My son is adopted.
He spent all but two weeks of his first 21 months in a Russian orphanage.
After more than 10 years at home with us, we still spend time in therapy each week. Most often, we’re trying to work through the issues of abandonment and rejection by his birth mother. My husband and I have tried to portray a woman we don’t know in the most positive light. To assume the best, if you will. We’ve even tried to ascribe some nobility to her actions: “She loved you enough to know she couldn’t take care of you.”
It’s hard for me to imagine the Messiah coming in any other fashion than Jesus’ bodily form.
I think that’s because it’s the only way I’ve ever heard, or known, the story. A baby. In a manger. But when I stop to consider that God put on human flesh, I really can’t imagine that either.
Seriously. God. In bodily form. The One Who caused “the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear” (Genesis 1:9) walked upon its very soil. He Who designed our bodies to need nourishment ate meals with family, friends, “sinners” and disciples. Our God — limitless in power — temporarily limited Himself to live in our circumstances and culture. Jesus was willing to release the equality He shared with God (Philippians 2:6) to serve us.
I’m not sure I’d apply for the job.
The Levitical preisthood, descended from Aaron among the tribe of Levi, had a job I’m not convinced I’d want. When I reflect on their duties, I have a mixed reaction. One part of me esteems their role highly: what a privilege to be chosen among the thousands for such important duties. They taught and blessed the people. They led them toward God and interceded on their behalves. They entered the Holy Place in the tabernacle (and temple) and burned fragrant incense.
Another part of me experiences revulsion at what their daily duties entailed: the bloody sacrifices of animals for guilt offerings. (Do you think the teenage Levites from Aaron’s line dreaded adulthood and having to go into the family business?)
He couldn’t even look me in the eyes.
The weight of yesterday’s foolishness on his conscience made it impossible for him to lock his gaze with mine. Though I had tucked him in bed with assurances of my love for him, he still awoke this morning unreconciled.
He’s since apologized and our relationship is restored, yet he still bears a countenance of guilt. I console him again with scripture:
While delivering that truth to his tender heart, I pondered why I don’t often wake with the awareness of guilt that he so frequently does. I’d love to think that’s because I have fully internalized the grace contained in the Lamentations passage.
“Because I’ve made too many mistakes.”
This was the raw response that fell from my child’s lips earlier this week. Sin had reared its ugly head in our relationship and the requisite consequences followed suit. Tears fell. The whole relational exchange was very normal (perhaps less than desirable, but normal)… up until that point. Listening as my child walked away, I overheard a disconcerting, caustic cluster of negative self-talk.
My skin isn’t thick enough.
Because I’m in my early 40’s you might expect me to have the emotional capacity to shrug off feelings of rejection. But I don’t. At least not all the time. A series of events colluded against my heart over the last few weeks:
- I’ve recently tumbled down the list of people whose opinion matters to my teenage daughter. Developmentally normal, I know, but I still feel the loss of her esteem.
- A heart-felt, oft-expressed invitation to come visit us was again turned down; our family’s hopes of sharing special time with people we love were dashed.
- Several of my children have experienced isolation from their peers, in some cases for their faith. My mother-heart feels their pain as my own.
- Our Easter Sunday was spent without the fellowship of friends or family.
He had lied. I gently confronted him in a moment of vulnerability and he confessed.
The topic of my son’s lie is essentially irrelevant — most children lie at some point, which means that many of you can relate to a parent’s perspective without my detailing it here.
Earlier in the day, my husband quizzed him about something we suspected he’d done and was met with vehement denial. When I later inquired again, his eyes fell and a quiet confession escaped his lips. We squared the issue and I encouraged him to apologize to his father for the layer of deceit.
I consider it chemotherapy for my prideful, sinful nature.
All it takes is a few moments standing at the edge of the ocean for me to be reminded swiftly and surely of my utter insignificance but for the love of God.
I got a hefty dose this week during a trip to Portland. We’d migrated to the coast mid-morning and were frustrated at the onslaught of rain, which relegated us to indoor activities instead of beach-combing and tidepool-sleuthing. My kids were quickly disinterested in the options available to us. I was quickly ‘disinterested’ in their attitudes. As the day progressed, our patience for one another eroded. Eventually, as darkness approached with rain-unabated, we pulled on rain boots, donned hats, gloves and coats, and extended umbrellas. Out we went to savor whatever we could of this precious time at the edge.
No, I’m not referring to Haddaway’s 1990’s hit, revived by the SNL ‘Roxbury’ sketches.
Every year around Valentine’s Day, 1 Corinthians 13 trends on Twitter and Facebook because of its references to love. The same passage is so commonly used in wedding ceremonies (mine included) that it’s almost a pre-requisite.
I’m tempted to roll my eyes at the litany of 1 Corinthians 13 Tweets and status updates, because the word used in that passage for love is a Greek word (agapē). Agapē describes the love that only God can manifest, not the romantic love (eros) touted on February 14th. Agapē is the word used in 1 John 4:8 to describe God Himself. By contrast, the Greek word used in the Bible to describe the interrelationships of humans is phileō.