Long before adoption of our daughter Bella became a reality were endless documents to process and training sessions to attend. One such training session had my husband and me reeling with doubt. What had we gotten ourselves into? What gave us the idea we’d be fit to parent one who may have more needs than we can fill?
One thing I remembered from this particular training was the advice to relay what will happen in a day to our child. Children spending any amount of time in an orphanage don’t have free time but all time is planned, organized, scheduled. Things run like clockwork based on the timing set by the orphanage director not on the child’s particular needs. If a child is hungry but ahead of the time set to eat the child remains hungry and must wait. The children learn what to expect and this is the structure they are used to.
However, a family structure is different. Families base their lives on needs more than schedules. If a child is hungry, schedules stop and the child’s needs are met. They are fed. The single most effective way to connect with a child from an orphanage is through bonding. Much of this will happen by meeting their needs quickly thereby showing them the differences between care of a nurse and the love of a mother.
I followed the advice of our adoption agencies lead social worker and have always laid out our day for Bella. I let her know what we’ll be doing and when. This has become my way of preparing her for the day ahead. Recently Bella has been relentless in asking what we are going to do. She asks before bed about the next day. She asks in the morning for the day ahead. She asks about tomorrow before breakfast is done. She is learning her days of the week and some of it is her age yet I sensed she was worrying about what we’d do.
I want her to understand we live by faith and trust in God and sometimes plans will change. I began by teaching her the words of Jesus: “Don’t worry about tomorrow” so we could pay attention to today. She caught on quickly. Now right after she asks me about tomorrow she repeats the words of Jesus before I can respond, “Don’t worry about tomorrow, right Mama?” I respond, “That’s right! Let’s pay attention to today”.
This past weekend our power went out unexpectedly. That sounds funny I guess. All power outages are unexpected aren’t they? But this day was sunny; no storms, no looming reason to suspect we’d be out of electricity early on a Saturday morning. Bella was ready with her usual questions wondering what we were going to do. I knew she wanted the day laid out and I could not furnish all the answers with the great unknown of a power outage. We had to adjust our plans and go with the flow of life as presented. Having already laid the groundwork of “not worrying” about what we’ll do was a big part in her understanding how plans change and what type of trouble might affect our day.
With the power out, I could not do certain household chores like laundry but I began running through my mind all I’d like to get done. I went upstairs and thought about it. I could get busy with chores or I could live from Ann Voskamp’s ‘One Thousand Gifts’ and live fully alive and in the moment.
Living in the moment requires me to give thanks to God; being thankful not for the power loss but thankful in spite of it and the opportunities it brought me. I could make this fun for the kids or not. It was truly up to me and I decided it wouldn’t hurt me to do something out of the ordinary in hopes God would do something extraordinary.
So, I got out some alphabet bean bags, bowls, spoons and we made pretend alphabet soup. We played games and chased each other around. I began tickling Bella and in between her giggles and laughter I realized we hadn’t eaten anything yet. I asked her if she wanted breakfast. She said no and immediately the God moment came and I thought of Jesus who told his disciples, “I have food you know nothing about”.
The food they knew nothing about was his desire to do the will of the Father. This desire was stronger than food for the body which would last but a moment. If Jesus took time to eat right then as the disciples demanded He would have lost the heart of the woman at the well and the entire village she witnessed to. Jesus’ food produced a purposeful intent on his part to act in such a way which honored the One doing the filling.
No doubt I could have felt like I’d accomplished something by cooking breakfast for Bella but I actually did something more important than fill her tummy. While playing and tickling, unknowingly I had been filling up the hunger of her soul and discovered her food. Food I knew nothing about. This special food filled up my daughter and changed her whole day. It changed my day too. Instead of feeling like a short order cook (as we mother’s do feel like some days) I became a soul filler.
As I’m writing to you; I am hungry. But my hunger to pay attention to God and write fills up my soul’s hunger more than if I’d get up and eat some food. My belly would be full but my desire to please God would remain unfulfilled. The food which feeds our body gives us energy for daily life but the food our inner being receives gives us energy to fulfill our purpose.
Everyone has inner food others no nothing about. But I contend we can tell what others eat spiritually by what they do. Anyone eating the food of bitterness for instance will eventually act on and become what they’ve eaten. There is truth to the saying, “Garbage in; garbage out”!
The food Jesus had been eating produced the desire to save the lost and imitate God by being good to others. His food led him to deny himself in order for the goodness of God to rest on someone else. Just what was this food? The food Jesus ate was spiritual food. It’s the food which feeds our spirits and in turn revives our souls. The food is Jesus; his person represented in the body and blood. He is the real food. The disciples didn’t know this food yet because communion had not been revealed to them.
The satisfaction of communion completely fills one up to the ignorance of the body. In eating of Christ, meditating on his body and blood which was sacrificed for us, we too will have the desire to do the will of God. No longer will we wonder what God’s will is for our lives. Through communion we just know and live to walk it out.
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