Sunday, September 02, 2012
Sunday Afternoon Tea
Two weeks ago I pondered the condition of today's world in which we live, last week I pondered roots, and for Tea this Sunday I've been thinking about wings.
It is the most difficult of all three subjects to put on paper so I hope the thoughts which have been circling my head have been able to find a good landing place.
A quick stroll back to roots
First, though... I want to revisit the subject of roots for just a moment. This past week, I found myself thinking of the subject in a completely different way. It all started as I was moving some small picture frames and came to realize how many of the pictures on my bedside table, dresser, and in My Room are of my mother and father... and how there are no longer any pictures of my husband's parents displayed.
Soon after we moved into this house, I added a very nice portrait of them to my gallery of family pictures hanging in the small hallway. However, I found my husband didn't like passing it each day and I wasn't too thrilled about it.
I used the frame for a picture of our children and slipped their portrait into a box under the bed. How sad... the difference?
My parents gave me roots of unconditional love which is one of the greatest gifts we can give friends and family. My husband's parents left him and his siblings wounded and shattered. When I look at the pictures of my mother and father, I feel all warm and cozy and safe.
Unconditional love... knowing whatever we do or say or feel or where we go... we are welcomed home with outstretched arms. What wonderful roots to keep us anchored in the storms of life.
Wings... our own
He could have made us robots but instead he formed us in all our imperfect humanness and then gave us... wings.
I am firmly convinced God has each of us on this planet for a purpose. If you stop to think about it, we are the only individuals having the exact relationships and circumstances in this life.
We have walked each season of life in such a way that we are uniquely qualified for where He has placed us on this rotating sphere. No one else has the same prayer list I have nor the same combination of circumstances and gifts.
It is dreadfully wrong for us to compare ourselves to others in their walk with the Lord. It is much worse to judge others because their walk is not the exact same as ours. Each of us have a different set of wings and a unique journey.
I have now lived long enough that the journey has looked different through the years... the wonderment of the Jesus Movement, the Corporate environment, years spent on political campaigns and fighting social windmills with Concerned Women for America, health food co-ops, writing and teaching Bible studies, coming home as a full time wife and mother, and the greatest combination of challenge and joy of all... homeschooling.
What a variety of interesting places He has taken me but He never said it would be easy. Instead He warned of dangerous curves, marauders, exhaustion, tears, laughter, failures, victories, frustrations, miracles, trials, and tribulation.
There will come a day for those of us who have followed this journey... not perfectly but faithfully... that we will stand before Him to receive a crown and then my friends... there is absolutely nothing we have gone through on this planet that will not make sense.
I think we will understand the journey and and our unique set of lovely wings... but not before that day.
Wings... our children
I know not all of us have children but we do have those we influence. They need us to develop good soil for their roots to grow strong but we also greatly affect the way they use their wings.
If there is one thing I've learned now that my children and their friends have grown into young adults, it is the amazing way each of them are using their strengths and gifts in their adult life... but also how each came to their giftedness through the family in which they were raised.
While there are those rare instances one finds a concert pianist coming from a non-musical family, most children are the product of their home environment... for good and bad. I'm convinced God places children in families where they can become the people He wants them to be.
I was explaining this to my son one day as he and his friends were making decisions about college. One of the girls he knew wanted to attend the University and he was quite annoyed with her parents that they didn't back her decision.
Knowing the girl and her family, I told him my belief that God did not make a mistake placing his friend in that family and to watch how it all works out. It did, of course... but I had to warn him not to judge a family because they did not want their daughter accumulating college debt.
Don't ever feel badly because your children are growing up in challenging circumstances for God is using those very challenges to mold and shape them for their journey. Perfection will not prepare them for His journey in this fallen of all worlds.
We give our children their wings each hour of every day as we encourage them, talk to them, read to them, encourage their gifts and interests, and include them in our interests. When they see us make meals day after day, set a pretty table, and rarely complain about dishes (getting real here)... they will follow the same pattern as adults.
They notice when Dad takes good care of the car and the lawn and Mom works late into the night to finish a project on time as was promised. They grow perseverance in their wings.
When we open our doors to show hospitality or give of our limited resources, when we take the time to listen to a child's problems, when we set aside our work to pay attention, when we forgive Daddy and find the good in Grandpa... we are helping them form their wings.
I knew from the beginning I wanted to have a home where it would be easy to develop creativity, a home full of good books (I'm sure you didn't see that coming), good theological and political conversations, and enjoyable evenings of movies and popcorn.
My husband and I both knew from the moment we said our vows that the most important Person in our marriage and parenting would be Jesus. For without Him we both would be a mess and with Him our family would come through every trial we found on our journey.
Seeing what legalism did to my mother's walk with God, I wanted my children to know Christ as not only the Holy God (for that is important and we are to follow His commandments and warnings) but I wanted them to know a God who laughs and sings and brings a King to dance before him (that being David if one does not know their Old Testament).
I wanted them to... want Him. For only in a relationship with Him do they truly have wings to fly the journey He has given.
Wings - letting go
While impossible to think of when one is surrounded by little ones and the exhausting demands of raising children... there comes a day they leave their cozy little nest you have made for them and use their wings. Some of them even fly away to foreign lands such as New England.
They are now to be Salt and Light in the culture for which they were born... the Esthers and Daniels of their generation. As we have given them roots and God developed their wings... it is time for them to fly and I watch in amazement.
As for me... I still fly daily although my wings have been clipped and my boundaries limited. My calling from Him is that which can be accomplished on a road that has narrowed greatly... but the destination is still the same as it always was as are the rewards.
I am only to continue on and finish well. :)
Picture: Lesson Top