Friday, October 7, 2011


Last year at our church's Harvest Festival there were a variety of games we could play.  One of them was the Mummy Game.  You stand still as your partner runs around you, unwinding a large roll of toilet paper.  You race against another team to see who can unroll the toilet paper first. In the end, you look like a wrapped up mummy (albeit a messy one!)

It was a fun game, and not as easy as it sounds.  (I, personally, enjoyed the eating-a-donut-hanging-off-a-string-with-no-hands one.  I pretty much dominated that one!)

My daughter played the mummy game a number times. One particular time she teamed up with an overzealous partner who speedily unwound three rolls of toilet paper all over her. Nearly every part of her was covered, but her feet.

She stood there, looking like a TP mummy. I wouldn't have recognized her if it weren't for her sparkling prices shoes!

I helped unwind her, layer by layer, until I was able to see and recognize my little girl again.  She said, "Whew, now I'm me again!"

Adopting an older child has had it's blessings, but it has also come with its share of challenges.  There are behaviors and habits that were developed long before she came.  Some are positive, but others are foreign and even detrimental. Some are just down-right frustrating.

But, as I've studied, prayed and pondered about it, I realized that she is playing the Mummy game, although this time it was not of her own choice.

Deep inside is my little girl.  She is strong, sweet, intelligent, patient, loving and kind.  She has amazing potential.  But, covering up much of who she really is are her behaviors.

She is wrapped up in fear and anxiety.  She has layers of sadness and anger.  Since she was young she had partners who ran around her with instability, abuse and neglect. So, now she comes to our home, wrapped in layers; and it's my job to unwind them, layer by layer, until I can see her.

I struggle because sometimes I forget that I am not seeing her, but the layers that she is wrapped up in; when she throws a fit, when tells a lie, when she makes other choices that are contrary to what we teach and practice on our home, I need to remind myself not to just stare at the layers, but to look beyond them.  I remind myself that she is under the layers, and it's my job to get to her.

This concept of layers doesn't only apply to adopted children.  They apply to all.

We are all covered in layers to some degree. Some are wrapped so tightly that it is nearly impossible to see who they really are.  They might even know who they are inside.  Others have only a thin layer; perhaps of insecurity or sadness.  But, we all have layers.

When I see someone acting in a negative way, intentional or not, I have to remind myself that behaviors are  layers.  And when I get frustrated with them, and perhaps even develop feelings of dislike for them, I have to remind myself of a saying I once heard "You cannot love behaviors."

It is difficult look at a person or child who is hurting you or attacking you and think warm fuzzies- because you can't love behaviors.

The key is to look beyond the behaviors, beyond the layers to the person wrapped up inside.  Often they cannot find their way out without help.  And almost always, they want deep down inside to feel like themselves again. Deep down we all want to be happy.

So, when I am offended by an adult, or frustrated by a child, I tell myself they are layers, not them.

Underneath we all want the same thing: to be valued, to be loved, to be needed and to be worthy.  In most cases, the people with the most behavioral issues are the ones with the most layers.  They are the ones that want to be freed the most, even if they don't know it.

I know I have my layers.  Sometimes I will say or do something contrary to who I feel I am because I am acting out of insecurity, anger or selfishness.  That isn't easy to admit, but it's true.  And, I would hope that those around me would try to look beyond my layers, too.  That they would try to see me, my righteous desires, and my potential.  And I would hope that they would love me for me, not judge me because of my layers, but see through them.

I love my daughter.  She is a challenge, with many layers.  It will probably be a life-long endeavor to unwrap them, but she is worth it.

PS- For those of you who were wondering, there is the matter of accountability we all have to unwrap our own layers.  Regardless of what has happened to us, we are accountable for how we act and what we do. This post in no way is dismissing personal accountability. (That's a whole different post!)  It is simply a visual that helps me get past the choices that some people make and see them for who they are.  It makes it easier to love them, not their behaviors. 


  1. I SO needed this today. It has been one of those less than ideal days (possibly weeks) at our house and this really helped me to put it all in perspective. Thank you again for your awesomness!

  2. Who is this amazing person that writes all these blogs? I found you by mistake and today looking for a former post I had shared with my mom and read this! My head works this way. This is a story I would tell and it is beautiful! I think behind all your layers is someone that looks a lot like me! Just love that you do this. Love it!

  3. Thank you both for your comments :) Cassie- you are the sweetest. And welcome CJ! I have a little collection of blogs, it's true. LOL. It's getting harder to keep up with all of them! Thank you for coming by and commenting, though. I get a bit of traffic, but rarely get comments, and it makes me so happy that people can relate! Thank you again!