Monday, 27 June 2016
Loving children with holes in their buckets - Guest Post
My big sister is one of my real life heroes. She is far more patient than me, far more kind and she is one of 'those' mums with a
tidy house calming environment. She is mum to two boys, adopted into our extended family as babies and loved as our own. As a family they have been on a journey over the last few years and her texts never fail to leave me open mouthed and speechless at her enduring, committed, compassionate love for her boys. Today she has written a guest post which I know you will love as much as I do, so sit down, open your hearts and listen to her passionate wisdom.
We all know the song…
There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole.
Then mend it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Then mend it dear Henry, dear Henry, mend it.
With what shall I mend it dear……… ?
and so on!
Liza and Henry then go through a whole set of solutions only to find that the water still seeps through the holes. In the end, the only answer is to buy a nice, shiny, new bucket.
Imagine that we have an invisible bucket above our heads. Every time something goes well - a kind word spoken to us, a helping hand, something that makes us smile - our bucket, drip by drip, fills up. But when things go wrong - we have a bad day, we have an argument or cross words with someone we love - the buckets tips up and water drips out, leaving us with less. The important thing is to keep our bucket topped up, so we don’t run dry. Topping up our buckets can also happen when we show love and care to others around us. It is mutually beneficial. We top up others and that tops us up too. God enriches and satisfies us and others by this process.
However, imagine someone with a rusty, dented and full of holes bucket above their head. No matter how much we love them by pouring praise and encouragement on them, protecting them, giving them security, having fun and laughing and giving endless amounts of time to them it all leaks through the holes instead of filling up their bucket. It is an endless cycle that never stops. They are constantly running down to empty and always needing more. Whatever is poured in is never enough.
There are precious children who have these leaky buckets, simply because they were carried in their mother’s womb and born into a situation and environment that was beyond their control. A hostile, chaotic and sometimes dangerous place. They are born needing to fight or fly. It is in their hard wiring. They are born needing to be nurtured and loved but are removed from every familiar sight, sound, smell, touch and taste that they have known (albeit necessary for their survival and safety). They are separated and the bond is broken. They feel abandoned. The holes were already forming in their bucket before they were born, whilst they were developing and growing. They are damaged and now abandoned. They are placed in an alien environment and fostered or adopted into another family.
As they grow, they are not aware of why they find things so hard, why life is challenging and difficult and why they feel different. They don’t understand why they can’t trust and feel safe even with the ones they love. They know about their adoption and history and why it has happened but they have no conscious memory of what happened to them; only the deep, gut wrenching shame, pain and confusion that developed deep inside their baby brain and innermost being. All the good and positive love that is lavished and poured into them disappears through the holes and drains away. There is a residue that sticks to the side of the bucket. They know they are in a family who love them - their head knows this but their heart is unable to accept it.
Living with children whose buckets are full of holes is tough. They require unconditional and sacrificial love. Giving up everything for them and not expecting much in return. Knowing that the process will need to be repeated day after day. It’s heart breaking, gut wrenching, painful to watch them. It stirs up anger as to why this should have happened to them. We feel disappointment, despair and utter sadness to witness their pain and hurt. To put yourself in their shoes even for a moment is desperately painful but knowing that they live and feel like that all the time, day and night, is truly mind boggling. Scared, anxious, confused, unsafe, unwanted, carrying huge fears, angry, suicidal, unvalued, insecure, shameful and sad.
BUT…… What a great word! There’s so much more that can come next. There is hope….
We have a super abundant Father God who is Father to the fatherless, who sets the lonely in families, whose idea of adoption into his family as sons and daughters gives us a picture of God’s heart. Adoption is a good thing! He will bind up the broken hearted, bring healing of the past, repair and renew and give a hope and a future. God is able to do MORE than we can ask or imagine. God’s story is already written. He is the author and perfector. God’s plans are secure and steadfast. No-ones birth is an accident or a mistake. Even with the most difficult start, God’s plan was there. He knew, He works all things together for good. God is in the business of supplying wonderful, shiny, new buckets from his heavenly store. Buckets with no holes where truth, joy and peace cannot run out. Buckets that can be refilled without leaking. Buckets that are resilient enough to cope with life’s challenges. Buckets that can be topped up again and again. Full buckets that allow the person to be free to top up other’s buckets.
So, we look forward to the day when those buckets are complete. Its drawing nearer and nearer. We see so many glimmers of hope, healing, restoration and brand new shiny buckets.
We don’t do this in our own strength - oh no!! Our strength would have run out a very long time ago. No, we do it in God’s strength, where all things are possible.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
He is more than enough.