Who are afraid of being left by those we love, and who get hardened by the hurt.

This year, our church’s Lenten theme was about restoration. Every week, someone gave a focus on how God has restored some aspect of their lives – a woman who was abused as a child has now become a counselor; a man who spent many years focusing on himself is now married and he and his wife have adopted their nieces and nephews after a tragedy in their family. I knew a little bit about some of those stories, but it was very powerful to hear them spoken.

On Palm Sunday, after the kids marched in with their palm leaves and they had been put in vases at the front of the church (after brushing a little bit too close to one of the candles and almost catching on fire) our pastor preached a sermon about betrayal, which, of course, had more than a little to do with Judas. At one point in the sermon, he was talking about various forms of betrayal, and he said something about parents rejecting you because they didn’t approve of your choice of spouse. One thing I like about going to a small church is that he includes examples from the congregation, that I know that he knows our story. But I was honestly surprised at what he said . . . betrayal? I have always thought of what happened with Mike’s parents as flat-out rejection. I have taken it very personally, this rejection of me. It took a while to get my mind around the idea that it was a betrayal of how parents are supposed to act. (Also, it was probably a good reminder that this, like most things, isn’t really about me.)

On Easter Sunday, after a wonderful church service, we had a big lunch with some friends from church. As our friend was blessing the meal, he thanked God for our families and the families we create around ourselves. While family is very important to me and Mike, we don’t experience certain aspects of that in the same ways that many people do, because Mike’s parents aren’t around. Our friend’s grace was a good reminder of the restoration we see in our own lives: like Naomi, we have felt so empty, but the Lord has filled us up again.

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