"to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faithin me." Acts 26:18

Monday, January 30, 2012

We have no idea...

Last night we visited with some dear friends that just brought home two little ones from China.  As I sat at their table, next to me sat their new daughter-- two years old, engrossed in her bowl of food and shoveling, with no desire to think about anything else.  And my mind immediately flashed back to our own dear Matthew--newly adopted and freshly introduced to the experience of sitting down to a full plate of food.  If you've adopted a formally malnourished child, you know what I am talking about-- you know the zone that they slip into at every meal time.  The way they stare at their plate, shovel their food as fast as they can--nervously watching everyone else get scooped up-- constantly watching the serving dishes, asking for seconds, thirds, fourths and getting angry when you cut them off.  You know how they hover in the kitchen, sometimes almost burning themselves on the stove because they are trying to get as close as they can to their comfort.  Some of you know what it is like to see a child throw up because they are eating too much, too fast.  Some of you have found food under their pillows, in their toy boxes, in their drawers.

And you know that it doesn't stop after one year...

or two...

or five...

Today we still had to direct Matthew away from the food table at our church fellowship meal when we noticed him hovering, watching, calculating.

Hunger is like that.  Years after you are no longer hungry, the fear remains.  The fear that a full tummy won't be there tomorrow.  It runs deep--long after they have forgotten their place of birth or any details of those first days home, or any arms besides yours..

..the fear remains...

And we-- who have grown up with packed refrigerators, crammed pantries and left-overs thrown out-- have no idea what that fear is like. 

I choose to diet, I choose to let myself be hungry at times-- and I don't like it.  I often think of Matthew's bio-sisters at those times... but really I still have no idea what it is like to be them.  If I change my mind at three in the morning...cookies are waiting for me in the cupboard.  But I have no idea what it is like to not be able to change my mind.

Eric and I are in emotional turmoil at times.  We have seen first hand what hunger does to a person...namely our son.  But as we prepare for Uganda, we read books like When Helping Hurts which insists, out of a true desire to help the poor, that there are times when it is completely appropriate to withhold food, medical treatment, clothing, basic necessities so that the African people learn to be self-sustaining.  And I read the commandments of Christ in the gospels which say, "give to him who asks" or "if he wants one coat, give him two..." or "give expecting nothing in return..."  And I wonder, where do these things meet?  Is expecting and encouraging Africans to cultivate a self-sustaining economy asking too much of them?  Are we forgetting that they are dust--that their fears of starvation are real even when their bellies are full?

It's only Christ that will help our Matthew become satisfied.  He must find his satisfaction in Christ first.  He must learn that Christ is the bread of life--only then will he rest in Him to provide his daily bread.

Sometimes, I am gentle in my redirection.  I tenderly put my arm around him, pull him away from the stove and remind him that God will give him supper tonight and give him a snitch of food to remind his body of what is coming.  But often I'm in a hurry and I don't take the time necessary for dust and I over-react... I expect too much of him, too soon.  Instead of remembering that he is dust, how many times have I "laid down the law" in this house? I say with a sigh..."Matthew, you know we are about to eat; no I'm not giving you any right now."  I insist that because my standard is ideal (having a child that doesn't hover or become pre-occupied with food), Matthew must meet it now.  I demand speed sanctification in him and in the mean time, I refuse him that third portion that will cause his earthly fears to subside.

We need wisdom dear friends.  We need for God to show us how to love our African brothers and sisters.  We need to know how to remember that, like us, they also are dust and how to encourage them to grow without requiring speed sanctification.  And we need to know how to do this when the financial difference between us and them is profound.

It is hard.  And it is what God has called us to...

...therefore it is good...

Kinda like adopting and raising a certain very precious boy...

Hard and Good...

Please pray for us.


  1. Great post...I totally understand where you are coming from. We have three from Africa...I get it.

    Will be praying for you and your family.

  2. I have been remembering this week that "His strength is made perfect in weakness." Cast yourself on Him for He gives wisdom to those who ask, strength to the weary, and fills our cup to overflowing.
    We are loving you and praying for you.

  3. "He remembers that we are dust" Thank you Diana. Every day I could repent of the same sins and our Lord receives my repentance and loves me knowing I will fall again. Praise to God for His steadfast love and righteousness that is NOT our own but Christ's.
    It is a honor to remember you in our prayers.

    Lori H

  4. Oh, Dianna. This post spoke right to me! We have had the same sort of issues, as you know. What a great post. Wow.Wow.Wow. Dead on. And remembering that he is dust...how often do I forget that? I'm perfectly willing to excuse MYSELF in my sins, but when he asks for more, after he's eaten more than my husband, I get annoyed. Sigh. So much growing to do for us all. Thanks for this one!

  5. Loved reading this post Dianna. Thanks for sharing. What a blessing for Matthew that he has parents who direct him to Christ!!! Praying for you guys as you prepare! Love to you all - the Liedkies.