My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, April 24, 2011

resurrection and reconciliation

Some call it Easter. Some call it Resurrection Sunday. Some consider it just another day.
For me... yes, I think about the crucifixion today... but I think about the crucifixion more than once a year. I'm a believer... and I see the crucifixion as being a crucial part of the hope that I have. How could I sustain my faith if I only considered the story of the cross once a year?
It's an important day, a Holy day but... we need to carry it with us all year long.
The tomb is empty... even now. It's about more than resurrection... it's about reconciliation... the fact that my sin doesn't separate me from my God. It's about believing that there is hope, despite my failures and shortcomings... I can be reconciled to my Maker.

I'm praying for reconciliation for this young man living with us. We had the opportunity to talk for quite a long time yesterday while Austin was still sleeping. If Austin is around, it is impossible to have a serious conversation because it's like talking to two of the three stooges... noogies and wedgies and wet willies... hard to make a point... and it's harder for me to be candid about the circumstances that surrounded my decisions 25 years ago. And this kid needs to talk... needs to process the reality that is happening in his life... needs guidance...

I watched two episodes of 16 and pregnant last night... and it occurred to me that the greatest difficulty in these crisis pregnancies comes from external factors. It's in the failure of families to accept the situation... the constant application of guilt and discouragement that the family heaps on these young people. It's the lack of empathy... the lack of forgiveness... it's piling on more responsibility instead of being supportive. I think the sentence of losing your childhood, having to assume the staggering responsibility of parenting, the physical discomfort, the emotions, the fear... I think this is punishment enough... it's a life sentence.

To me... it's a time for reconciliation. Time to reassure these kids that they will survive this. Time to model mercy and compassion. The mature adults in these situations need to keep things in perspective. The sin has already been committed... the punishment has already been handed out, a lifetime sentence... it's time for healing... piling guilt on top of guilt will not make this baby disappear or make the pregnancy less of a makes it worse.

I talked for a long time yesterday with our young man about things like allowing his mother to process this situation in her own way... allowing her to say the things she needs to say to get it off of her chest... keeping his anger under control... being contrite... but when he talked to his mother yesterday it didn't go well. I only heard his side of the conversation but I could tell that he was hearing a description of the punishment that awaits him at home... psychological exams... calling the police to report him as a runaway (which he isn't... he WANTS to go home)... additional financial responsibility of having to pay rent and other household expenses. It breaks my heart for them both. He needs his mom. He needs reassurance. He needs reconciliation.

When Robert and I got married we initially moved in with his mother because she lived by herself and my parents had a full house already. I was working full time and Robert was going to school full time. His mother's perspective of how things should work was that we were to take on 2/3 of the household bills since we made up 2/3 of the household. I was 17, pregnant, very sick and working full time.... only to turn over most of my paycheck to someone who should have been supportive. There was no compassion. I was also given a list of chores that I was supposed to complete every day. She didn't work. Robert didn't work. I worked an hour away... it was a completely ridiculous situation. We didn't stay there long. We found it much easier to live in the crowded confines of my parents' home where we only had to pay a small amount... and honestly, from that point on, we never reconciled with her. We spent time with her on occasion but we were never close. She is alone, even now, instead of enjoying a relationship with her only son and three amazing grandsons.

You reach a point as a parent that you realize that you no longer control your child. You have to accept them as an independent entity... and you have to put in play the concept that "you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar". If your relationship with your child becomes one of constantly handing out guilt and punishment... eventually... they will stop coming around.

I wasn't crazy about the idea of Cody and Marquee getting married so young BUT I knew that they were going to get married with or without my approval. I could either accept the situation and preserve a relationship with them... or I could let this be the thing that separates me from my child and future grandchildren.

I never place demands on my grown kids. I set no expectations on how often they are supposed to call me or write me or come see me. When they come around, I purposely never pass out guilt about what they have or haven't done. I try to make a big deal about everything they do for me. I love them. I enjoy my time with them. I seek to foster a relationship that makes them want to be around me.

I just believe that as Christians we are called to be Christ-like. When we fail Him, when we sin, although we have to live out the consequences of the choices we make, all we have to do to restore our relationship with Him is to ask for forgiveness. He doesn't continue to remind us of our failures and how we have disappointed Him... it is forgiven and forgotten and we are reconciled to Him.

As parents that HAS to be our model... forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration... because the most successful people in the world are not those who never fail, the most successful people are those who have the confidence that IF they fail, there will be someone to catch them when they fall.

Unconditional love... being able to separate the problem from the child... as parents, as Christian parents, how can we give our children anything less? There's a verse I must have memorized as a child because I remember the King James Version of it... "provoke not your children to wrath but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" Ephesians 6:4. IF WE, as parents, don't model unconditional love for our kids, how will they ever have hope of understanding the unconditional love that God offers?

I'm watching a History channel documentary on crucifixion. It breaks my heart. I can barely stand to watch. Man of sorrows... carrying the weight of everything I ever did wrong... and yet, every time I wrong Him again, He welcomes me back into His loving presence. I don't spend the kind of time with Him that I should and yet He is always glad to see me. He blesses me beyond what I deserve and He loves me beyond what I can comprehend. Let me take that example of love and share it with those that He has put in my path. Lord, bring about reconciliation in our lives today... let us, as parents, bring mercy into the lives of our kids.

Love and hugs...