Sunday, May 31, 2009

Separation

Separation

“…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

I am in the throes of raising my last of four girls. She is fourteen; smack, dab in the middle of figuring out who she is, who she wants to be, who her friends are, and who she is in relation to me, her mother. One thing is for sure, my daughter is rejecting me. It’s often not what I say or what I do…it’s just that I exist. In and of myself, to my daughter, I am one of life’s annoyances. I am cause for a roll of the eyes…a grimace…a glare. Sometimes.

Other times, like an anchor, I am a safe and trusted presence in this adolescent season, steady in the waves of questions, uncertainty, and insecurity. “I love you, Mommy,” she says, as she unexpectedly snuggles up to me on the couch.
Separation anxiety, it's so familiar. I remember the first time it appeared in my daughter, in those tender first months, at about five months of age, the “stranger anxiety” began. I remember it well. For a season then, too, I didn’t know if the little darling would be content and full of smiles or feisty and full of tears. It was a confusing time for us both, much less the innocent stranger, who would engage the little cutie pie, only to witness my daughter going from laughter to screaming her head off in a matter of seconds!

Recently, I was chatting with my sister about this and, as she pointed out, it’s like our kids are saying, “No matter how rotten I am to you, no matter how mean, rude, rejecting I can be, will you still love me? Will you still be there when I need you?”

Our kids go through lots of seasons like this, when they are five months old…two years old…five years…eleven or twelve…sixteen…twenty. Oh the joy!

It occurs to me, as I live in the middle of yet another teen letting go, hanging on, push me-pull you, going away, coming closer. Isn’t this just like me and my relationship with my heavenly Father? Sometimes, I just can’t get enough. I’m spending lots of precious time with God. I’m hanging on to every Word, I want to please Him. I want to draw closer. I’m enjoying the relationship. Then, other times, I seem to pull away. I neglect our relationship, buried deep in my own day-to-day life. I may even reject God’s desire for me to draw near.

Maybe I’m asking Him, “No matter how fickle I am, how distracted I get, no matter how I neglect our relationship, no matter how I ignore your call…Will you still love me? Will you still be there for me?”

My answer to my kids is always, “Yes!” God’s answer to us, His kids? “Yes! Always and forever.”

What’s Your Story?
Time and time again, God calls us to come, draw near, and yet I don’t always heed that call. He desires an intimacy with us that is personal and real. And even when we keep our distance, God’s promise is true. “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Joshua 1: 5a) Very reassuring. How about you? Have you sensed God calling you lately? How have you responded?


4 comments:

  1. This is a blessing for me. As a father, I also face similar rejection and separation. This solid blog helps me to remember that God is always with me, and I, as much as humanly possible, with my young adult offsrping. Keep on blogging! Kit

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  2. Praise God He always answers yes! He's always there waiting for me, even when I neglect making time to talk. Thanks, Elise, for reminding me of that.

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  3. A flood of questions and comments usually comes to my mind with each blog of yours I have read, except this one. To this particular blog, I mostly mainly say, “Yep. That sounds about right.”

    You have guided us readers in a good direction for beginning to understand the magnificence of God, the mystery of Love. Your point is simple and profound. (Such is the nature of Truth, right?) The relationship of a parent and child is one of the main keys a triune God gave us to exemplify Himself. The better we investigate and understand this particular relationship, the better we can understand and love Him.

    I do have a thought I would like to hear your opinion on. It is no backhanded critique or anything of the sort, only my curiosity to what you will say. With the image of you and your daughter you have brought to light an unfortunate reality: we distance ourselves from our Heavenly Father in way grievous to Him, sometimes us. We have seen this sort of “stubborn child syndrome” with the Israelites time and time again in both the Old and New Testament. That being considered, I ask: As a mother, despite this particularly bitter distancing, do you believe there is a good form of distancing that should take place between you and your daughter? Is there a good kind of distance God makes between himself and us (one unlike our bad kind with Him)? Or maybe consider the question in an even grander sense: Do you think He is doing anything like that throughout the breadth of the Christian story?

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