Monday, June 16, 2008

Walking out the parable of love

Hey guys, I am back home in my home on wheels. :)
We had a great time serving the Lord and we also had some fun just spending time with Mom and Dad after the conference was over.
Keith's truck is in the shop....so I am home bound while he uses my truck.
And that is fine since I have had some thoughts running around in my head that I want to get on "paper" before I forget them.
So, follow along if you have time. I hope that my thoughts will make sense...but I want to get out of my head and heart down in writing all that I feel like God has been teaching me.

I guess my question to you would be.....Do you think that God would orchestrate circumstances allowing bad things to happen just so that He can teach you what you think you already know?
O.k, I know that was long winded.....here is what He has been teaching me.

First I guess I should let you know that God used the mess in my sons life to teach me a few things about Himself.
I knew when our son was still a little guy that things were not going to be easy.
And even though he was brought up in a Christian home and was in church as often as the doors were open......something was not working according to plan.
By the time he was 8 or 9 my relationship with God took off in an extraordinary way.
I had been a Christian since I was 5 and I knew a lot about the Bible and God.
But, something changed when I began to pursue God during this time. I wanted to KNOW him in an intimate way. I devoured scripture. Wrote things that God was teaching me
and I also began teaching.
I really saw my relationship take off. I was being blown away by truths being revealed in scripture.....and I knew that I was living a life pleasing to God.
Things that had bound my life were disappearing or loosing their hold on me.
I guess you could say.... the car was on the road and all was working the way it was meant to. Even when things began to get really rough with Michael.....things were being held together smoothly in my relationship with God. I was studying several hours a day(while the children were in school) and teaching womens group and children's church.

Then one day I got a call from the police wanting to make sure I was home...they were bringing Michael to me. He was being brought in by the sheriff off of the river.....he was in handcuffs...he was 15. I can not even explain what went through me as I saw my young baby being helped out of the sheriffs boat while in handcuffs.
I do believe that this is when the lesson first began for me.
I talked to my pastor.....who just happened to be there when this happened....about stepping down from the areas of ministry I was involved with. He told me that I was to stay put......my enemy would want me to step down.
And so with a broken heart......I kept going. This was the beginning of several years of events that would slowly chip away at all that I thought I knew about how God worked and how He loved me.
We then went through the storm -Katrina....which gave us about 6 months off of school. During this time Michael work hard with Keith. Things were pretty smooth.
And then school started and things went down hill again.
We tried everything with we could to help Michael.
You know how people who have never been through the things you are going through give advice so freely? We got lots of advice.
Michael spent some time talking to our pastor....we thought this might help with what he was going through. I did not. Grades at school began to fall and eventually we decided to send him to a boarding school. It was a Christian school about 4 hours away and for the first month we would not be able to speak to him except by mail. We had a good friend working there so we felt very good about this move. Again....my heart broke as we took him there and left him.
I felt like God was allowing my heart to be shredded.
Where had I gone wrong?
He did not stay there long ---he was kicked out after 3 weeks.
He came home and put down some strict rules. And it was not that we did not have strict rules before all of this started to happen....we did.
We told him that he could abide by our rules or he would be asked to leave. He was 17.
During this time we tore down our storm damaged home and moved into our camper as we began to make plans to rebuild.
I can't explain what the things with Micheal did to our family. Julia began to show evidence of the stress. Keith and I forgot what it was like just to enjoy each others presence.
And yet, my relationship with God was good.....it was my hiding place.
Then came the time we found Michael was not going to school. There were so many lies.
And, then he got suspended from school. That was the last straw.
While Keith went to pick Michael up from school I pulled out bags and bagged up all of Michaels things and put them out of the camper.
There were so many other things going on during this time that I truly wondered if I was going to make it mentally.
My heart could not be broken any more than it had been as I saw my son take his bags and set them out on the road in the rain waiting for a friend to come and pick him up.
Our pastor came by......I can not even tell you how having him and his wife helped during this time. He spoke with us and with Michael and then Michael was gone.

