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Unfailing Love (…a reminder through the story of Hosea)

These past few weeks have been tough at our house–and one day I will share more…but right now–I’ll just say that the roller coaster ride of adoption doesn’t end when you bring your baby home. It just begins. But in a beautiful way…because that is when healing begins too. Healing though–is hard…especially for little ones who are some times afraid to be deeply loved. Often times, our sweet one has a hard time receiving our love–but there is always hope around the corner…and it brings me joy to see how he adores the love of his siblings. And God made my young Frank with such a dear heart–he has had to make probably the most change of anyone in our family…his bed times have been quicker as someone is calming his new brother, his high chair is now his brother’s chair, he goes to preschool so we can go to therapy…and his love is so, so sweet—and it’s just as sweet to see the littlest one accepting that love.

I have often wondered if God’s spirit could already just be in Frankie-boy’s heart…I mean–I guess it’s possible as he sits and hears about Jesus…His love…oh–your heart would MELT to hear him as we rock at night sing “Je-us ov me—Bible—Bible—Bible…Je-us ov me…Bible—so.” Frankie baby has taught me so much about unconditional, unfailing love lately. Dispite what the day before had…or what he did without with a new one that requires lots of extra love…this boy wakes up every morning with the same request, “I-ACK!” And he runs in laughing to greet him. (If that is not a picture of Christ’s love–I do not know what is!) And I have a lot ot learn from this kid. It’s also no wonder our youngest looks at him the way he does. He has felt his love for him…

And today–I was reminded of what my love should look like for my children…and what His great love looks like for me through my adoption as a daughter in Christ. This morning I woke up and the babies were sleeping–and I made a cup of coffee. OH SWEET PEACE. I sat down…and QUIET. Hosea. Now, why in the world would the word Hosea come to me? I had prayed the day before HELP ME LOVE DEEPER…HELP ME LOVE WHEN IT’S HARD…HELP ME LOVE WHEN I’M NOT LOVED BACK. One thing you can probably count on in the adoption road is at some point experiencing rejection–and most of the time it’s toward the mom. Loving a toddler can be challenging…and loving a toddler who rejects you even more challenging. God knows my heart–and He knows what I need to hear…Hosea.

Later in the day–I got an email from my friend Kristen ACROSS the country. I hadn’t had time to sit down and reflect on Hosea…but I had an idea what God wanted to teach me. I read the email from Kristen as we are going through similar things in our journeys home–and she mentioned Hosea. Of course she did. Often time when the Lord really wants to teach us something…He loves us enough to remind us where He was trying to take us earlier in our day. I smiled thinking how the Lord has my friend and I at similar places…teaching us similar things…and how this mom across the country is hearing the same message as me today…even sweeter that our boys were together at the same orphanage. Sooo…I took some time to reflect…I’m listening Lord…Hosea.

The story of Hosea is about a man of God. God’s plan for him, however, wasn’t quite what Hosea had dreamed of. God instructs Hosea to persue a harlot (prostitute) who wouldn’t love him back. She would be unfaithful…not out of spite–but out of not being able to accept pure love…love that can only be through the strength of God’s love. Biblically–Hosea could have left his unfaithful wife to continue in her life of emptyness–but he CHOOSE to love…with a love that bears all things, endures all things, hopes in all things and never fails. He went in KNOWING that he would not be loved back…and he would have to love getting NOTHING back in return. He would be rejected–lonely–and yet continue to be led to LOVE. It really didn’t make sense. God’s love usually doesn’t…oh sweet GRACE…Amazing Grace.

Instead–Hosea choose to FIGHT for her love. He wasn’t fighting against men–but he was fighting for her heart…and he refused to let her get away with not being loved. She felt ashamed. She didn’t know how to love back. She felt uncomfortable…she felt scared. She would cover up her heart with false love and laughter…and what this harlot really needed was her love fighting for her–telling her, “God did not make you to be unloved…and I am not going to give up on you. You are safe here…and I love you no matter what…”

Hosea. To love like Hosea. To be this picture for my children…biological children too. Yesterday, God was reminding me that He is gentle and humble in heart through His words in Matthew. Today–that through Him, we can love as He loves with an unfailing love. And there’s more…

I want you to love through my unfailing love. I want you to not give up. When your little one kicks and screams as you hug him, I want you to tell him how much you love him…tell him he is your sweet child and you will never leave him…tell him you will love him no matter what. Tell him you will never let go…and you will always be persuing his precious heart…that I so perfectly and wonderfully made. THIS is my love…and sweet child–you must also know…this is also how I feel about YOU. Remember this on the days you bottle frustration or hurt or just want to get away…I want you to feel ME holding YOU…reminding you that I want you to feel my unfailing love…and I will not leave you…you were not created to be an orphan in this world but to be a daughter of the KING…and I will never let go or stop persuing your heart. REST in me…take a deep breath…and just let Me love you.

Amazing Grace.

It’s a wonder that it’s that very hymn that comes to my mind each night as I put my babies down for the night. It’s the one hymn that quiets them…and so much truth in it. His love does not make sense, does it? Oh sweet grace. Amazing Grace.

