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Sunday, November 4, 2012

God Called Us, But Did He Call Our Children?

It's been a bit of a tough week or so.  Luke has been having some difficulties with his friends here.  Sometimes coming in to the house really angry or just overreacting to small things with big explosive anger.  We have disciplined him when his behaviour isn't appropriate and his anger ends up hurting someone or something.  We've also talked to him when things are calm about what might be bothering him, but the reality is, his eight year old brain might not even know why he's so angry.

Luke doing his 'silly dance' at the Children's Day celebration
Then, one day we had a break through.  He came in, very upset after having a fight with one of his friends who had been making fun of him.  He lay on my lap and instead of showing anger, he cried, he cried about missing home, he cried 'why do they make fun of me, I just want to play with them!' and  'why, why did we come here, why didn't we go somewhere else?'.  My heart broke for him and I did all I could do, I held him, I soothed him and let it come out.  Although it was hard to see him so upset it, it was also good to see the root of the issue surface, he was hurting, and confused.  Perfectly normal. Perfectly heartbreaking.

As a parent, making life changing decisions and following God's call on your life is very difficult knowing your decisions not only affect you but they affect your children, who, let's face it, don't have much say in the matter.  They are along for the ride.

Or are they?

Can we really believe that an all seeing all knowing and LOVING God would call only us not taking into consideration the affect it would have on our children?  Can we really believe that His plan for us doesn't include their lives, that although the experience may not always be positive, that even the hard parts, the parts that hurt are intended for our growth AND theirs?

Our children are a gift from God, not a possession.  He is their true parent, we are their earthly parents entrusted to take care of their physical and spiritual needs while on this planet.  We are to love them, to guide them, to teach them and to point them in the direction of Jesus.  God doesn't have grandchildren. Just because Phil and I made a conscious choice to invite Jesus into our hearts and lives doesn't automatically mean they have made that choice too.  That is a decision they have to make for themselves, one we hope they do, but one that has to be made of their own accord.

So, we have to trust that all the experiences they have in this life, good and bad, are part of His plan for them, part of their story and their journey.

It's definitely NOT easy.

There are, however, little things that happen that remind us that God is in it, things that fall into place just perfectly, that we couldn't have planned.

 When we were in Canada preparing to come to Brazil, the kids really, really wanted a dog.  For obvious reasons, we couldn't get one.  We said, that maybe, if it worked out and it was ok with the people here where we would live, we could get a dog in Brazil.  Maybe.

When we arrived on the 11th of September, we pulled into the chacara and Deanna said, 'Oh I forgot to tell you, 4 days ago Zoe (their Rottweiler) gave birth to two puppies'.  Phil and I looked at each other.  At first, both were spoken for but that didn't work out, so there was an extra puppy with no home.  Hmmmmm.

Two weeks ago we added a member to our family.  He's small, has dark hair, dark eyes and is cuter than cute.  We named him George. He's the second puppy and he's ours.

Just last week I worked out that Georges birthday, 4 days before we arrived would have been the 7th of September, also Luke's birthday.  God knew we were coming, and he knew that we had two children who desperately wanted a dog and just to make it special he made sure his birthday was the same as our sons.

So, did God call just us, and expect us to drag our children along through the muck and mire not caring what the affect would be on them or did he call the Snells, our family, with each of our hearts held gently in his huge loving hands, knowing full well that in order to grow and in order to draw closer to him we sometimes need to be stretched?

Yesterday, I was sharing with others Luke's experience, the frustration he feels when being teased.  Emma Bergen, who was born here said, 'it took me about a year and a half of living here [in Marabá] to figure out that when they tease, it's their way of inviting you into friendship' Huh.

Luke had a funny grin on his face when I told him and said, 'Well that makes no sense' I replied, 'No it doesn't, but does it make you feel better?'

'Ya, it does' he said smiling.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. I think its a good reminder to all of us to look at our interpretations of situations and see if there is another option for the story. Glad to hear you are all doing well.

reintjes1991 said...

Oh, Jen, we feel your pain. We have had many of the 'why are we even in this stupid town' conversations and tears and tantrums. But you are perfectly correct and keep it in front of you that this whole thing was meant to shape those precious kids of yours for the incredible stuff He still has to come. We are praying for you!

Ruth Ann said...
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Shelley said...

Once, when Dale and I were thinking about moving and pulling our kids roots in our neighbourhood out...even though it was only across town it was a huge deal to them...I talked to Dan Wilt about it, trying to sort out this thing - the fact that our kids are often just 'along for the ride' and sometimes it's very hard. (not the same scale as your move, I know!!) Dan said something that stuck with me, and that was "You don't want to raise kids that don't need Jesus, do you?"

Trish said...

Jen, you are such a great Mom. You did all the right things by just letting him get it out and feel the feelings. Luke is lucky to have you there to help guide him on this journey.