Friday, December 13, 2013

The Gift of Acceptance

...I will not abandon you or fail to help you.
~ Joshua 1:5b, NLT ~ 

She has been stirring things up since the day I felt her threatened by my first premature contraction.  Despite her long, beautiful fingers, her hands are more likely to be tossing a football than they are picking out her next frilly dress.  She has a mind of her own, with a hatchet (Yes, I said a hatchet.) at the top of her Christmas list this year.  She is my youngest daughter, and I love her to pieces.

However, that doesn't mean that I don't often make the mistake of trying to get this unique creature, with her smorgasbord of diagnoses, to conform to what I think she should be.  Our latest contentious tussle was with her hair.  She has the most amazing, silken locks that glisten with at least a dozen lovely colors when the light hits them.  Unfortunately, the world usually doesn't get to see her beautiful hair because it is pulled into a ponytail and flipped up on top of her head, underneath a hat or a do-rag.  The head ware, she tells us, gives her the sensory input she needs to function and concentrate.
 
A few weeks ago, she decided that she wanted a haircut.  She nagged me relentlessly until I made the appointment at the salon.  I never really gave it a second thought...  That is until we were in the car on the way to the appointment.
"I want my hair cut as short as my brothers!", she exclaimed.
"Whoa!  No way!  Only to the shoulders," I insisted.
"But you said that I can do anything I want with my hair because hair always grows back."
It's hard to do battle with your child when they fight you with your own words.  And knowing I had said that very thing to her, I had to ask myself why I was so adamant that I didn't want her to have such short hair.

Perhaps the reason I fought my child is because I get tired of the explanations.  After 11 years of being considered a poor parent because of her behavior, I am worn.  The inappropriate remarks by others about her sexuality get pretty old.  They think they know who she is merely because she is more athletic and prefers no-frills clothing.  Her quirkiness and antics cause people to question me relentlessly.  I am buried in unsolicited advice from grocery clerks to distant relatives.  It gets exhausting.

If I am painfully honest with myself, my reason for wanting to change her is because I sometimes want her to fit my expectations and the expectations of others.  I want things to be easier with her and for her.  I don't want other kids and other adults giving her a hard time for her differences.  But then, when I focus on what I want, I am not accepting the beautiful, distinct creature God made her to be.

One of the best Christmas gifts I could give this precious child of mine is the gift of acceptance.  That is exactly what I gave her at that salon appointment.  We got some of their hairstyle books and she paged through the short options as we waited for our beautician.  The other stylists in the salon gasped at her choice, asking her if she was sure.  Confidently, she agreed to donate her hair to Locks of Love as the length was rapidly trimmed away.

While I awaited the final result, I couldn't help but think that over 2,000 years ago, another Person came into this world, struggling with the expectations of others.  They all had notions of what He should be, how He should arrive, who He would associate with, and how He should behave.  He didn't conform to their images.
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not." (John 1:11, KJV)
When we listen, really listen to that one who is sent into our lives, we see with love, not with a mission to change them to conform to our own desires.  We see what is true rather than what is deceptively pleasing.

My girl came out after getting styled and looked like the cute little sprite I know her to be.  Her head no longer hurts from having to pull that ponytail up under her hat, so that kids won't touch it.  She has switched her choice of hat to a handmade camo knit cap that allows her adorable whispy bangs to peek out. 

I love her as is, for the person God made her to be, not for who I would prefer her to be.  That gift of acceptance is perhaps the sweetest offering any of us can make -- to both the Babe in a Manger or to our own child.

PRAY:  Father, gently remind me not to abandon the child you have blessed me with for the child I sometimes foolishly desire.  Equip me with Your Holy Spirit wisdom to be the best advocate and helper my child could ever need.  Let my love and acceptance be water to my child's soul, helping them blossom into the remarkable individual You intend them to be.

~ Barb Dittrich

2 comments:

  1. Great post, Barb! Great reminder and challenge to us all! She does look adorable! Like me and you, God isn't finished with her yet! We are all caught between "the already and the not yet" - especially Little Miss! :o)

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  2. The hatchet thing is pretty cool. Would she be interested in volunteering for our ministry team?

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