Finding Contentment in Trials

It was late Sunday evening and I felt led to write a blog on God’s leading me to be content with my season in life. It started something like this:

I went into Lifeway the other day with the intention of buying two specific books. I walked out with neither. I ended up with The Resolution for Women. I read the back, read the contents–put it down and browsed around. I kept coming back to the book. I didn’t need the book. I know I’m a child of the living God. I know He has plans for me. I always try to be aware of His voice, His leading in my life. I have tried to live out Micah 6:8 to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with my God. I have tried to guard my tongue. I have prayed for my enemies, forgiven them.

My blog post was interrupted. My sixteen year old son had asked me to come sit with him and watch television with him a while, actually, he asked be to ‘rub’ his back. It’s something I’ve done since he was a baby. I really didn’t want to. I’ve been kind of dry on the blog posts lately and I was feeling the blog bug again. But I did. You see several months ago, maybe even last fall I had been sitting in church. The following piece recounts that day.

I wanted to push him away. There was so much hurt and anger built up from his actions that I didn’t feel like loving him. I couldn’t love. Or could I?

I don’t recall much about that day. Other than we’d just finished praise and worship. Pastor had walked up the isle. In one hand he held his Bible, with the other he turned on his mic. Candles flickered, their light vanilla scent covering the mildew. I know this because it’s the same every Sunday. Pastor walks down the aisle to the front. Bible in one hand, turning on his mic with the other. Candles flicker. Every Sunday these two things are the same.

Pastor, Bible, mic, candles.

Pastor, Bible, mic, candles.

This particular Sunday I couldn’t remember if the candles were purple or if they were white and it’s something I should recall, but I don’t. This Sunday I couldn’t remember if Pastor wore a tie or the T-shirt with our church logo. Was it communion Sunday? I don’t recall.

All I knew was I was sitting in church on a Sunday morning having just finished singing praises to God, my heart full of joy, when one little action, one little request for love flipped a switch in me so quickly that I wanted to react. I wanted to push him away.

The instruments, the overhead, the people sitting around me all disappeared. All that was left in that tiny church were the gray upholstered chairs, my teenage son’s head in my lap and the raw anger bubbling within my chest.

I wanted to push him away.

My hand hovered inches from his head, ready to shove him off my lap. The months of rebellion, the lying, the drugs, the alcohol, the court dates, it all hung in those few inches between the palm of my hand and his head in my lap. And every bit of it was tied to the pain in my heart.

I wanted to push him away.

His actions were indicative of his rejection of my love for him. The love I’d shared with him when I nursed him. The love I’d shared with him on those late nights when I rocked him back to sleep. The love I’d shared with him when he scraped his knees. It’d been tossed in my face. His actions were proof my love for him wasn’t good enough. So, why did he want it now?

I wanted to push him away.

The rejection and the anger vibrated in my fingertips.

I never finished the story. I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I will tell you that I had decided right there and then that it didn’t matter how I felt I would always choose to show my kids how much I loved them, even when they upset I would make sure they always knew my love for them was 100%, unequivocally, without a doubt was unconditional. The kind of love God gave when He sent his Son to die on the cross for us, the kind of love Jesus displayed as He hung there.

The days with my son didn’t get much easier. He ended up in rehab, ended up meeting with bigger trouble, which landed him in the county juvenile detention center. He was there for two months and this without having been convicted of a crime. We prayed, as we had prior to this, over him, with him. We prayed for the needs of other inmates and their parents. We spoke with parents and encouraged them. God moved in many ways. So, many Godointments that we knew this was all part of God’s plan.

Somethings have happened. I’m not ready to discuss them and I may never as parts of the story involves other people and I’m just not willing to publicly put out there even though these other people have no qualms . . . it doesn’t matter. They need Jesus. Plain and simple.

We’ve prayed about moving. God hasn’t been loud and clear on that bit. And with such a huge decision . . . well maybe that is a lack of faith. We now look back and regret not moving, but it seemed as door after door was being slammed shut whenever we found a home. We can’t change yesterday. So, instead of moving my husband and I prayed for God to prepare a table for us in the midst of our enemies. The meal thus far has been bitter.

On July 24 Joyce Meyer Ministries posted this: Faith is not for the good times, it’s for the hard times. I reposted it, but deep down I knew that through the last months of difficulties, the hard times had yet to come. I prayed I was wrong.

I mean everything we’d already been through had been so hard. The twenty minute phone calls, no more. The twenty-five minute visits three times a week. The inability to hug, to kiss his forehead. It was hard. Harder than anything I’ve ever had to do in my entire life. I know, I should be so fortunate, right? And I was. I was content. I knew where my kid was. And I could sleep at night knowing he was at least somewhat safe.

But see we, God and I, hadn’t really covered that whole contentment thing. Yeah, I was content. For a short time. When I started the blog about the contentment I had no idea that in less than eight hours my son would runaway. When I started that blog, I had no idea we’d get into a fight. I had no idea that I wouldn’t tell him I love him. I had no idea that my last words would be anything but unconditional love.

Somehow I have to forgive myself and heal from the self-inflicted pain. It’s bad enough when your kid disappears whether through death or running away, it’s worse when your last words weren’t I love you. And somehow I have to find contentment, a peace that surpasses all understanding, that ultimate shalom nothing missing nothing broken kind of contentment, knowing that a piece of me is missing and may never be found. Somehow I have to trust that God will grant our family new strength. That He will carry us through this time of trial.

I know there are many parents out there who have no idea where their children are. Parents whose children have been missing for years. We understand the pain, the loss. We have no idea how we are to go on, how we are supposed to get up in the morning and go back to our daily lives when so much is missing. At least when he was in jail we knew he’d come home eventually. Now. . . we just have to have faith in God’s ultimate plan. That doesn’t mean He’ll grant our request and bring our son home to us and He very well may not, but we have to put our hope, our trust in Jehovah-Shammah, Jehovah-Nissi. My God is my banner, a banner over our household, over my children.

Father God, the great I AM, I look up to the heavens, the night sky and the twinkling stars You placed perfectly and I know Your ways are much higher than my own, your plans much more perfect than I could ever imagine. Father God, there are families all across this earth who’ve lost a child. Jehovah Raphi, bring healing to broken homes, restore these familial units, make them whole, complete with You at its core, with You at its foundation, with You as its covering.  And Father God, I thank you for the outpouring of prayers for my family. The support has been phenomenal. I know their prayers are storming heaven as we speak. And Father God, I remind you of David’s Psalm 143:7-12 (CJB) PLEASE, Answer me quickly, ADONAI, because my spirit is fainting. Don’t hide your face from me, or I’ll be like those who drop down into a pit. Make me hear of your love in the morning, because I rely on you. Make me know the way I should walk, because I entrust myself to you. ADONAI, rescue me from my enemies; I have hidden myself with you. Teach me to do your will, because you are my God; Let your good Spirit guide me on ground that is level.  For your name’s sake, ADONAI, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of distress.  In your grace, cut off my enemies; destroy all those harassing me; because I am your servant.

by the power of they Holy Spirit and through the name above all names, Jesus,

Amen.

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8 thoughts on “Finding Contentment in Trials

  1. This last week, every time I sit to praise God, Micah 6:8 comes to mind. I learned it as a song (KJV) and I think it’s what God is calling us all back to.

    “He has shown thee, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee: but to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.”

    Praying for you Christina, your family and most especially your son. I haven’t been where you are and can’t say I understand, but God does and He is the ultimate comforter.

    I wish I could come and give you a great big hug. A cyber hug will have to do. {{{hug}}}

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