My life is blessed with some of the very sweetest, warmest friends in the world. Lately I have been mulling over how much I want to blog about these precious ladies, but the last couple of weeks have been horrendous as I’ve dealt with my teenage son, and I’ve been completely unable to find the time to write.
My sweet sisters have stood with me and held me up when I’ve been too weak to stand alone, but more on that next time. Tonight, I need to address my own faith and others’ perception of it. You see, several of these tender-hearted, giving, loving women have made the same comment to me, repeatedly, over the last couple of weeks. NONE of them have had any maliciousness or condemnation present in their voices. NONE of them would carry such a thing in their hearts. I am confident each one’s sole intent was to encourage me.
Repeatedly I have been admonished to not think the way I am thinking and have been encouraged to remember that “all things are possible through Christ.” Granted, my sadness probably rounds every corner before I do. Granted, my long face is even longer lately. But, I honestly don’t think that what I’m feeling or experiencing denotes a lack of faith.
My faith kept me hoping for 26 years that my hateful, evil mother would soften and learn to love me. My faith is what allowed me to reach out to her and apologize for the difficulties I brought into her life, in spite of there being no indication that she even cared. I suspected that she would brush me off. I suspected that she would only see my offer as a weakness, but I trusted my Lord’s prompting. She, in fact, took her hatred for me to her grave. But, I have peace that I tried. She did not die and leave questions or doubt in my own mind. I don’t have to suffer the guilt or pain of wondering if one more attempt from me would have reconciled her to me.
My faith is also what allowed me to reach out to my dad. We had not spoken for several years when I called him to apologize for my rebellious teen years. It had been so bad shortly before I called him that when I had seen him in the local post office he totally ignored me. However, I felt impressed upon by the Holy Spirit to honor my mother and my father, in accordance with the fifth commandment, so I obeyed His prompting and called them both. That phone call opened the gateway to healing that brought about a total restoration of our relationship, and I was gifted with a glorious three years with my dad before he passed away. I shudder to think what I would have missed out on had I not been faithful to my Lord’s prompting.
It was my faith in what I’d been taught that kept me submissive to my abusive husband and hanging on, hoping for his salvation, praying for his conversion for sixteen long, tortuous years. I did not retaliate. I did not grow bitter. Instead, I took it all to the Lord in prayer. I committed my marriage to the Lord and trusted that He would bless my effort. Until I read two books: Captivating and Boundaries in Marriage. I then realized that when scripture says Christ came to set the captives free, it was referring to me! Christ LOVED me. He beheld a unique beauty in me and desired that I experience love and protection in my marriage. Then, it was my faith in my Savior that enabled me to lovingly set appropriately safe boundaries with my husband, gently explaining to him why I could not accept or tolerate certain behavior.
Now, it is in faith that I am able to let my 16 year old son go. It is in faith that I relinquish him to the public school system for three months while we await the start date of the military school. When I say that my son exhibits every indication that he is following in his father’s footsteps, I say it with resignation. I say it with the pain of a mother’s broken heart. I say it with worry for my son’s future victims. When I quote statistics and name his behavior with a psychological term, I am merely trying to lend validity to the wickedness I see him embracing. Do I believe Christ is able to draw him back? Most certainly! Do I believe God desires to see my son back in relationship with Himself and our family? Most certainly!
However, just as I accepted the fact that my mother did not ever love me, in spite of my softening before her, and just as I accepted the fact that my husband would most likely abandon me, rather than become the loving head of our family God called him to be, I now accept that my son appears to be choosing a dark path for his life. It may be for a season. It may be for eternity. Either way, I trust God that He has it all worked out, and His ways are perfect. Even if they conflict with what I want.
I don’t feel like that is a lack of faith. I think that is just an acknowledgement of reality.
Bad things happen. Bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen to praying people. Bad things just happen in this fallen world. While love believes all things and hopes all things, we also have to recognize that God did not promise us Heaven here on this earth. Jesus said that we will have trials and tribulations here and not to be astonished by them.
Hebrews 11 gives us the Hall of Faith tribute to those “who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.”
But it doesn’t end there.
It continues: “And, others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea,moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy;) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise. God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”
These had faith, a good report through faith, but received not the promise.
Six years ago today my cousin birthed identical twin sons. She had one nearly grown son from her first marriage, and these little boys were the beloved product of her happy second marriage. One boy lived just short of three weeks, the other lingered for six. Later that year she lost her job, and three years later she was diagnosed with MS. Has she lost her faith through all of this? No. Because, her faith was not based upon believing that God would answer every prayer with a miracle. Her faith is based upon believing that God is still God, and she will one day live in a perfect world where she will be healthy and she will be reunited with her sons who were prematurely taken from her in this world.
Did I lose my faith when my mother rejected me even as she lay dying? Did I lose my faith as my husband abandoned me with the debt and robbed me of everything I brought into the marriage? Did I lose my faith when my dad was taken at the time I needed him most? Is that why I now am uncertain as to the outcome of my son’s rebellion? Have I lost my faith along with everything else I’ve lost over the last couple of years? So, now I’m unable to believe that God will restore my son?
NO! I have simply suffered enough loss and seen enough things end poorly in spite of fervent prayer to know that God is not a big Sugar Daddy in the sky. I am realistic. I pray. I hope. But, I don’t expect God to deliver the goods simply because I asked for them. I’m not that cocky to expect Him to jump at my request. My faith is in God’s wisdom. Should I get to Heaven and find my daddy not there……should my son become an abuser like his father……..should I end up alone and destitute…………God is still God, and His ways are above our ways.
I have ALL faith that He can perform absolutely anything. I just understand that sometimes He chooses not to. And, though I ache over that, I accept it. Because I trust Him.