Bonnie Nieuwstraten - March 4, 2011 - 1:11 am

Andrea, my heart ached for you as I read this post. Rejection by a child that you would lay down your life for is so painful. I am so glad that you let the Lord minister to your heart today. I know that you know this, but rejection is part of the bonding journey. Isaac pushes you away because he’s a baby and he can’t tell yo what’s going on. Grace is 4 and she can and does tell me. She tells me that she wants to go back. She tells me that she misses her Ethiopian mommy. She screams at night. And yet, as she pushes me away, I know that her little broken heart is just scared to trust, to love again. And so I keep loving her, as unconditionally as I can. And 14 months later, it’s better, so much better, and yet we still have our days. I’ll be praying that you will continue to lean on your Savior, to trust His timing. It will come…..

ellen - March 4, 2011 - 7:45 am

Andrea, I am inspired by you as you hold on to God’s word and promise in these heart hurting moments. Even as we educate ourselves with books and seminars and know in our heads it is not “us”, it can beat you down. Rest in Him. (I don’t always take that advice). Thinking of you today.

abby - March 4, 2011 - 9:14 am

praying for you today, andrea. thank you for sharing this beautiful story…and your thoughts and struggles. Thank God for his hope. and his love.

Meredith - March 4, 2011 - 9:28 am

The way your little boys look at each other is so, so sweet. I am praying for you and Isaac. God has already done so much healing in your sweet boy’s life and I know He will continue the good work He is doing in Isaac’s life. I’m so glad you are able to truly experience God’s grace in your life right now. I pray things will get easier soon.

Joy - March 4, 2011 - 9:48 am

I have often thought of Hosea during our adoption journey. A beautiful, frightening, painful, and redemptive image all in one.

missy - March 4, 2011 - 10:20 am

i was actually up in the night last night praying over hosea for you after reading your post on the listserv. your love is beautiful because it is HIS love.

Judy Fleming - March 4, 2011 - 11:28 am

Andrea, you have always been such an encouragement to me. I learned to know you through “It’s a girl thing”. I have kept up with you and your little family. Your heart’s desire comes through loud and clear as I have read things about you. You’re a very “special Mommy” that God has placed in Isaac’s life AND God choose lil Isaac for you and your husband. No other one but YOU! God knows it would be difficult but He knew you would stick close to Him so He could carry you through each step. Your lil Frank must be such a sweetheart!!! Our children can teach us so much by the way they can be!!! God is good! I’ll be praying for you.

Kelly - March 4, 2011 - 2:46 pm

Love this post! Mine are really close in age as well and close in their bond. I know what you mean about them teaching you how to love unconditionally, its pretty amazing. Love what the Lord is teaching you through Hosea. I needed to hear that today! I think I will always read that book of the Bible differently now. Thanks for the perspective.

Allison - March 4, 2011 - 4:00 pm

Andrea – I’ve been greatly encouraged by your posts this week. I’ve been making more of an effort to “get my silly” on and it has blessed our days. Silliness may be my daughter’s love language! Loved this post on Hosea. If God has shown many anything this year about parenting in the hard places, it has been to just simply love. Love and keep loving. I memorized 1 Corinthians 13 (the love adjectives part) and try to remind myself to love R that way everyday. It is impossible apart from Him, but He can enable me (and you) to love that way. Also, have you had a chance to listen to “Hope for the Hard Days” by Susan Hillis from the conference MP3’s? I attended that session and it blessed me greatly! Thanks again for taking the time to share.

Alison - March 4, 2011 - 4:05 pm

Love the book of Hosea and the picture of God’s love for us, and it so perfectly relates to what ya’ll are going through right now. Praying for ya’ll, Andrea!

Dawn - March 4, 2011 - 11:19 pm

So very true. God’s Unfailing love doesn’t make sense to a world that does not get it. But to those that serve HIM we see it. We see it when we push God away and then cry out minutes later to be comforted….and God comes. We see it in our children that don’t want our love, but sooo desperately need it. We see it in everything around us… your thoughts Andrea…praying for you my dear friend…..

Sandi - March 5, 2011 - 12:44 pm

I want to thank you for your openness. I have been praying for the many families who are adopting in our area right now because many are unaware of attachment parenting, sensory issues, & the emotional issues that they will need to be well versed in. I just found out about API Attachment Parenting International that has local groups perfect for adopting parents throughout the US. Here in the south the typical discipline style is just not right for adopted kiddos. Some families don’t understand & are going to be shocked when RAD surfaces between ages 7-9 in their children. It is so important for families to be prepared to use attachment parenting & occupational therapy from day 1 home. God is speaking through your transparency! Stay strong! Joshua 1:7-9

Jennifer - March 5, 2011 - 3:45 pm

Love the way God speaks just what we need at just the right time! I was thinking of you today as I went to Hobby Lobby for the 1st time! I can see why you love that store. We are at an out of town BB Tourney and I had to stop quick to check it out!:)