Thursday, April 15, 2010

Blessed Assurance

I've received many emails and been stopped quite a few times by coworkers, friends, and family who want to know my take on the little boy whose adoptive mother put him on a plane and sent him back to Russia recently. No one knows the details of the situation, and we may never know them, but I believe those details really aren't relevant to the question at hand.

I posted this almost two years ago on Kristina's adoption blog and I think it reminds us of what our roles are in the Christian family, particularly when dealing with difficult situations:

I hate confronting sin. Its an ugly, unpleasant task. Dealing with my own shortcomings has always keep me busy enough, but as a mom I have to deal with the sin nature of five other little people. Its my job to call them on the carpet when they make wrong choices. In that role, I try to emulate the Father as much as possible: confronting sin plainly, offering forgiveness freely, and reassuring love unconditionally.

A situation arose with Kristina this week in which God called me to do all of these things. I learned she had done something and I was beyond disappointed. I dreaded the coming conversation in which I would have to confront her and hope that she would confess what I already knew.

This afternoon I took up my usual position in the Adirondack chairs under the tree in the front yard. I attempted to focus on the book on my lap, but found myself straining to listen for the school bus. Eventually the sound of their chatter drifted towards me as they made their way down the street. Skipping up the drive in her customized sneakers, she plopped her book bag at my feet and fell into the empty chair next to me. I waited until the other children wandered off to begin their homework before I broached the dreaded conversation.

I wish I could lead into a sweet anecdote about how she readily confessed the transgression, but that just isn't what happened. I asked. She denied. I asked again. She lied. I revealed the proof and she became speechless. Her eyes grew round and large and she seemed to shrink within the space of her chair. Once it was out in the open I explained that her choice was not one that we approved of and we were disappointed with her actions. It was clear she knew how serious the situation was as she glanced over her shoulder to the closed front door of the house and then back to me. I had never seen her look that way before. There was something about her face that made my heart sink before she even spoke the words. "Are you sending me back to Ukraine?" She sat motionless waiting for my answer as tears slipped silently down her cheeks.

It was an unfathomable question. "There is nothing you could ever do that would separate you from this family. There is no lie you could ever tell that would make us love you any less. You are one of us and you will always be one of us." Her chest heaved a sigh as if she had been holding her breath. Her face softened as the terrified look melted away. She believed me.

As she hugged me, I contemplated what would cause her to think such a thing. Obviously, her past. She had been forsaken for a lot less. Those she has counted on to love and protect her have abused and abandoned her. We discussed the consequences for her decision and she gathered her things from the lawn. She has spent the remainder of the afternoon grounded in her room. I swear I've never seen a happier punished kid in my life!

The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him
-Psalm 103:8-13


Cindy in C-ville said...

Oh, Leslie, what a beautiful post. Isn't that the question we all ask, "Are you sending us back? Is what I've done beyond forgiveness?" You're a good mama and I am praying for that article!

Karen said...

Wonderful post and a great reminder that God loves us unconditionally. Thanks!

MamaPoRuski said...

Hugs to you both! We've had that same discussion this week when someone was careless to tease O about the possibility of our sending her back!

Christine said...

:) Thanks. Really, I needed this today.

Annie said...

Nothing in the media about how horribly that one woman's actions has frightened so many children. I can certainly see how our kids would think that if one mother could do such a thing, it is possible.

MomInTheTrench said...

I see the same sort of "happy for a consequence" in my children who are aware of adoption dissolution. I love how you handle sin. I try to do the same but feel convicted by your post that I fall short of freely offering true forgiveness.

I agree with Cindy in C-ville, all we all really want is for others to unconditionally love (real, Biblical love) us. That's why our Father is so perfect! He does just that.