Some months ago my friend Renee was telling me that I must watch “La Vie en Rose,” the tragic biopic of French chanteuse Edith Piaf. She went on describe that this heartwrenching tale would grip my soul and make me want to pity and rescue Edith from the brothel, street and circus (literally and figuratively) life she lived throughout her life. I watched the movie this morning. Shuffled from parent to parent and place to place for convenience sake, I found myself crying for Edith, for the millions of abandoned and unwanted children worldwide and even for my own. I say my own because in my own way of not wanting to be inconvenienced (I planned to do this, but the baby demands my attention, and I resent him this moment), I communicate I don’t want him. I don’t want him to bother me right now; I don’t want him to change my plans; I don’t want him to mess up my day; I don’t want him to keep me from my goals; I don’t like that he changed my life.
My sister told me that there were some mothers on Oprah last week who felt a similar way. She said some of them ignored the cries, drank themselves numb and coped in some other ways. I didn’t see it or hear how the show ended, but I know how it ends for me. As a recovering strong black woman, God quickly showed me what my “small” thoughts of my children being an inconvenience can lead to; in my quiet time He led me to watch “La Vie en Rose,” and I know what He wanted me to see: the negative effect of neglect on a child’s life, no matter how small or lengthy, how quiet or loud. He wanted me to understand that the impact could be tragic, and I don’t want to be blamed for that.
Of course I have long understood the negative impact of neglect, but I’m not always aware of how my passing thoughts of discontent land, connect, and create a massive rumbling in my mind that occasionally displays as a cold stare, harsh words or huge huffs and sighs. I cannot love my children and care for them myself; I need the Lord. I have to remember that children are a heritage from the Lord and a reward from Him (Psalm 127:3). Through Him I can love and care for them selflessly and not tragically. I must remember His sacrifice of Jesus Christ and make that sacrifice my own. Lay down my life to perfect the lives of others, my children. God has given me the power through His Holy Spirit. I will tap into that power and be the armor bearer God has called me to be. Listen to exactly what I mean.
Copyright by Rhonda J. Smith 2009