No,this isn’t something my husband and I struggle with (well…maybe the occasional,or frequent, coveting of those things that lead to perceived status…) We love unconditionally. It is just who we are and what we do. It isn’t easy by any means. It also does not mean giving a child-or grown child-what ever they think they need whenever they think they need it. We do our best to not enable bad choices. We do that because we love them. We are not saints in this ability. It is who we are In Christ. It is in reality His ability to love. For us it is often times painful. It is exhausting. It is also a gift. Left to my own devises, I am pretty darn selfish.
We have extended family members who have, unfortunately, conditional love down to an art form. It is very hurtful to deal with.
Only those who have the true blood of family flowing through their veins are worthy of their love. It is blatant. It is stated aloud. It is stated subtly.
You can see how this could cause hard feelings in an adoptive family.
You can also see what a loss these persons who feels this way suffer. It is tremendous loss. They have lost the chance to be an influence in the lives of children. The have lost the chance to mirror Christ’s love and compassion. They have lost the chance to be a part of something much bigger than their own narrow world. They have lost the love and respect they could have had. They have lost the joy. They have lost sticky kisses and hugs. They have misunderstood what family means. They have forgotten that they were not of the race of God’s chosen people,but instead they were adopted into the Family of God. Not through their own works or worth (certainly they have the wrong blood),But through the compassion of God the Father and the sacrifice for their behalf of Jesus Christ his Son. This is a fairly big oversight from someone who claims to be a superior Christian.
It also causes grief for those who love these persons. In fact, they are loved…How should I say it?
Bigotry and all.
The adjoining side to conditional love is the love of perceived status. There is a lack of understanding that sometimes economic sacrifices have to be made in order give the kids what they truely need;instead of what society thinks they/we need. Some of those sacrifices of income add up. We are not one of those families who can have both special needs kids (now teens) and a nice income with a fully funded retirement plan.
We have always been asked to choose. Family vs money. We have always chosen family.
The human part wants to stomp our feet and whine “It isn’t faaaiiiirrrr”. God somehow owes us.”Lookie what we have done for you God,and you give us didily” We are at heart spoiled children.
Part of that is cultural. Our current Christian culture is pretty darn close to the world’s. If God loves us, and we love Him, then we will have financial blessings. If we do not,then we haven’t prayed enough,been good enough stewards,or held our mouths just right. The whole “pick up your cross and follow” bit has been forgotten. The fact that Christians the world over watch their children die of starvation doesn’t cross our well fed minds. (besides,they have dark skin,they aren’t worth as much to God as we white Americans are) We aren’t suppose suffer. Not us. We’re special.
It is kind of embarrassing when you spell it out,isn’t it.
I wouldn’t call downsizing and moving to a less expensive house suffering. We are not doing without indoor plumbing. We will have power for our lights and air conditioning. Our kids sleep in beds,we have a flat screen TV and more than one computer. We have our books. We have more “stuff” than we know what to do with.
We also have three teens with FAS/FAE and one who is homicidal and hears voices. My three who were pickled in utero still need a parent home;especially my fourteen year old. My son who is currently placed outside our home may return. perhaps in the next week or two. Perhaps never. The point is, we must be prepared for him to return home. This means our decisions will not make sense to someone who does not recognize our younger children as our children. Our decisions will not make sense if downsizing, living paycheck to paycheck with no retirement to speak of is seen as failure.
God has called for us to love these children-all nine of them-even the one who wants to kill me. He has told us to trust him for everything else.
We do our human best to trust.
This has never meant we don’t doubt,or covet,or wish we were called to be rich and retire at fifty-five and travel the world instead of parent hurt kids. Of course we do. It does mean it hurts very much when those whom we love demean us for our choices. When they think they know more than God. When they accuse subtly and not so subtly of not being Holy enough. When they try and use their material gain to control our decisions;and get upset when we still follow Christ.
I have found that our family members who have more than enough materially are the ones who censor us the most. It is those who have the least who understand (or at least keep their opinions to themselves) us and support us the most.