|They're not mine.|
Back in high school (or was it college? I don't really remember.), I learned that there is a culture somewhere in Africa (or was it Asia? I realize I'm starting to lose credibility here, but just hear me out) whose language does not use possessive pronouns. There is no "my" or "mine" or "yours" or "hers" or "his". If a person wants to talk about her husband, she'd call him "the man I married" or something like that. And if she wanted to talk about her son, she'd call him "the child I birthed." It gets a little more complicated with things like "my couch" ("the couch I purchased when I was newly married") or "my gray sweater" ("the sweater that the woman who gave birth to me gave to me for the anniversary of when she gave birth to me last year"), but all in all, I kind of like the idea of no possessive pronouns.
Because here's the thing. We don't belong to each other. Scott is not my husband, and Ben and Caleb are not my children. We are on loan to each other. There is Someone higher and mightier who truly owns us, and while it's true that Scott is more MY husband than he is YOURS, the only one he really belongs to is God.
And the only one I really belong to is God as well.
How absolutely freeing is that?
Today was a rough day. The boys were very disrespectful, very hyper, and very cranky. There was lots of wrestling going on, which turned to pushing, which turned to screaming. Much of the screaming was done on my part. We're doing this 1,2,3, Magic thing, and it works most of the time, but today it seemed the only thing that could get those two to settle down was for me to yell at them. But not ten minutes later they were back at it again. I wanted to pull my hair out. I could not believe the way those two were treating each other, me, their toys, and my stuff. I could not wait for Scott to get home. I told them more than once that they were acting like jerks.
And then I sat down and read the bible. I was in Luke when something triggered my memory about the Africans without possessive pronouns.
And I remembered that these children are not mine.
They are on loan to me from God, who loves me, and knows the plans He has for me. Plans to prosper me, not to harm me (that's in Jeremiah 22. Go look it up. You will love it.).
Sure, I carried these little people for 40 back-breaking weeks, pushed them out of me, and have spent the last five years making sure they are well-fed, warm, secure, and polite. Sure, I have some days exhausted every resource I know of trying to get them to behave. Sure, I have done things I never thought I'd do, like swear off highly-processed, preservative-laden food so I can make sure they grow up without cancer or personality disorders.
But, really, they do not belong to me.
So I need to take reeeeeeeeallly good care of them while they're in my care. I need to love on them and teach them how to grow up to be good men and set firm boundaries and play with them and be silly with them and give them good routines and teach them responsibility and give them eskimo kisses because one day God will want to know what I did with what he loaned to me.
I don't know about you, but I want to give Him the right answers.