During my writing of the last post, Feel the Pain, my daughter showed up.
And so did God.
He’s always with me. It’s just that sometimes His presence and purpose in a given situation are unmistakable. When He showed up, what did He do? Well, He did what He often does, applies repeatedly His lesson to my life so that I am forced to master it at deeper and deeper levels. That’s discipline.
Not always easy. But always Love.
My oldest daughter and I have been purposeful in working on our relationship to strengthen our connection and smooth out some rough spots we’ve endured together. Life gives us cups of joy and cups of sorrow. How healing it is to share your cup of sorrow with one who drank it with you.
While I sat writing, my daughter had some ruminating insights about our relationship over the years that she wanted to get off of her chest with me. Not an ideal time for me, but by the tone of her voice I knew it to be ideal for her.
I have an open door policy with all my children. However, this one’s particular intensity always presents a challenge for me. As she announced her desire to share, honestly, part of me felt assaulted and wanted to run out the back door.
Then I heard Him clearly, “You said, ‘Feel the Pain,’ right?”
I sat speechless, knowing what I had to do. His words strengthened me. They reminded me of where I was, and where she was, and exactly what she needed.
Instead of running out the back door, I took a deep breath and braced myself to receive her right where she was at that moment. I chose to listen to unintentional hurts I caused her over the years. I chose to drink her cup of sorrow with her. I chose to feel the pain.
I know the importance of being heard and accepted, especially by your parents. Something I never got. That was the carrot for me. I wanted her to feel loved, heard and accepted by the only mother she’ll ever have.
So, I listened. It hurt.
And I listened some more. It hurt some more.
And I listened and it hurt even more.
Listening to her insights was neither easy nor painless. I took several deep breaths while she shared. I prayed for continued openness to receive her precious heart. I prayed for strength to accept what I never intended to happen.
As she spoke, I intentionally put aside my feelings. I put aside my need to defend or explain myself. I put aside my need to fix her or help her. I just wanted to hear her story, her pain, her experience of circumstances we shared.
I was determined to listen to her heart until her cup was empty. Then I embraced her. I know that’s exactly what God does with me. I knew that I owed that to her.
Well, it’s over now. That was really hard. Thank you, God, for your strength.
But that was just one time. One cup. One issue.
She’s only 22. I know that cup was not the bottom of the barrel.
~By God’s grace~ I pray to be available to her, and to have the strength to feel the pain again and drink with her every cup she gives me the privilege of sharing.
Romans 15:7 Welcome and receive [to your hearts] one another, then, even as Christ has welcomed and received you, for the glory of God.
Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.
Matthew 5:25-26 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.
Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Galatians 6:2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Psalm 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, Even the God who is our salvation. Selah
Hebrews 12:5 And have you [completely] forgotten the divine word of appeal and encouragement in which you are reasoned with and addressed as sons? My son, do not think lightly or scorn to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage and give up and faint when you are reproved or corrected by Him;
Hebrews 12:6 For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes.
Hebrews 12:7 You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline?
Hebrews 12:8 Now if you are exempt from correction and left without discipline in which all [of God’s children] share, then you are illegitimate offspring and not true sons [at all].