As a parent, I came to appreciate the uniqueness of each of my seven children. Their little personalities were varied, their needs different from child to child.
I could not offer a one-size-fits-all kind of love or attention to them. Each one responded to different styles or interactions..the Five Love Languages, and all that. Part of my role as their mother was to figure out what each one needed, then supply that need.
As adults each of us have ways by which we best feel love. We have a heavenly Father who knows how to best meet that need, and He does so. His ways of communicating with us are as varied as the number of people in existence.
He’s a good Father.
When children are adopted, they come with ‘baggage’ from their family of origin. The challenge for the adoptive parents is to overcome what the child ‘knows’ about a father and/or a mother, for his or her concept is often skewed. When the new parents are patient, gentle, and persistent, the child comes to accept that they are loved, and slowly replace what they thought they knew about what a mom or dad is, with the new reality.
This can be a lengthy process, one that tears at the hearts of their new parents until breakthroughs begin to occur.
Right after my second birthday, I was adopted by my new step-dad. Unfortunately, he wasn’t interested in winning my heart – only in winning the imagined competition against my father. Sadly, he didn’t want the ‘trophy’ (me), that came with ‘victory’.
Kids aren’t equipped with the mental ability to understand that a parent is broken, and unable to love…so they call what they receive “love” and believe their experience to be the true definition. The rest of their life most will continue to define love by what they learned from their father.
As most are wont to do, I superimposed the treatment I received from my ‘dads’ over what I expected from God. I wrote about my experiences her: Unlock Your Shackles
When God adopted me, He ‘had His work cut out for Him’, as they say. It’s been a lengthy, slow process, but His love never fails and His patience is enduring.
At first I trusted Him not at all. He persisted, though, and has used methods that are unique to me in order to win my heart. This blog is filled with such stories: pink shoes, heart-shaped rocks, a gold lambskin jacket, provision when we had no food (for six months!), heart-shaped potatoes, and so forth.
While this looks like He panders to my materialism, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
My love language is not shopping!
Being Spirit in nature, He cannot wrap me in His arms, stroke my hair, or hold my hand. (However He did dance with me one day! See: Shall We Dance?) Consequently, He’s been creative in the ways He communicates His love to me. Each of the things listed came with a special lesson for me to learn about what a good Father is like.
Severely put off by what I believed about fathers, this unlearn/re-learn process has taken decades. Because He loves me and wants me to be secure in Him, He’s gone out of His way to demonstrate His goodness.
When others’ experiences with Father differ from ours, we must guard against undoing His work. What offends our senses may be merely because the experience was not meant for us. Unless their ‘take-away’ twists God into a heinous creature, we do well to rejoice with them in their breakthrough.
God knows how to best reach every one of us. He relentlessly pursues us and teaches us just how good He is.
As a kid, I was fond of polka-dots.
As an adult, I am fond of His polka-dot love for me…specially and deliberately designed to melt my heart.
He’s a good Father!
*Oh, the three verses I promised to share will be in my next post. 😉