Sunday, October 16, 2011

Making a Difference....

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"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs... Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails." ~1 Corinthians 13:4-8
This picture holds a very sweet story.  We were visiting Lynn and Roger so they could meet B on Saturday.  Roger picked up B, and was singing to her as he was slow dancing with her.  At first she had a rather puzzled look on her face, but quickly that changed to almost a look of enchantment.  He continued to sing and dance (something slow and very worthy of Sinatra) as she gazed adoringly at him.  When he finished singing and stopped dancing it was quiet... and then in the quietest little voice, B said "yay" and clapped ever so sweetly.  My heart melted, and in my mind I thought "I hope she always knows that she is a princess - and that she always insists on being treated as such!" 

Almost every young girl dreams of her "knight in shining armor" at some time growing up.  But every child is born with a need to feel loved, safe and special.  My life has not been perfect... there have been disappointments and a multitude of hurts along the way.  More importantly, though, there have been those people who have loved me - and made sure that I always felt that love.  That is who I want to be for others when God puts them into my life.  Raising my own children, who are now all in their 20's, it was always my desire to make sure that no matter what they did (or didn't do) that they were assured my love for them was unconditional.  When they made mistakes (sometimes big ones!) the first thing I would always remind them is that nothing they could ever do could make me love them less.  And even now that they are grown, I remind them often that I may get upset or angry or disappointed - but my love for them will never end.  

Growing up is a very hard thing to do.  In the most perfect of situations, it is tough.  But some kids don't get anything near a perfect situation to grow up in.  That stacks a lot against them early on.  Sadly, it's almost accepted by society for people (parents - adults) to make excuses for their own mistakes and blame them on their own parents, upbringing or anything that keeps them from having to take responsibility for their own choices and actions. That is something so hard to understand.  

My life often crosses those families where children are stuck in some awful situations.  Mom's leaving, Dad's leaving, SOMEONE not doing their job as a parent.  And the kids are hurt, without words to even know how to express what they are feeling.  Without knowing how to ask for it, they are starved for love, attention and assurance.  My hearts desire is that I would be whatever I could be to help someone else.  I know what it feels like to be hurt - to be disappointed - to be afraid to trust.  But I also know that is it possible to choose not to repeat the behavior that caused those feelings in me.  It's not an easy road - but it is possible.  

Isn't he the most adorable little guy?  He is crazy about Spider-Man, so we'll just refer to him as Spidey -- I think it's his biggest hero.  Except for his Poppi.... 

This little girl tore my heart out... she was crying and hurt.  Here T is getting a kiss from her Grammy.  

Life can be really tough, and there are things that go on in the grown-up world that should just never touch a child's life.  Too much is often brought into their lives at such young ages. Somewhere it is forgotten that children learn from what they see patterned before them - they learn trust, respect, honor, honestly, and so many other important lessons.  On the other hand, if they live with the opposite, that it what is instilled in them instead. When bad things go on in the grown-up world around them, the reality is that the work needs to be done to reassure them they are loved no matter what.  They need to be reminded that they are not responsible for the selfish decisions of someone who is supposed to put them first in life, even though they are having to pay the penalty for those choices.  Most of all, they need to know that they can be better than those bad decisions.  They don't have to grow up and use that hurt as excuse to repeat them in their own grown-up lives.  

Here's my little babygirl again... she's with Roger and Spidey.  Whenever music would play she would jump up and dance.  I love to see the happiness in her face - and know that she KNOWS she is loved so very much.

We all touch someone's life in some way.  Who is it for you?  If it is a child, are you giving them hope for a future that includes respect, honesty, unconditional love, safety & security?  And if you are thinking "you have no clue how much hurt I had in my own childhood" then what I would respond is this: then you should want to make sure you instill something different to a child than what left you hurt and possibly damaged in some way.  Choose to be better - and not to repeat what is destructive.  Make a difference in someone's life.  I do believe you will be rewarded for it.

I tell my kids all the time "Your life is always a testimony... you choose whether it is a good one or a bad one."  And that is how I try to live each day of my own life.