Eva Loves Mommy

Mar
2014
16

posted by on Adoption

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A couple of nights ago we were all sitting around the table after dinner; Josh and I enjoying a few minutes of peace and quiet before the crazed bedtime routine that would follow. OK, it was neither peaceful nor quiet but at least we were sitting. And the children were (sort of) sitting. Reagan said something about how God made everything and that started us on this conversation, common to Christian families with small children…

Dad: Who made _____?

Children: GOD DID!!!

But of course Josh is a wonderful, perceptive father, and he is always determined to go beyond that simple truth and get to the hearts of our children. He talked to them about what is said in the Gospel of John, that “a person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven” (3:27). So he changed the conversation to…

Dad: What do you LOVE?

Children: juice/school/playing/friends/stuffed animals, etc.

Dad: And who made that thing you love?

Children: GOD DID!

Because knowing that God made all things is different from knowing that we are to love the creator rather than the created thing.

He had been making the rounds, asking this question, when he got to Eva, who had climbed in my lap at that point, and asked, “Eva, what do you love?”

She pondered this for a moment, putting her finger on her chin and going, “Hmmmm,” a gesture that makes me laugh because it’s so clearly an imitation of something she’s seen adults do.

Then she smiled and said, “I love my Mommy.”

Aaaand, Josh and I burst into tears. I’m not exaggerating when I say that. We were full on crying and you could tell the kids were like, ‘Uhhhh. Can we go take a bath now? This is really uncomfortable and weird.” And normally one of the kids saying they love us would not be the catalyst for such a dramatic outpouring of emotion. But this was Eva. And she didn’t say she loved Daddy. She said she loved Mommy.

See, Eva took to Josh immediately, but has only recently begun to allow me to enter in in the same way. There are many reasons for this. Primarily I think it was because she craved the authoritative and protective love of a father, but was threatened by the nurturing and instructive love of a mother. Josh brought the safety and affection she craved. I brought competition. She had been running the show with herself and with Titus for a long time and she didn’t know that she could trust me to take over.

This led to many frustrating moments for us. Seemingly simple moments, such as me asking her to eat the oatmeal squares I’d put in front of her, were met with tears and hiding. Not because she didn’t want the food (the girl is obsessed with oatmeal squares), but because she wanted to be in charge. And as much as I wish I were always sweet and patient I have often had to repent to Eva for how I’ve responded to such moments, with ill-masked irritation and sharp words.

By God’s grace – seriously, His unbelievable, transformational grace – the last few months have seen immense improvement for Eva and me. She’s beginning to loosen her hard grip  and let me take care of her. I’m learning to see the signs of a meltdown with her and to stop and breathe and ask God to be with me right then in the moment. Where there used to be a look of distrust and suspicion there’s now a look of pleasure and ease. She’s even learning to trust me with Titus, not jumping in to defend when she sees the discipline coming after he’s disobeyed. Giving me time to respond to his needs instead of always trying to attend to them herself. She is learning how to be a child. And not just that, she’s learning to be my child.

It is a weighty thing, knowing that I am re-defining her entire concept of what a mother is. But anytime I feel the weightiness of something it is an opportunity to put into practice those precious words of scripture, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” This not only takes the burden off of my shoulders, the burden of taking the 5 year old orphan and making her a daughter, but it also gives credit where credit is due when she does begin to understand that she is an orphan no longer. It is Jesus, whose yoke is upon me, who has orchestrated it.

So when those words come out of smiling lips, “I love my mommy,” there are many tears indeed. We see that God is doing what we could not do. He is able to begin to undo the damage of years of neglect, and give little Eva a heart full of love. And in that sweet moment, once the tears begin to subside, Josh is able to say to Eva, “Yes Eva, you love Mommy, and God made Mommy. He gave her to you to be your mommy. Isn’t he such a good God?”

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2 comments

  1. Kristin

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