Attitude Adjustment?


Jonni and Emily

by Jonni Sliver

Sometimes I struggle to maintain a “Christian Attitude”. I know that doesn’t sound good coming from a missionary. I also know that my battle is not against flesh and blood, and that the families of the children we receive are sought after by the Spirit of God, the same as the children are. But there are times when the reality of what has been done to our little ones is just more than I can handle.

Emily is two and a half years old. She is an absolute princess – lovely, sweet, smart as a whip and affectionate and funny. She has been with us for nearly three months but it is just the last month that we have been able to  see a lot of those qualities because she arrived in a state of near panic, trusting no one – step by step she opened her little heart to first one of the house moms, then another. Today she is open and trusting in all of us. That is why I was able to take her to a clinic this week to have tests run, this sweet little lady squeezed my fingers  as the nurse drew blood and giggled as I turned a rubber glove into a balloon for her.

That giggle filled my heart but didn’t take away the anger because of why we were there.  The tests are for HIV, Hepatitus B and C, and Syphilis (I mentioned she is 2 and a half, didn’t I?). She is with us because her father treated her in forms I can’t even talk about. She is also with us because her grandparents, who say they love their grand baby, feared their son more, and so let him take Emily for visits, even though the child cried and begged them to not go. Emily learned that adults can’t to be trusted.

Recently my devotional reading was in Exodus 22. The chapter is basic law, pretty cut and dry: if this happens, this is the penalty. That is until you get to verses 22-24:  

“Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.”  

When talking about the defenseless, God takes the situation personally. He hears, His anger is aroused, He acts! As I read those words I felt something being released in my heart. God understood my struggles with my attitude. He understands my anger, because what Emily has gone through angers His heart too! On the other hand, He doesn’t ask me to act out my anger against what Emily’s father has done. He is able to settle accounts; He is responsible for bringing justice. What the Lord has asked me (us) to do is to minister His healing, His grace into Emily’s life (and all of our children’s hearts, no matter their age or scars). And that work is our privilege!

Editor’s note:  Jonni recently let us know that this precious little Emily’s tests all came back negative!  Praise God!