It is about to happen. Our eldest, first to leave, is heading off to college. Someone just said to me (as was told to them when their first departed) that it is like taking your arm, cutting it off, and sending it away. I am really feeling this. Of course it is natural and right for children to grow, leave, learn to become useful adults, and eventually start their own families. Of course this is what we have always wanted for our children. The reality of it happening is still feeling like something breaking. I think it might feel like how regeneration can feel. We need to ask the Lord to take pieces of us and push them away or to the sides so we can improve and become better. It is a healthy progression, but it still hurts. I can’t wait to see what each of our children will do with their lives, families and many uses. I just hope that we have provided them with good tools for these new uses.
“There are two states that man must enter upon and pass through, when from being natural he is becoming spiritual. The first state is called Reformation, and the second Regeneration. In the first man looks from his natural to his spiritual state and longs for that state; in the second state he becomes spiritual-natural. The first state is formed by means of truths, which must be truths of faith, and through these he looks to charity; the second state is formed by means of the goods of charity, and by these he enters into the truths of faith. Or what is the same, the first is a state of thought from the understanding, and the second a state of love from the will. When this latter state begins and is progressing, a change takes place in the mind; the mind undergoes a reversal, the love of the will then flowing into the understanding, acting upon it and leading it to think in accord and agreement with its love; and in consequence so far as the good of love comes to act the first part and the truths of faith the second, man is spiritual and is a new creature; and he then acts from charity and speaks from faith; he feels the good of charity and perceives the truth of faith; and he is then in the Lord, and in peace, and thus regenerate.” True Christian Religion 571
The first thing I noticed when I arrived in the U.S. was the accents. It was surreal…it felt like I was on a movie set! Three years later, I don’t notice them anymore, however, it has certainly made me more conscious of the way I speak and what I say. As I find my words becoming infected with an American accent, I am reminded of how important communication is. We talk to people every day – it is a vital part of our lives, and yet, I often find myself struggling to communicate effectively with people.
A conversation with a stranger is simple: learn their name, learn something about them, wish them well. Sometimes you might need something from them, such as assistance at a checkout or directions. It is conversations with acquaintances or even friends, however, that I find difficult. There are many possible reasons for this: we are all subject to the human desire to be accepted and we don’t want to be ridiculed by someone for a simple, snap judgment that is based on limited information. We want to be seen as ‘nice people’. Still, no matter what excuses we come up with to not have deep conversations with people—whether it be to maintain a good impression or to protect ourselves from judgment and rejection—it is still necessary to have these conversations. Human connection requires it. We require shared experiences that discourage us from focusing solely on ourselves and sharing shows us that no one really has it figured out, we’re all flawed and learning as we go.
“And by his stripes we are healed. ” (Isaiah 53:5 )
Healing is a miraculous process, and yet we never seem to give thanks for it. It would sound rather humdrum, like ‘thanks for the maintenance’, no more than an afterthought. We glory in creation and if we are responsive to the Lord’s bounty we give thanks every day, but maintenance is generally considered to be rather menial although it keeps us going.
I am presently reminded of it as I am recovering from a minor foot operation in which a stainless-steel plate and eight screws were removed from my left foot. They had been inserted there three years previously, during a lengthy foot reconstruction, and had never settled comfortably in my flesh. Without them I feel liberated, though the scar makes its presence felt from time to time: mostly at untimely moments when I crave total healing. The worst aspect of feet is that they are forced to bear the full weight of the human being before they are ready. Not my favourite body part – we are not good friends.
Spiritual healing is even more demanding. As we examine ourselves, we inevitably stumble across an area of our lives that badly needs reconstruction and repair. We are obliged to act in the opposite way from what we have been used to although we have only damaged tools to use. We are, because we are human, operating within the limits of mediate good. The Lord does not expect perfection at once, but if we try, and ask for His lavish help, He will help us to heal and enjoy the happiness that He has designed for us. By His coming He has enabled us to be liberated from the tyranny of pain and evil ‘and by his stripes we are healed’. He has freed us to be healthy through the strengthening of our will and love. ‘Thank You for the maintenance’ comes naturally at last.
Editor’s note – today’s post was written by Lori Odhner and published as a Marriage Moat. Lori writes these messages and sends them as weekday emails as well as posting them on social media. Throughout the year ahead we’ll be sharing a few of our favorites.
There is a line in a song that I have wondered about.
“Unrevealed until its season, only God alone can see.”
It explores cycles, and emerging fruit as evidence of how God brings life from emptiness. The splendor of birth never gets old.
Yet there is another reason God tarries.
Before John and I were married we were both complacent about our tempers. Or rather, the lack of them. We had no occasion to get snippy as single adults which was proof that we were unflappable. We might not have been brash enough to say as much, but we thought it.
It turned out that anger was a very present danger, and I saw an aspect of my character that had been dormant. I had no awareness that it was part of who I was. God did. But He took His sweet time allowing me to find out.
It might be tempting to suggest that motherhood was the cause of my angst. But that is as much of an illusion as the notion of a sunrise. The orb of light didn’t arrive out of nowhere. It was me who was in the dark.
Uncovering my personal propensity to fury, or blame, or contempt is not a feel good situation. But ignorance as an excuse has an expiration date. There comes a point when I need to own up to my dark side.
Upheaval is more than an exercise in confusion. It is a chance to uncover ugliness so that we might choose otherwise. It was not that I had decided to be a calm person, pre babies. It was that no one had ever tested the tensile strength of my serenity.
My prayer as I step between the land mines that have been buried into the current landscape, is to disarm the bombs within me.