I finally stepped down from everything at church. I had nothing left to give.
Nothing seemed to work as it was supposed to.
My walk with God became one of obedience. I read my Bible because I was supposed to. I prayed because that was what I was called to do.
I felt like I had been left on the side of the road after being beaten and left for dead.
I thought of Michael often during this time. We would go for weeks and not hear from him. I wondered all of the normal things a Mom wonders. Was he eating? Did he have what he needed?
I cried a lot....Keith and I cried together.
Eventually after about 3 months Michael came and asked to come back....he said he had learned his lesson. We would later find that he had not.
And so he came home and things were good for about 3 weeks.
And then things went back to horrible.
Meanwhile we took on Keith's Dad. We moved out of the camper into a home down the road.
By this time I was so numb that nothing mattered.
I did not even try reading my Bible any more.
I could still function during this time because I knew so much spiritually.
I knew what was right......and so I had the right words.
But I was so raw......and angry.
here were times that I let it all out with God. Honestly, it did not seem to make a difference.
I would call this year the black night of my soul.
Sounds pretty bad doesn't it? It was.
I really think during this time that God used blogging to hold the pieces together.
Hearing you all talk about your relationship with God really helped me to remember what was right. And there were times that God spoke to me and reminded me that He was still there.
And yes, I felt like I was being picked on during this period of my life.
There were rough things going on at home and rough things at church.
Then Paw Paw passed away.
We moved out of the rental and Michael moved in with some friends.
And then......Peace came home.
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Sorry I had to go through all that. But if you are still with me at this point maybe you will be able to follow me when I explain what God has taught me. But.....I will give this warning.....before you read what I have learned and think....Yes, I already know that.......stop!
I am becoming more and more aware that God lets us do our book learning and then He orchestrates the circumstances to allow those truths to become a part of the core of our being.
Saying we KNOW it.....well, sometimes we will later find that we wish we had kept our mouths shut. Maybe it is kind of like opening the flood gates when we have not yet gotten in the boat.

Before we left for camp I began reading a book Mom had given me a few weeks ago.
The name of the book is ....Lost Boys And The Moms Who Love Them.
God had already started to whisper little words to my heart when I picked this book up.
Little reminders of prayers that I had prayed about wanting to be used by Him and that I was willing for Him to do whatever He needed to do to get me ready.
Prayers that I had prayed for the body of Christ....burdens that I asked for. Things like asking God to let me see the love He had for the body of Christ and for the lost soul. I wanted to experience these things so that they would become the major thing in my life.
I never realized that He would begin to show me this my using my life.

During the past weeks I had begun to really miss my son---- in a way that showed me that I still loved him. Now that might sound horrible but unless you have walked the walk I have walked....you will not understand how you can even begin to wonder if your child's behavior could wipe all signs of love from your heart.
And, then reading the book I saw that other Moms had walked in my shoes. Their hearts had been broken, stomped on, crushed, burned.......and still they loved. Sometimes with a love that hurt them more than it did the child.
And when I saw this......I said, "Yes! I know what you have been through...I have been there too!"----it was at that point the Spirit began to speak to my spirit.
So sweetly He said.......Sharon, I have been there too.
For these past two years as you have twisted and squirmed trying to get out of my grasp. As you have screamed at me and stomped your foot......I have loved you.
You did not understand the changes taking place in your life.....you did not see the lessons that I was trying to teach. And you were down right ugly to my face at times....and even though my heart was being crushed and broken.....I still loved you with a Mothers love.
Though you neglected my Word and refused to talk to me at times.....I still wanted to be around you because you were part of Me. You will always be part of Me. You are flesh of my flesh and blood of my blood. Nothing you could do could separate you from my love. You can not earn it....and you can do nothing to try and keep it. You said you knew this.....but now that you have experienced it with your own son......You KNOW it.
Now do you understand one of the reasons for the journey?
And my heart cried.....DEAR GOD...... I LOVE YOU! I am so unworthy of Your love.
Thank you that no matter how I act.....You love me with a Mothers heart. A heart that you gave me as a mother. Thank you that you still want to be around me even when I am not walking perfectly. Thank you that sometimes you just want to say, "Let's not worry about that at this moment.....just sit with Me...... I miss you".
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I am going to end this now because it has gotten very long.
But I want you to know that God is a God of purpose. He does not allow things to happen for no reason. There is a plan. If what we were going to go through was for nothing or would destroy us.....He would stop it.
I can not tell you how many times I have prayed over the past few years---Dear God, please don't let me go through this without learning what You planned for me to learn.
And He is faithful to complete that that He begins in us.
Each time I think I have understand His love.......He takes me a little deeper.
I will never understand how deeply He loves me.
I will never understand why He would want to be loved by me.
But He loves us.
He loves us with a love that is
deeper,
wider,
and stronger
than our earthly minds will ever be able to understand.
I will tell you that right now I am walking in a peace that is beyond my understanding-
It is beautiful. And I have missed it.


16 comments:

Denise said...

Praise God for His precious and beautiful love sis. I love you.

Janera said...

This is beautiful; it gave me chills to realize the irony of this situation as it applies to God's love for us. Amazing, isn't it?

Thanks for stopping by my place for a visit and leaving a comment. Please come again!

By the way, I love your "Sisters" logo. Gorgeous, and so much fun!
Janera

Dee said...

This is an absolutely beautiful post!!! Thanks for sharing. Praying for you & your family. My mother-heart is breaking for you.

