The Stranger

2

November 5, 2012 by greenhouse04

And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him.  The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Leviticus 19:33-34

I haven’t blogged in quite a while – perhaps three children, plus illness, plus a vacation, plus plunging back in to the foster scene with all its meetings, appointments, and visits have kept me too busy for the past month! But here I am again, on the far side of the first 6 weeks with a new foster child (the hardest).

And on the far side of another hard lesson revealing my self-centeredness!

It hasn’t been easy getting a new foster child. The whole third-child thing is hard in itself – being outnumbered as adults in the home is challenging, plus having a 10-month-old who needs constant supervision AND a 24-month-old who needs constant supervision is tough! But the foster-child thing adds a whole extra dimension of toughness.

I remember feeling with previous foster kids like I was a full-time babysitter with very little pay. That feeling has returned with Mari. Only, sometimes piggy-backing on that feeling is the ugly creature resentment. Resentment that my time, energy, and attention are being stolen from my two children by this stranger who is not mine, and probably never will be. Resentment that I’m being distracted from these precious, once-in-a-lifetime stages in my childrens’ lives by the busyness and upheaval surrounding Mari’s arrival. Resentment that her coming has seemed to created such insecurity and stress in my daughter’s mind and life that wasn’t there before.

Then, last week we were told that there’s a 50/50 chance Mari will be leaving to live with her birth dad (depending on paternity test results). So, the resentment flairs his ugly head again. Why am I spending so much energy taking care of someone else’s child? Why do I make an effort with her when she won’t even remember me?

In other words, why am I helping another human being when I have seemingly nothing to gain?

Wow, maybe that ugly creature I’ve named resentment is really SELF-CENTEREDNESS!!!

Then, while reading a parenting book (that had nothing to do with foster-parenting!) I happened upon the above verse. Here it is again:

And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
Leviticus 19:33-34

Guess who the “stranger” is in our home? This verse struck me to the heart. No, I’m not Israel, but I am God’s child. I wasn’t a stranger in Egypt, but I was a stranger to Him before He adopted me. Maybe God wants me to treat Mari as one of my own, with just as much attention, time, and effort that I would give one of my own children.  Perhaps He wants me to kick out this ugly creature called self-centeredness and instead open up to the warm, tender Creature called Christ-and-other-centeredness (also called the Holy Spirit).

Now to go love the “stranger dwelling among us” called Mari.

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2 thoughts on “The Stranger

  1. Thanks for sharing your honest struggles, Larissa! While we may not be able to relate right now on the foster side of things, the self-centeredness I can totally relate to! (unfortunately) 😉 May you get strength from the Lord to love without wanting it in return and may He give you sweet times with ALL the precious ones in your care and provide for them all they need as well.

  2. Mom says:

    Thank you for the blog post, Larissa. I appreciate your honest confrontation of your feelings and thoughts. We are praying for you, David, and the children.

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