Each year my classroom is filled with a new group of students. Sometimes these students are brand new to my classroom or even our school. Sometimes they are students that were in my class last year. Regardless of their "newness" their reputation always seems to precede them.
I hear from their previous teachers how sweet or how rowdy the students are. I'm told I will love this group or this group is going to be a challenge.
It sometimes make it more challenging to allow each student to start the new year with a clean slate. But they need that clean slate. They need to be able to start fresh. They need the opportunity to grow and mature.
I need that same opportunity. I am so thankful that God gives me room to grow and mature. He gives me a clean slate each and every day. If I mess up today, I can try again tomorrow.
As Andrew and I move closer to bringing our children home through adoption, I think about this verse more and more. Our children have not had an easy life up to this point. The fact that they are no longer with their biological parents is proof of that. They have experienced things that will no doubt stay with them for the rest of their lives. They are coming into our family with a past, with a mound of paper work telling us how sweet they are or how much they will challenge us.
While Andrew and I do not believe for one second that our parenting journey is going to be easy, we do not want to place issues on our children just because of their past. We want to welcome them into our family with a clean slate. We want to be a living example in their lives of new mercies.
Children are not perfect. Children misbehave.
But children also shine. Children bring joy.
Children are gifts from God.
The word before - whether it be biological or adopted - doesn't matter.