That is the real question isn’t it? The New International Version of the bible states in Proverbs 4:23, “above all else, guard your heart. For everything you do flows from it.” I posted this on Facebook recently and an amazing friend replied “open your heart, but use your brain”.
This got me thinking…..we do open our hearts to more evil than the average home. How do we keep our hearts protected? Recently this same amazing friend shared another blogger with me. Littleearthingblog wrote “Jesus Didn’t Call Me to Raise a Nice Christian Family” and boy oh boy do they get it! They talk about the challenges of raising these special children in our homes and how today’s churches are not prepared for our families.
This does not mean that we shutout God and Christians, but instead we guard our hearts against those around us who don’t understand, by keeping our distance. This sounds so weird I know! We have been in crisis moments when well meaning parents will ask if they need to call the police or ask if we have been reported to DCS. Yes I understand they mean well, but it truly isn’t helping. Or the well meaning older woman that lectured me in Sam’s Club all those years ago because the child that has issues swallowing solid food is freaking out that I said no to a mashed potato sample since he vomits everytime he has attempted to eat them at home.
While I pray my heart is open to do God’s work, I still know that I have to guard it as well by not letting the evil that these children have faced take residence within my heart and hurt that comes from individuals within our communities that think they are standing up for our children’s rights without knowing anything about their past or needs.
Yes we do need to guard our hearts from the sexual abuse our young child lived through, the physical abuse our older children endured for several years before being rescued, and through the daily interactions with a child that has learned to survive she needs to steal, pick through the garbage for food, and to protect herself from emotional pain by putting up walls or causing distractions, we also must accept this input from the community.
Those brave families that have joined us in taking this step to follow God unfortunately do follow into a world of isolation for the most part. Sure we have some AMAZING therapist in our lives, but they are supposed to only be available on business hours and to keep their distance outside of therapy, some oh so LOVING church family’s that continue to reach out even when all they can do is pray, and CONNECTIONS with previous caseworkers that know more than all the others the horror of our children’s previous lives. We have been blessed to create some lasting relationships with our therapist and DCS Caseworkers that have gone way beyond business hours and the usual support they are required to provide!
While we strive to get our children the “usual” childhood experiences we know that it comes at a price! We can’t take a child that verbally and physically assults adults in authority to a Sunday school class that is being taught by well meaning parents or grandparents. First off they are not trained to handle the behaviors they will be faced with, or the quick responses that they will have to have to stay safe. We have been blessed to be in a church family that has a children’s church director that has been teaching children like ours for all of our children’s lives and a few of the teachers are retired law enforcement so it has opened the door to so many “usual” activities that our children usually miss out on.
I guess the point of this whole post is …… we need mentors that can show us how to walk this path of opening our hearts to child in need with crazy ways of showing they have needs, while protecting our hearts from their behaviors and the hurt they have experienced.