Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Plodding Along

Ok...I have settled down from my over-the-top emotional ride last night. It was simply that within one hour I was bombarded with emails, notes and stories that all centered around the behavior of George. George's behavior is not only affecting him, it is affecting the students in his class, the kids who ride the bus...and my children who feel the need to come to his defense at the same time they want to correct him. Simply put, this is a very complicated issue.

Once Joe came home, and we talked things over, I settled down. We talked to George about being a good boy, being nice. But the bottom line is that we live in a world that doesn't understand a person's background before making judgements. If only the girl on the bus who laughed at George would have understood that he is from Ethiopia and barely speaks English. If only the boy who then threatened to beat up Harry understood that Harry was sticking up for HIS little brother, George, who is an orphan from Africa. If only George's teacher (who is amazing!) had an extra set of hands and eyes in the classroom to help manage several children in her class who don't speak fluent English.

We were able to keep George in a protected bubble for 4 months...I was always with him wherever we would go. I was there to interpret, to explain, to ease the tension. Now, George is out there in the world and is facing scary looks, mocking laughs and whole new sets of rules. He is not equipped to handle this in our American way...he deals with these experiences with his orphaned Ethiopian way. I can't blame him for that and shame on me for going down that path.

I am waiting for the day he softens (thanks Ann Marie for reminding me of all these truths!), and some day HE WILL. Already I see huge changes in the way he responds to correction. Praise God that he listens to correction and instruction from Joe and I without temper tantrums, cries or screams anymore. He is now quick to say he is sorry...another huge praise! As soon as we get one issue dealt with, or mostly dealt with, another one pops up. But isn't that the case with ALL our kids? I have always said that as soon as we work out one discipline issues, the next one is right there ready to go.

This reminds me of how I have often described my heart. My heart is full of weeds, and those weeds are called sin. Getting rid of a weed is not easy business. For those who garden, you know that you can't just pull of the top of the weed. The root is still there and an new weed will pop up over night. Instead you need a sharp tool that digs into the ground to find the root and then you yank it out, roots and all. That is the only way to get rid of sin. God takes his weeding tool and pokes and prods and loosens the dirt around my sin and then we ready, He yanks, and my heart willingly lets it go, and the sin issue is gone. But, guess what? Just like a garden, my heart does not only have ONE weed there! There are hundreds, if not thousands. It is life-long work.

And here is where plodding comes in. We began a study in James this Sunday at church and our pastor discussed the idea of perseverance. He said sometimes it is like "plodding". My mothering of George is going to be life-long work... and we simply need to plod along, always putting one step in front of another so that we keep moving forward. I will plod along, working on one character issue after another. I will plod along, serving and loving George. I will plod along letting God continue to change my heart in this process.

George needs to work on being nice, for in his defensiveness, he can be very mean toward me and his brothers and sisters. I know he is guarding his heart, and I think he may have picked up the teasing and mocking from older kids in the orphanage or from his village. From hearing stories of everyone hurting George to how he slept in the bushes, this poor child has not had the same upbringing of the children with whom he is struggling. They don't understand George, and right now George doesn't trust any of us enough to become completely vulnerable and loving.

This momma is going to continue to plod along, every day choosing to love George. No matter what notes I get from teachers or what stories I hear, I am choosing to love George for the rest of my life.

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