to really, truly, and honestly love unconditionally?
I was listening to a podcast with "my girl" by one of her favorite authors, Ted Dekker. The main topic was God's love and acceptance. He spoke of the prodigal son who took his inheritance early from his father, who went out and spent it all on drink and women and partying and doing whatever he wanted to do....but no matter how lost he became, he never stopped being the father's son. The father never stopped being his father. You can read the story here: Luke 15: 11-24...and if you keep reading through to verse 32 it goes on to describe what many of us have experienced with the siblings of "our kids."
The relationship between the father and the prodigal son, while strained and maybe even broken in some ways, could not be severed. (Depending on what is going on in your life, I FULLY understand that this can be viewed as good news or not so good news lol) Of course it made me think of our relationships with our kids. No matter what, no matter how far they drift and take themselves out from under the covering of our family, they are never not a part of us. Most importantly, nothing can change them from being God's child.
He went on to talk about the "love chapter" in the Bible....1 Corinthians 13. The verse he focused on was verse 5. "Love does not take into account a wrong suffered."
I will be honest, that hit me. In our early years I used to list off everything good we had done, and everything bad she had done. I wanted to build my case for why she should change, needed to change, it was desperation in all of its damaging ugliness, beating my struggling girl over the head with guilt and shame. Yes, I did that. I have made amends many times for what has come out of my mouth through the years...but on that car ride the other day, I realized, while I have learned to be quiet, I still have every wrong done, every dollar spent, every lie told to us, every drama, tied up neatly in a ball, all held together with a web of twine, right in the center off my heart. I burst into tears, which laughably, she is used to. LOL I couldn't even talk about it with her. I just had to process this realization and feel it and think it all through. I knew that it was another layer of my onion being peeled back. I know that when things are revealed its time to deal with them, to let them go, to make things right if necessary, so that I can free of those ties. So that SHE can be free of the past.
At the same time the dad was going to a class on conflict resolution in the workplace where he was hearing about how we come "at" people with a story in mind. If someone is morbidly obese, we see them a certain way. If someone is really quiet and introverted we assume certain things about them. If we have a history with someone, that colors our present with them. The teacher spoke of laying those stories down and seeing what today would bring. Being open to things being different than what we see in the immediate moment.
The struggle of course is when there is SO MUCH history, how do you let that go? I had to look at the purpose my ball of twine and resentments was serving. They were giving me the false sense of protection. If I held onto those memories, then I wouldn't be taken by surprise, anything could happen and I would be ready. Or so I thought. If I laid my ball down I would have a big vulnerable opening right there in the middle of my spirit, just waiting to be pierced at the next upset. Can I risk laying it down? Can I risk being hurt and afraid... again? Im figuring that part out. More than anything else though, I don't want to be the one who ties my girl to her past and wont let her free.
Im being asked to step out in faith and trust that God see's it all, that He has a plan, and to let go. Again. I think I live a pretty surrendered life most of the time. There are so many daily choices that we make to surrender our will.....but then when I least expect it, I hear something that peels back my layers and takes me to an even deeper level, a level I didn't even know existed.
Onward, in love and prayer and by the grace of God.