Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"So that you don't forget me"


It's been a rough couple months with one of our little girls. In the weeks and months leading up to our departure, I felt like everytime I turned around there was another problem with her. She refused to listen to me, to Evan, to our other Mozambican staff. She was full of attitude, frowns, and discontent. Impossible to please, stubborn as a mule, and more pouty than my preschoolers. At one point she decided to give me the silent treatment. Next, she went to the centre's director to tell him she didn't like me (after all, who ever likes their parents after they've been given a consequence!). One thing after another. At times it seemed as though she was headed in a downward spiral with no light at the end of the tunnel.

Now given her sad history and traumatic background story, this little one has every excuse in the book for behaviour like this. We did not come to let these girls' horrific pasts define their future. But we did not go to Mozambique to pass out excuses. Rather, we want to equip our girls with the strategies they need to build a better future and move beyond the tragedy that has marked their young lives.

Sometimes love looks like discipline. It looks like consequences, boundaries and following-through. It looks like the very ones you love glaring you down like they despise you because you are calling them to something higher. Love looks like parenting.

Just before we jumped in the car to head to the airport to return to Canada and deliver our baby, we ran through the girls dorm kissing and hugging each of our girls and squeezing them tight. Then painfully we pulled ourselves away clinging to the hope that it will only be a few short months before we see them again. But just as we were about to jump into the car, my little rascal came running after me. Extending her arm towards me, she handed me a handmade necklace from her little sweaty palm. Likely one of the only necklaces she owned and she gave it to me. She looked up at me, hugged me, and said, “so that you don't forget me.”

The words stung me like a knife. And without words, I reached down and gave her a long hug. Hoping that a simple embrace would somehow convey what words could never...

We may be back in Canada for a few months, but not a day goes by where we do not remember, the beautiful little smiles, eyes, lovable cheeks, endless mischief, and ceaseless laughter. Father God, teach me to remember them like you remember each one of us--with infinite love, grace, mercy, hope and joy.