“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
James 1:17 (NIV)
Our daughter sometimes gets upset that she’s the only girl sandwiched between two brothers. Most of the time she enjoys the extra attention. A big brother to teach her new things and a little brother to “baby” or teach. Sometimes, though, she gets frustrated that she doesn’t have a sister to share secrets with or paint each other’s nails. I remind her that God had a reason she was born into a family of only brothers, lives on a street with only boys, and whose best friends live far enough away that seeing them on a regular basis isn’t possible.
I’m a firm believer that children are a blessing from God. I’m not saying that people who cannot have children aren’t blessed…I do mean that when you are given the privilege of being a parent, whether through adoption, genetics, foster care, or guardianship, each child is a blessing. And as I like to remind our daughter, I believe each child God has blessed you with has been handpicked for you, for your family. I believe God loves each and every one of His children so much that He puts us together in the families that He does to help us learn, grow, and develop into the people He ultimately envisioned we would be. It’s still our choice, but He started us down the path with the right combinations of personalities mixed together.
I know for myself, God has certainly blessed me with the children He has allowed us to borrow. I have learned so much from each of them. They are a combination of both my husband and my genetics, yet they are each uniquely their own selves. When issues or problems crop up in their lives, I usually don’t have to look too far to see where the root stemmed from (my childhood perhaps) and then work diligently not only to help them overcome their own obstacle but also deal with it in my life so we’re both healthier as a result.
Other times the lessons are positive ones. I see in my children a love of music, something I have enjoyed since before I could walk. My mom tells me of how I would rock back and forth so hard in my crib it would roll across my bedroom, landing in front of the door, locking myself in. We also enjoy nature, creativity, and most importantly, our love for God. My children challenge me to try new things, try things differently, or realize that I could try all day but maybe I should just leave that particular activity to the professionals because it’s “just not gonna happen, Mom.”
My oldest has taught me the joy in being an introvert and that it’s something to embrace. He has reminded me that sometimes the best in life is missed if I move too quickly and try to cram too many activities into a given amount of time. My daughter reminds me of the joy of being a little girl. Remembering how to laugh, what makes childhood fun, and her enthusiasm for life is contagious. Our youngest came along six years after our daughter and God granted me the chance to savor every minute…knowing it would be our last journey through childhood as the parent. Each of their personalities, mannerisms, strengths, and weaknesses help to make our family complete. We blend together to create our own uniqueness.
What about your family? What strengths, weaknesses, challenges, or successes can you look back on and see how God placed a particular child in your family for a reason…or your past experiences were exactly what was needed to help one of your children navigate life?
© Cheri Swalwell 2014