Sorry I've been AWOL -- life & summer has taken over. Thanks for your faithfulness & checking up on me! D

MelanieJoy said...

Us Southern girls can be a bit hard headed and sassy even when it comes to our Maker. I'm so glad that peace has found it's way in your heart and thoughts this season. It's been a long dark spell for you...glad it's parting ways for the Son to shine.
Love ya

MelanieJoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deb said...

oh that reminds me years ago I had cried out to God to fill me with His love for my daughter. We too had struggles and I was filled with HIS love (His mothers heart) towards my daughter and others. Great post, hold that peace in your heart and on your face with a smile:)
hugs
Deb

Melanie said...

Wow Sharon, such open and raw honesty. This was a very touching post for me. I am sorry for all you have gone through with Michael and I really can't imagine how you feel. I'm praying for you!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Sharon:
What tender pain you share with your words. I can't imagine walking the road you've walked. My parents can...in some small way. They walked it with me, only I was an adult when I embarked on my wilderness years.

These are good reflections, and in some way, by penning them a portion of truth and healing enters in. You have trusted us all with your story, and I will ponder it for a while before responding further.

Know this...

Your God loves you, sees you, and is going to make this all turn out for his kingdom purposes. How that fleshes itself out is sometimes a fleshly battle, but He will prevail. He is faithful to do so.

Thanks for keeping it real.

peace~elaine

Halfmoon Girl said...

wow, that was an awesome post Sharon. It is interesting, because I remember reading of many of the events in the last year, here on your blog. You didn't really talk about the conflict with Michael much or your heartache. I just want you to know that even though you were going through a time where you did not feel close to the Lord, you were still used by Him to bless others. Your faithfulness in claiming His promises even when you did not FEEl them was an encouragement to me. I have not hit the teenage years yet (almost!), but I know who to turn to when we hit tough times! I will pray for Michael.

Sandi said...

You decribed my nephew just now. My question to you would be: Would you recomend the book to a mom who may not be a beleiver? I know my sister knows God but I don't think she ever really made a commitment.

luvmy4sons said...

Oh, Yes! Yes! Oh, Sharon I just wanted to shout YES as I read your post. I SO SO SO understand what you wrote. At least I think I do! I know what you mean about thinking you know something till God etches the groove deeper in your heart and you see that you needed to know it in a deeper more real way! Thank you for sharing your journey. It touched me so. So often I think I run with this underlying idea that God is going to smooth things out and He will teach me things as I go through small difficulties, but with prayer all things will turn out gloriously and I will be sanctified along a way that is full of small bumps in the road but still traveable nonetheless. More and more I see that God's ways,well, His main concern is not my ease and comfort. And after going through a very fiery, difficult trial, a bump of huge proportion, I see the beauty of His way of teaching through suffering. I know it is not something I would choose. And I am relieved to know that He is in charge of it all! Well, I ramble. Big hug to you girl! Big, big hug!

Edge of Design said...

There are so many things I could hurry up and say but then I wonder what could I possibly say that you haven't heard already. There is only one thing at the moment that comes to mind, it's good to have you "back". Looking forward to having you in NC!

Nicki said...

Oh my sweet friend. I just read every word that you just wrote and I was captured. I realized that this is exactly how my mom must have felt with my brother this past year. He went through drugs, sex and you name it. She "lost" him for a while and claimed God's word over his life. Every day while he was recovering from his drug addiction she would pray over him.

I'm rejoicing with you that you have rediscovered the peace of God! It is an awesome, awesome thing.

I've missed you dearly and I'm so glad everything is going well!! Praying for you!

Mary said...

Sharon,

What a beautiful testimony of God's love. I'm praying for you, Michael and your family.

Blessings and love,
Mary

freetofly said...

Oh, gracious you have made me cry! My son was 18, was failing 11th grade (he had like a 1.1 avg) when he moved out, bc he refused to honor our VERY reasonable rules. It involved a relationship that was EXTREMELY toxic from a family at our church. The father of the girl was a coach at their school. Their family did not oppose the relationship. It is impossible to go into all this led to and how it permeated EVERY aspect of our lives. AND I am SO WITH you on the free advice from clueless people!

God did bring it around! In so many wonderful ways. That doesn't mean everything is picture book, but it isn't bad either! I am learning that faith looks very different for different people.

I am so happy, happy, happy to hear your peace and your hope! So glad things are good in your heart again!

hugs & love to you!
Maria

Pastor Lisa said...

Sharon! This is absolutely beautiful! It's wine! It's wine! I rejoice with you. I know a thing or two about learning the hard lessons. I know what it's like to have God show you the real you. Ouch. What a beautiful lesson to all of us. Thank you for enduring. Thank you for sharing.