When People are Hard to Love

When People are Hard to Love

13 days ago Florida got cold. On the first chilly night, my daughter brought her 2 bunnies from the outside hutch into our home for protection from the weather. She created a makeshift cage in her bathroom.

When we checked on them the next morning, Peyton Manning was sprawled in a corner totally relaxed, while the other bunny was frantic. She was hopping circles around the bathroom completely out of control.

As I put this crazy bunny back into her outdoor hutch, I immediately understood her unsettledness. Just before we had brought her inside, she had given birth to a litter of bunnies. These babies had been cold and alone all night hidden underneath a nest of mama’s freshly plucked white fur. Her erratic behavior was simply her determination to get back to her kits.Bunny nest

She had no desire to be held or removed from the hutch. In fact, mama bunny just wanted to be left alone.When people are hard to love

Baby Bunnies

First Hops

We rigged a landscaping spotlight to add warmth to the bottom of the hutch…which worked great until last night when the hutch caught on fire.

The section where the babies had nested was a pile of ashes. The wooden floor was gone. A portion of the hutch with a chicken-wired floor remained intact, and on it were 4 displaced babies and a freaked out mama.When people are hard to love

I spent this morning in the warmth of my kitchen checking each of the babies. Their fur smelled of smoke, an odor certain to linger for days to come. When I picked up the usually frigid mama to check her sizzled fur for deeper burns, she hid in the nook of my arm. For the first time since we got her, she fell asleep against my chest. She was exhausted from her night and embraced the security of my arms. Mama bunny finally wanted my comfort.

I spent an hour with her like this grateful I had tried one more time to comfort her. In this moment, I understood it is the same with us.

There are people in our life who are hard to love. They emotionally shut us out or push us away with harsh words because it feels easier to tackle the fires of their life alone. We think it is about us and so we retreat, but it is so often not.

They put up a hardened exterior to protect themselves. It might come across as abrasive or feel like personal rejection.

This is NOT an easy relationship… so we focus our gaze elsewhere.

I am not getting what I need from this person… and so we leave.

Have we conditioned ourselves to be drawn only to the easily lovable people in our life? The ones that are both fun to be around and authentic with where they are at? We need those relationships to refresh our souls but it can’t stop there.

I have been in that place of despair where friendships have struggled because I had nothing to give. What sustained me were those few people that continued to show up. They were loyal in my brokenness. They loved me despite my ugliness. They wanted nothing from me.

I didn’t share my struggles…or my sadness…or my pain because, at that time, I didn’t know how. I was just trying to get through lunch.

As the fires of that season in my life went out, my perspective on people changed. I understood brokenness needs to be met with compassion, and ugliness with love.When people are hard to love

I knew I wanted to embrace others exactly where they were at…requiring nothing in return because that is the gift I had been given…God’s relentless love extended to me through people.

People who are hurting feel your love even if they don’t accept it right away. If they snap, seem insensitive, or miss your birthday, show a little grace. Keep showing up. Keep loving them. Be drawn to their hidden vulnerability because we absolutely need each other. The fires of life were not meant to be fought alone.

♥ Allison

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3 Reasons to Lean In to other people’s children…especially when they stumble

3 Reasons to Lean In to other people's kids...especially when they stumbleBrrrring.

Melissa hesitated to answer. It was the dreaded phone call from the mother of the boy her 6-year-old foster child had just punched in the face on the school playground.

Melissa’s family brought Joey into their home 2 years ago while his mother tackled the consequences of her addictions. Their family loves really well even welcoming Joey’s mother into their house every Friday for an overnight while she works through her recovery.

Joey therefore looks forward to Fridays all week. Friday was a special day. Friday had significance. He knew that he would be with his mama. He didn’t see her struggles, just the face of a woman who he loved.

But 2 weeks ago, Friday came and went, and mama didn’t come…didn’t even call. Then again last Friday, no word from her. She had a setback in her recovery.

Brrrring.

Melissa humbly answered her cell ready to apologize for Joey’s playground punch.

Any parent knows that terrible feeling when your child has wronged somebody else’s beloved child. It’s not a fun place to be.

But before Melissa could speak, the other mother began,

“Hi, it’s Tam. We were hoping Joey could come over this afternoon for a playdate. We want to make sure he knows how much we still love him.”

What?????

I imagine Melissa’s mind went something like this,

“My foster child just closed-fist punched your son in the face two hours ago, and you are inviting him over for a playdate… today? So he feels loved?”

I burst into tears hearing this.

Can we just pause at her response?

Oh the love!

So much beauty is said through her words. What if we met the people in our life with a love like that? A love filled with grace and mercy that doesn’t turn when we stumble. A love that says when you wrong me, I still love you.How do we look beyond behavior to the heart of a child? Great insight into why and how we can Lean In to other people's children

What if we met other people’s children with a grace like that?

