Leaving Home – Going Home

When our daughters reached their late teens they were chomping at the bit to leave home. When my husband and I reached our late teens we were chomping at the bit to leave home; so we didn’t take offense from our daughters. At that time our daughters began to find us particularly annoying. We would tease them that we were just trying to make the transition easier for them so they wouldn’t miss us too much when they moved out.

My parents, most of my aunts and uncles and many of my parents friends are in their 80’s and life for them is growing increasingly challenging. Dare I say, annoying? The physical obstacles are building and the resulting limitations on life are a sorrowful loss.

One of my first crises of faith in Jesus was during my late teens when my grandmother was suffering the pains of aging. “Why,” I’d cry out, “does she have to suffer?” And now I find myself 35+ years later watching my parents endure the pains of aging. It isn’t shaking my faith this time around because I have had decades of getting to know the love of God. However the sadness of watching my loved ones suffer hasn’t been alleviated. I just hate it.

I believe there is a similarity of the season before leaving home and the season before going home to Heaven. There may need to be pain to reveal there is something better waiting for you or you’d never be ready to leave to the place of eternal comfort.  As I watch and experience the suffering in this world, both physical and emotional, I am comforted that this world is not my final home. I have the anticipation of Heaven where there is no suffering and there is unimaginable joy. But I’m human and in no rush to leave those I love and what is familiar to me.

The breaking down of our bodies here on earth is a trial. It can certainly reek havoc on my plans and my emotions. Sometimes it is gift because it serves to strengthen me and equip me to fulfill my calling here on earth. But what is it for the aged? No matter how old you are you have desires. Desires to make a difference, desires to enjoy what the earth offers, and desires to fulfill your personal calling here on earth.

My parents try to keep their humor by joking around about their days being full…full of doctor’s appointments. Ugh! That’s not a schedule conducive to contentment! However, that’s also a reality for some who are still young. Double Ugh!

Maybe this world is to the aged like living with parents is to young adults.  It starts to not be as comfortable and necessary as before. There’s somewhere else out there calling us to make a new home. And like teens whom need to be prepared and experience a little more before they attempt moving on to adulthood, in our old age we’re still living on this earth because we still have more to learn, do, and be, before we’re ready to move onto our new home.

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Shut Down – Shut Up – Shut Out

Has anyone every shut you up? I’m not referring to “shut you down”. If you’ve been shut down it is over one subject and their argument has rendered your defense mute. I recently was “shut up”. Someone in my life, whose opinion matters to me, pointed out occasions (multiple) where I’ve failed to act and/or respond in an uplifting way. Because I believe Plato’s philosophy that an unexamined life is not worth living, I value when someone I respect or care about holds me accountable for my actions.

Accountability should be an agent for positive change and growth as a person. And sometimes when someone makes you aware of mistakes you’ve made, it is wise to shut up for a while and process what you’ve been told. In this case however, I’m wondering if my response has been a shut down, as well as shut up. I haven’t merely shut up in regard to the matters brought to me; I’ve shut down from offering in service to others as freely as I’ve felt led to in the past. Which means, I’ve closed off the leading of the Holy Spirit and shut Him out.

Instead I’ve listlessly made agreements with ancillary lies. I’ve taken truth (the mistakes I’ve made with this person) and let Satan surround it with lies. The major lie is disqualification. I think this is a rather typical pairing. Your actions have hurt someone so you respond by playing it safe. If you don’t get involved in lives, you get rid of the possibility of making relational mistakes. And beyond that, if you feel regretful about your mistakes Satan can paint a broad brushstroke of disqualification over all aspects of your life. “Who are you to…?” In my case the “who are you to…?” has included “who are you to write?” and “who are you to minister to other women?”.

The agreement with the lie of disqualification is a disagreement with the biblical mandates to serve one another, encourage one another, and love one another.

Hebrews 10:22-24

“–let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and have our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

I need to shut out the liar so I don’t shut out the God of all truth.