During the last 2 months I have chuckled to myself and looked forward to being able to share with anyone who wanted to listen. It's no secret that parenting has been getting the best of me the last 8 months or so. We only have 2 children, both sons, and our oldest is 24. Our youngest is 15. I am in awe at how challenging it seems to be to navigate through the turbulent waters of the teenage years. And every child, every person, every parent is different. No one, pat answer works for every situation. Thank the Good Lord for the Holy Spirit and the ability to be led by the Spirit and let the Word of God continue to refresh and transform us, from the inside out.
At the beginning of April I posted about us getting the flu at our house, for the second time in a few months. Just a few days after that, I posted about my husband falling and breaking his arm. Those don't much sound like answers to prayers do they? But, both situations most certainly were! Did The Lord make us sick? NO! Did He cause Jerry to fall and break his arm? NO! So how could these be the answers to prayers? Well, I will try to 'splain it! Wish me luck!
By the end of March I was in much anguish over certain relationships in my family. I had already tussled with issues of faith in regards to this, months ago. I had come to the place where I knew that regardless of how things played out, or at least how they looked to be playing out, me and God, we were good. Come what may, I would continue to serve Him faithfully, even if it looked to the outside observer that my faith was unfruitful. Just typing the words sounds so sterile. But coming to that place, is ANYTHING but! There is a huge reward on the other side of this decision, which is why the enemy works so hard to prevent us from making this stand of faith. It the last thing the enemy wants to see, and it is the very thing God is looking for! When we decided we will serve God regardless, the enemy has nothing to hold over us anymore. It is extremely liberating. I think also, that we can't truly, truly cast our cares until we struggle and then get the victory of faith in these issues. That doesn't remove the heartache that comes from the broken and damaged relationships and lives of those we love and care for. Or whatever the matter of faith might be in your life, you fill in the blank.
At the end of March, that is certainly where I was, heartache. It was completely beyond me to fix. Utterly and completely. I remember on a Sunday afternoon, as I puttered in the kitchen after church, remembering what it was like with each of our sons when they were younger, and unquestioningly were open to us, completely openhearted. I remember praying, "Lord, could we have just one more day like that for each of them, just 1 more day, and don't let us waste it! Let us make the most of it!" I remember thinking that was an odd prayer, and wasn't sure that we even needed such a day for our oldest, but, it was how I felt to pray, so I did. I never thought about it again that day. As life will happen, that evening brought MUCH trouble to the family. Much anger, tears, angst, and hurt. And with it much grace. Yes, even in the midst of it, there was grace! I also remember praying at one point, for God to heal certain relationships in our family, at all costs, whatever it took!
By Tuesday, the flu had come to visit. First it got my Honey, then my youngest, then by Wednesday it had me. I remember seeing my youngest so sick (he lost 8 lbs in 5 days, and he is very thin already!) at one point, and tenderly taking care of him, and thinking of that prayer. I knew that this was the day that he was open to us, as we cared for him. That it was hard to maintain a grudge against people who cared for you while you were so ill. That such a thing could melt away some of the layers of bad feelings. Then when I got very ill, it had the oddest effect of bringing the family together. Since we had the flu bug in common, fighting the bug seemed to draw us together. Father and son worked together to help out while I was trying to recuperate and take care of the household at the same time. Such a little thing, just a tad of flu! Such a tool of grace in the hand of God. It was an opportunity, one that I believe we made the most of! By the time we were all on the mend (but not completely over it), along came Friday of the same week, and my Honey fell that night and broke his arm. The pain was so bad that night that he actually passed out, something he's never done in his life.
The "boys" (our sons) could hardly digest (nor could I for that matter) that our seemingly invincible, super hero could actually break his arm, much less pass out. This too, was a small thing in some ways. But, it was also a unique season and did something almost imperceptible to the naked eye. Seeing his father like this, I believe, helped our youngest to see his Father in a different light. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.
What I do know, is that during this time I have seen God change people's hearts, minds and lives in ways that only He can! There is so much of this that I would like to elaborate on, but, I think you can think of things you have experienced and just get a feel for it! We know that we all have struggles in common!
What I am saying is that God can and will use all the circumstances that this fallen world brings, and even that we ourselves bring. He will use them to heal us, transform us, teach us, reveal Himself and ourselves to us. We ask for things and we think we know what that answer should look like. If we are too hung up on what that answer "should" look like, we may miss the opportunity presented by seemingly negative circumstances. Opportunities for God to work His transforming grace and love in our hearts and minds! When the answer comes, if we don't let the Spirit lead us, we will miss our answer! Miss our opportunity! To the world, to the those who don't spiritually discern the happenings of life, our reasoning may seem foolish! However, the proof is in the pudding! :)
I leave you with these verses, and the strong affirmation that God is a good, good, merciful God!
"For while Jews [demandingly] ask for signs and miracles and Greeks pursue philosophy and wisdom, We preach Christ (the Messiah) crucified, [preaching which] to the Jews is a scandal and an offensive stumbling block [that springs a snare or trap], and to the Gentiles it is absurd and utterly unphilosophical nonsense. But to those who are called, whether Jew or Greek (Gentile), Christ [is] the Power of God and the Wisdom of God. [This is] because the foolish thing [that has its source in] God is wiser than men, and the weak thing [that springs] from God is stronger than men.". 1 Corinthians 1:22-25