets your attention and doesn’t let go.
From the beginning, I didn’t feel good about Dima being downstairs with a handful of other young kids. But, I was in that internal struggle of “should I do what all the other moms are doing so I don’t look like the weird, overprotective one? Or do I follow my instinct and go against the flow?”
I decided to stay with my friends and hope that all would be well downstairs. Things seemed to be going great for a while. I started to relax and enjoy my time when little messengers began to come upstairs to fill me in on all the bad stuff Dima was doing.
I finally went downstairs to go get him. It was pretty obvious that he wasn’t mixing well with the other kids. It was nearing naptime, so I said goodbye to my friends and came home.
As I was driving down the highway with tears in my eyes, I looked into the backseat only to see my little man staring at me through the rearview mirror. He gave me a sheepish little smile and I started to think about the reality of his life.
The only context he has of unsupervised playtime was from the orphanage, where “survival of the fittest” was the motto. If you want a toy, grab it. If someone has what you want, do what it takes to get it from them. If you are mad, hit.
Although we have been working on these things with Dima, I realized today how quickly he can revert back to his old way of living once supervision is taken away. And I realized how quickly I can revert back to my old ways of living when I am not connected to the Holy Spirit.
Being a people pleaser by nature, all I wanted was for these friends (who I know love me no matter what my parenting looks like) to think I was “super mom”. I wanted them to think that Dima was ready to just be let loose.
I so quickly reverted back to my old, people pleasing way of living, instead of being connected to the Spirit inside me, who was prompting me to go downstairs much sooner than I did. I chose pride over wisdom. I chose what I wanted in the moment over what was best for Dima.
At this point in DIma’s life, he still needs to be constantly reminded of what “new life” looks like. Just because he has a new family and lives in a new world, doesn’t mean he knows how to live in it. We not only have to teach new life, we have to unteach old life, which is all that he knows, it is what he is comfortable with.
That takes time and patience and grace beyond what I can muster up in my own strength. And I am reminded of a God who is constantly having to teach new life to me, as He offers patience and grace that flows freely out of His unrelenting love for me.
Until next Monday,
Kate and Steve