Accepting Love – A story of redemption

This past weekend was my 27th birthday! WHAT?!? It was fabulous and spent with a ton of people I love. Eric’s gift to me was a whole day of spending time with me without video games! And it was his idea completely!! It was amazing. We actually spent a lot of time just together this weekend and it was wonderful. I”m so thankful that he wants to spend time with us… most days.

Accepting love is difficult… especially when you have felt unwanted for so much of your life.  We’ve had a couple of hard conversations and break downs/throughs – and we think the root is him really processing and accepting us as his family. We believe he is learning how to accept our love and give it in return. It’s painful… I’m sure. It’s a process that brings with it scars and baggage. Adoption is tough at times… and always worth it.

It’s tough when you ask your child if he’s missing his Belize family because you know something is up (he has some uncles/aunts there) and he answers “…my family doesn’t care about me. They never came for me. Even when I asked them to take care of me, they never wanted me.”  BUT we got to remind him that we came for him… and wanted JUST him!  We got to remind him that his ENTIRE forever family (including our friends… that’s you!) love him deeply.

It’s tough when you can’t help with the hurt of being separated from his younger brother (adopted by a family in Belize years ago) and we don’t have a way to contact him.

It’s tough when you don’t know exactly how to explain how much you love them.

It’s tough when hard conversations start over a seemingly insignificant thing such as “missing” red pants.

This week was so good because those difficult conversations led to some amazing breakthroughs. God sent me a present though. It was sent through one of my form campers at one of the Christian camps I worked at as a counselor. Now this camper became one of my all-time favorite people within the first few hours of meeting her. Her story is beyond incredible and I was blessed to be a small part of it.

The message she sent me blessed my heart beyond measure. I asked her if I could share it… she said yes. I took out her name and her guardians’ names. I’m just sharing this to brag on God and as a pray for our Eric – that he would know the deep love of Christ and his family

In January of 2014, a couple through my church asked to meet with me after a church meeting. They are youth leaders and I knew them for years but started a relationship with them when I entered high school. We secluded ourselves in the church library after a meeting, and they asked me to move in with them the day my mother lost another job. I moved out in February. I left my home because of arguments were getting fiercer and my life was unstable due to my mother not able to hold down a job and was drinking. My walk with the Lord was rocky at the time. It was because my family was strayed from Him, and I just followed their footsteps. It wasn’t that I had disbelief in God; I just never gave myself reason to be pushed with my relationship with Him, so I started drinking and going out with friends that were not walking with the Lord. I was not being held responsible for my actions. This is where you fit in.

In February, you were in the midst of adopting your son and you were so close to getting him home. You asked for us to pray daily, and announced your love for him continuously. Because of your declarations of your emotions towards Eric, it reminded me that the youth leaders loved me. They told me this though, and more than once. Honestly, I ignored it. I couldn’t understand WHY they loved me. I thought they were required to say they love me but they are not required to feeling it. I thought this because my family manipulated me continuously. My family only loved me if I did certain actions to please them, but they didn’t love me for me. I have not done anything for the youth leaders, so I thought they were telling lies when they said they loved me. I was messed up. They were helping me though. I didn’t like it. I’m not used to being parented. They pushed me aggressively to do something better with my life. To reflect Christ in everything I do. It was painful. I really thought I was a burden to them because I was not sufficient to their standards. I beat myself up daily, telling myself I wasn’t worth the fight they were experiencing because of me.

However, it was you that reminded me that they loved me. You didn’t have the requirement of loving someone; you chose to love your son. You chose to spend thousands of dollars to adopt someone across the world because of love. They didn’t have a requirement of loving me, they chose to love me. They chose to love me because Christ loved them first. They loved me enough to put me through fire and refine me. They adopted me as their child. You adopted Eric. Because of your reminders of love, I let them in. I tried not to fight against them. I let Christ do His work.

I’ve changed so much in the past 7 months. I’ve been walking with the Lord, and my faith has never been better because I have people encouraging me in my walk, and I let them in now. They love me, and there are so many things that show it now that I look back. But it was your words that reminded me that they were NOT manipulating me, not using me, and not trying to reap a benefit from me. They were doing it all because of Christ. I’m holding back tears as I write this in my spare time at my job. It’s crazy of WHY people love. WHY Christ loves. I thought of Christ as I did with my family. I thought Christ was manipulating me, using me, taking advantage of me. I thought He wasn’t there for me, just using me. It’s sad that I thought that, I honestly am embarrassed by those thoughts I used to have. Christ loves me so much. I can see that reflected through the youth leaders. I can see that how you love your son.

I’m thankful for words of encouragement and that God works through ALL things! He is big and awesome!

bday pic
Me and my fellas on my birthday!

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