loving still + ridiculous grace
I’ve been still this week. I consider it part of the recovery process of the hard parenting journey Andy and I have been on for the last decade. Those who have followed this journey for awhile know that I often write about loving more. This is a truth of loving those who are hard to love…you often love more.
It is also true that sometimes you love still. This might be a hard truth.
There is a series of three tales of loving when things go awry. First, there is a story of a sheep who wanders. The shepherd leaves the flock of 99 to bring back the one. Sometimes God asks us to follow those who wander. There is a tale of the lost coin and the reminder that sometimes God asks us to search for the lost. Then comes the parable of a son who demands money so he can leave the family and go off to blaze his own party path. The father gives him his portion and watches as the child goes off to squander his good life. Sometimes God asks that we stay still. We don’t follow; we don’t search. We simply love still.
I always imagined the son in the parable to be older, but he might not have been. He might have been 15. I supposed it doesn’t matter, because God doesn’t care much about age. God cares about the heart.
Some recent events have left our family emotionally exhausted. After years of chasing after a daughter who wanders, a daughter who is lost, God is commanding that we love still. There are times when we reach the point of doing everything we could do. God knows when we reach this point. Even in the midst of ugly events, God is kind and releases us. There is some work that is holy work, impossible for humans to complete. At this point, we love still.
There is recovery in stillness. There is healing in quiet. There is grief and relief, sadness and hope.
In the stillness, I can hear truth. Even though Stephanie’s story isn’t going the way we hoped, it is unfolding according to the best God has for her at this point in the plot line. God isn’t surprised. He isn’t disappointed. He isn’t a failure.
In the quiet, I know that even though things look like failure in this world that demands perfection and pretty stories of overcoming, God is pleased. God is pleased by the way we have loved more. God is pleased by the way we have pressed on. God is pleased by the way we have protected the children he’s entrusted us with and by the way we’ve protected our marriage.
And now, we are asked to love still.
I believe our ability to press on in this leg of the journey will be directly related to our recovery process. Recovery doesn’t have to be fast to be good. In fact, perhaps recovery will be less about moxie (a force of determination) and more about whimsy.
And it is definitely about grace.