The teenager that texted inappropriately

The middle school clique filled with girl drama and gossip

The bully on the school bus

 Why and How to Lean In to other people's children when they struggle3 Ways to Lean In to our children when they stumble

 

Why it is important to Lean In to kids when they are struggle.

 

Our instinct is to pull back.

To judge.

To gossip.

To ultimately feel better about our own children and parenting.

But what if we leaned in as a community, not with judgment but GRACE and LOVE?

What would change?

Lives.

Why and How to Lean In to our youth. Our tendency to is pull away from the "bad kids" yet that opposite of what they really need.

3 Reasons to Lean In to other people's children...particularly when they stumble.

A book that has rocked my world in understanding grace is Parenting A Wholehearted Child by Jeannie Cunnion. If you desire to better understand how the grace of God can radically change your family, read it.

We don’t know the hidden stories and unseen struggles of the people around us. We often see their actions, not the pain in their heart.Often we pull away from the "bad kid" who continues to get in trouble. Here are 3 reasons why we should Lean In and how to do that.

For the 6-year-old foster boy longing to see his mother at week’s end… what was it that caused him to lash out?

Just 3 innocent words spoken by his friend.

“It’s not Friday.”

And with that his heartbreak came out in a punch.

But because one woman chose to lean in, he was met with what he really needed…Love.

 

Often we pull away from the trouble maker kids when what we really need to be doing is the opposite. Here is why and how to lean in.

  1. Kids need other adults speaking truth into them. This is especially important as children reach middle and high school. Often teenagers hear things from teachers, coaches, and other adults they might not receive from their parents. It is a different role than the parent yet can back them up by reinforcing truths from a different angle.

Andy Stanley once said, to have influence in a person’s life, we must start with a relationship. We need a relationship before our words will ever have influence. At that point, loving correction can help children see that although their actions may seem justified, there are consequences to poor choices. Our goal is not simply acceptance but changed future behavior.

  1. We have the opportunity to affirm in children who they truly are, not who their missteps dictate they are. It is a powerful moment when a child understands their identity is not based on performance or actions, but on who they are as a child of God, forgiven and covered in grace.
  1. The easiest way to show love to your friends, is to love their children wholeheartedly. Invest in those relationships. I feel most loved in my life when my friends graciously and compassionately lean into my children when they stumble. They offer hugs, encouragement, guidance and speak truth into their souls.

This is community.

Often we pull back from the trouble makers and "bad" kids when they really need us to Lean In. This post explains why relationship is the gateway to influence.10 Ways how we can Lean Into other people's kids who are stumbling and 3 Reasons why this is incredibly important.

 ♥ Allison

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A letter to my children at the start of school

A letter and challenge to my children as they head back to schoolTo my children,

I love watching the excitement build as you get ready to go back to school. You’ve labeled your supplies and placed your colored pencils in rainbow order in your pencil box. For the moment your clothes fit perfectly, and your newish school shoes are still relatively shiny. Your lunch boxes don’t have that end-of-the-year grime, and your backpacks no longer have duck tape covering the holes where you dragged them to the car.

We ‘meet the teacher’ next week with anticipation of a new year and reconnecting with our friends. We will clip flowers and make the teacher a card. We will give hugs… a lot of hugs to all of our friends.

It is an exciting day, but I want to remind you of something.A letter and challenge to my children as they head back to school.

There might be a new student in your class who doesn’t know what to expect. Remember how you felt when you were the new kid at church and didn’t know anybody? I want you to look for them and learn their name. Did you know a big smile can make a huge difference in their day?

Make a difference in somebody’s day.

When you look around, you might see a friend from last year with a broken smile. At some point that has been each of you. Maybe their smile is broken because they are nervous and uncomfortable. Maybe there’s a lot of yelling at home or their dog is sick.

 

I challenge you to notice them because everybody needs a friend.

That broken smile is sign they need one right now.

Be that friend.

 

To my middle schooler, you have a locker. You change classes. You are at an age where your friends care about hair and shoes and who is in class together. It is perfectly normal to want to be accepted and blend, but I want more for you.

My challenge to you whether you are feeling insecure, or confident, is to look beyond those immediately around you. Understand I DO want you connect with your friends, but I want your gaze to extend beyond that.

A back to school challenge as you start school

Amidst all the excited energy in the hallways, I challenge you to see the girl timidly standing by her locker not talking with anybody. Ask her about HER schedule. Invite her to walk with you (and your friends) to class.

Have room for more.

When lunchtime rolls around, intentionally notice if somebody is sitting alone or wandering awkwardly with their food. A simple invitation to eat together can make a potentially ‘horrible day’, one filled with hope.

Like I told your brothers, look for the girl with a broken smile.

Use yours to make hers whole, and in the process, yours will get a whole lot bigger too.

Have a great day!

Mommy

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