In the beginning (which was only four months ago) I struggled a lot with feeling disappointed and upset that Lily didn't seem more grateful for everything. I guess I expected her to look into my eyes and think that I was the greatest person she'd ever known and love me and Daniel more than anyone has ever loved! I thought how fun it would be to take her new places and see the joy she had, and then her running into my arms saying "Thank you thank you thank you Mommy for all you and Daddy do for me! Where would I be without you?!" And then when I prepared a meal for her I imagined she'd say, "Oh Mommy! Thank you so much for working hard for me because I never had anyone do this for me and my whole life all I ate was noodles and rice!" And I could go on, but I'm sure you get the picture.
Now I am almost done with these feelings, although nothing has changed but my attitude. I could go into reasons I'm reading in my book why it is absolutely normal behavior for Lily to NOT respond the way I fantasized in my mind, but I won't. Because this isn't about Lily. Lily is doing great. Lily survived 9 years without a sole nurturer. Lily is a survivor, and I'll take what I get from Lily even if it's a scripted Thank you Mommy. I love Lily and I think she is the toughest girl I know! Our relationship grows more true every day.
And when I mumble to God these feelings He puts me in my place and does what He always does so well. He reminds me it's not about me.
When we adopted Lily she was ours. The moment we signed and it was official, Lily became new. No longer Dang Ning Li, the poor orphan that no one wanted who laid in her crib for 4 years and couldn't walk or talk. She was now Lily Love Hook, a unconditionally forever loved child living in the most free and greatest nation in the world in a happy Christian home with the world at her fingertips! Considering that if you have running water, electricity, etc, you are in the top percentage of the people of the world, I'd say it's safe to say Lily went from rags to riches. She has it all now. I mean, our lives are so full! Just staying home playing she and Johnny can make tents, create masterpieces, and use their imaginations to be anything they want. Everyday is grand. She loves life. I used to hear people say that Lily and Hope were the luckiest girls on the planet to get adopted by our family. Now I know what people mean. Our lives are good and fun and pure and love.
But I would find myself thinking, maybe we are having too much fun. Maybe we are giving her too much. Maybe she isn't grateful and appreciating anything because we aren't doing something right. Maybe we need to remind her of her past so she doesn't take all this for granted......these were my honest deep thoughts. I would just see her running around having fun and then complaining because she can't have milk duds after we just got back from an expensive dentist trip! Not realizing I was protecting her teeth from all rotting out.
Then God showed me what happened to me when He adopted me. He said that when I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior as a child I instantly gained access to all He had. And for the past 30 years I've lived in His house, ate all His food, and played with all His toys and He never once thought like I did about Lily. It brought Him joy to see me living freely in His love. As an adult, I can now have the understanding to see where I've taken Him and all He's given me for granted many times. And I repent and worship Him in gratitude. I want my life to be worship and thankfulness to Him. And I know that one of the greatest ways I can love Him is to love Lily the way He loved me as His child when He first adopted me.
God showed me that I have the world at my fingertips too. That all He has He gave to me. That He is watching over me and providing for me even when I am not realizing it. When I was in my momma's womb, He formed me. I am grateful. So grateful that His love is so pure and true. I cannot even begin to love others the way He loves me. I can only do my best through His Spirit living inside me. But He is so much greater and beautiful and pure. God is really nice. You know how some people are just mean....God is so NICE! I just love HIm so much that in all His greatness and majesty, He is nice to me and forgives me and loves me and gives me things I need.
If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
What an awesome Father!
By the way, God, I'm sorry, too, about all the milk duds.