I spent a lot of my childhood feeling in the way. As a teen I took on unnecessary guilt for things that happened in my family that were out of my control. I desperately needed not just my parents‘ approval but their enthusiasm about being involved with me. Instead I got pushed aside in the middle of a nasty divorce, expected to pick up the slack in what was once a two parent household, and blamed for things that I had no control over. I spent good bit of time wishing I had never been born because I felt I had no purpose. I was in the way in the middle of a bad situation that I couldn’t fix, and no one was willing to fight for ME or care about MY feelings. If God hadn’t blessed me with a boyfriend (now my husband) wise and caring beyond his years, I know for a fact that I would have walked away from God, certain that He didn’t care either.
There have been times in my life that I felt SO very alone and unwanted, but looking back I can see how those times have prepared me for the calling God would place on my life.
A child, especially one who has experienced family turmoil, needs to feel wanted. They need someone to prove to them that they are not just loved, they are needed, cherished, and above all wanted, more than anything else. They need to feel that someone is not happy without them. There is no better feeling in the world than to know that you and the things you are good at, the things you love, are important to someone else. A child who has felt rejection expects rejection. Sometimes they will even TRY to make people reject them because its easier to do on their terms than to have it hit them in the face unexpectedly. A child that has been rejected needs to be fought for. They need someone willing to go to bat and prove to them that they are a wanted and needed member of a family.
A child who continually feels in the way never learns to appreciate their own gifts or explore their own talents. They don't value themselves or the gifts God has blessed them with if there is never anyone there to tell them how special they are. A child needs to hear a parent say "I don't care what everyone else did. I was too busy watching you."
While we were hosting our boys during Christmas, I needed to run out and get groceries one night. I decided to wait until we had put all 5 of the kids to bed and go after that. D was the last one downstairs and saw me putting on my boots. He asked where I was going and I told him “Soopearmarket.” I didn’t need to speak Ukrainian to understand that he was asking if he could come too. In my “mom mindset” I told him no it was bedtime and he headed upstairs while I went to walk out the door. But then it hit me. He wanted to go get groceries with me. How many times had a mother taken him shopping? I turned around and told him to get his shoes and come with me. I have never seen a child light up like that. At the store he wouldn’t even let me touch the cart. he wanted to push it. He wanted to be needed. He would ask if I wanted pretty much every item on the shelf and I thought it was because he wanted those things. I asked him if he liked canned pickles? “Nov, mama.” He just wanted to help me. I listed the items we needed and tried to describe them in my broken Russian and he listened as if he knew what I was saying. It took me twice as long to get groceries that night and I had to explain to a 10 year old that flasks really aren’t appropriate for children and papa doesn’t want cases and cases of beer, but I am so glad I took him. It would have been so easy to say that I just wanted to go alone so I could get done quicker, but what does that prove? That a child is not worth the extra time? I know that feeling all too well.