From Susan Hillis:
It strikes me as ironic that at this Christmas season it is so easy for me to ignore a central fact of the Christmas story: Mary was pregnant and single. Like so many young girls around the world. Like one of our daughters.
And in spite of the judgment that comes by many, the image of God is being perfectly formed in Mary...so much so that we read that Jesus is "the exact imprint of His nature." (Heb 1:3) And the image of God is being formed in them. And the image of God is being formed in her. Indeed and in deed, God "forms their inward parts;" God "knits them together in their mother's wombs." (Ps 139:15). I am relearning some of these lessons about how easy it is for me to chose judgment over grace, and I am excited that the Lord is moving me to see His image in those I can so easily judge.
I have been thinking for the past several days about that section from the book by Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz, where the believers on the liberal campus have a 'Confession Booth' over that 'debauchery week end.' The latter has some inviting-sounding-name, but that is what it is. You may know the story. The Christians begin receiving drunk and high folks around midnight, who come into their tent and have a seat. And the believers say, 'we want to apologize for failing to love you.' There was a sense of the believers coming to see, even in those walking in overt rebellion, something of the nature and image of God.
So....while we have most of our 10 children doing so very well, there are a few whose choices have differed from what we expected and hoped....they have made the kind of choices that tempt me to feel like a failure as a mom...yet I am refusing to take that on! Here, for those few who are walking in 'affliction,' are some hidden testimonies (By the way, I dare you to do a word study of the terms 'testimonies' and 'affliction' of Ps 119 in the ESV...the testimonies should always outnumber the afflictions, if we but have eyes to see. "In the way of your testimonies I delight," Ps 119:14):
- We went to visit a daughter recently, who has been living with her boyfriend ...she and he are involved in a church and bringing their neighbor friends who are struggling to the church - and they are seeing her boyfriend's parents come with them to the church. They are working hard at a house repair business, together, and wanting to get married they say. I felt nudged by the Holy Spirit to ask the boyfriend's forgiveness for judging him so severely all these months. His eyes filled with tears so much that he couldn't even speak. 'Ma'am, I had been praying so much you would find it in your heart to give me a chance. I love your daughter.' (He recently fell and has a serious back injury! pray for him!)
- Another daughter has been living from hotel to hotel, with all that involves, for over a year, in and out of jail with her boyfriend. I have been concerned for her and thankful for the clear direction to keep the relationship - she calls me often. I had so judged her boyfriend's mom, who I am told has many kids, each with a different father, and many felonies. Well, of all things, last night this daughter tells me "Mommy, [my boyfriend's] mom is really changing. She is very involved in a church and is trying to get us to come with her. She has quit all that bad stuff she was doing. Now she is even trying to quit smoking. She is turning her life around mom and she is trying to help us do the same thing." And I am thinking, "O, Lord, I never would have expected You to begin to work in HER!" I had just longed for her to disappear, to be out of their lives.
- And finally, we have a dear daugther who is pregnant and unmarried. I am trusting she and her boyfriend will grow to love the Lord deeply and personally through all this. God is opening up SCANDALOUS provision for her, and I mean SCANDALOUS - we pray she learns to steward this provision responsibly, for God's glory, as she moves to live with some dear friends for a time.
The Ending is Good
BUT GOD....His love never fails, never gives up. Even if we are in the depths He is here (Ps 139 "Where can I flee from Your presence?"). Like the mama bunny in the classic children's book, The Runaway Bunny, who
promises her son she will be wherever he runs to, God is like that with me....and with my children. And He is like that with you and your children. May you have eyes to see His image, over these holidays, in the least of these that are 'insiders' in your lives!!!
For many months now this phrase has been in my mind: "Only adopt kids if you are willing to be crucified by them, but there IS a glorious resurrection. "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me." Galatians 2:20. I had thought of that for me. That the Lord is bigger, for me, than the heartache. I am beginning to see anew, this is true for them as well. Sometimes is seems like my life is a movie! And I trust in the Lord that the ending is good - even though I may be in the scary part right now.
Much much love! It's THANKSGIVING time!
Blessings to you!