Mommy, you love me?
My daughter has started asking, “Mommy, you love me?” like she’s just not sure. She’s reaching the point where the words, “love you” are starting to mean something. For months she has said, “wuv you!” in response to our I-love-yous, and although it warmed my heart to hear it, I knew that she didn’t mean it, that she couldn’t mean it, in the way that we did because she didn’t understand the extent of the emotion behind the words, much less the commitment it takes to utter “I love you” to someone and mean it in the context of forever.
Today, I saw something posted online via Empowered to Connect that reminded me of the “why” behind her questions.
“One of the key concepts we need to understand as parents is the difference between “being” and “feeling”. Our kids can “be safe” without “feeling safe”. We need to embrace our kids “felt” needs so that we can be the parents they need us to be.”
She IS loved.
But she doesn’t always FEEL loved, which is why she asks the question over and over, “you love me?” It’s like the understanding of the word has awakened the realization that she doesn’t know what “loved” feels like.
And so, even though we are 8 months into this Family of Six experience, we’re at the beginning.
Adoption has taught me that there is more than one beginning. I’ve always known and believed that the Lord has new mercies for me every day. Now I see the “why” behind that a little more! I need new mercies because she needs new mercies. I cannot be a giver of mercy unless I am refilled with mercy (and I need that EVERY day).
For the folks like me who just “need things to make sense”, we have a God that likes things to makes sense, too. In fact, He is the best maker-of-sense there is. In all honestly, though, when it comes to adoption, and what life looks like whether you are pre-travel, post-travel, years down the road, or just beginning to pray about it, I feel so much like things don’t always make sense. When things don’t make sense, I always appreciate a bit of blunt wisdom, and this is something that drilled into my heart today:
“I’m saying, “Why do we always defer to inaction?” We just assume, “I’ll do nothing until I hear a voice from heaven.” No, just open the Bible. Obey a verse— actually, do it.” — Francis Chan
Opening the Bible, walking in obedience (whether the voice calls down from heaven or whispers softly to my heart), those things make sense to me. That’s when the “yes” is given to whatever He calls us to. And then comes the real challenge… living the “yes” for every day after that first day. I have no doubts, never have, about whether we were called to adopt, but I have had many doubts about whether or not I was equipped to walk well. The “feeling loved” vs. the “being loved” is one of those things I understand, but can not fully understand because I’m not her. I have not lived through the life experiences she has lived through, and so it becomes one of those “am I good enough to be what she needs me to be” moments. What I need to hear is that it’s a chance all over again to say “yes” even when I feel inadequate. I may not understand the depth of loss that accompanies the questions she asks, and in that I have a choice… inaction or action.
I can play, I can read books, I can rub her back, I can stop in the middle of a task to give her a hug. I can brush her hair, I can let her brush my hair (!!!), I can tuck her in to bed with a hug and a kiss.
Action vs. Inaction.
He makes the most sense when I am senselessly inadequate. In those moments I know that the GOOD things I see are all from Him. When my actions speak love even though I don’t understand the depth of why they are needed, that’s when she will start to feel safe enough to stop asking the question, “you love me?”, because she will know it AND feel it.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9