My daughter and I enjoy a sweet relationship. Cool, calm & collected, she's a responsible and logical kind of gal who just finished her first year of college with the same quiet class and style that has marked her life from the beginning. God has graced Maycee with a strength of heart and mind displayed within a beautiful frame of serenity devoid of demands for attention. She's a true introvert who, unlike me, has never found it necessary to chirp endlessly about the happenings of a day, school or otherwise. I was the daughter who told her mother all things, following her around the house relaying the details of every conversation, reporting the dimensions of every cute boy, and recalling the drama of every crying girl. I didn't quite know what to do with a daughter who had so little to share, and it took a long time for me to realize she wasn't purposely hiding juicy information. For years I was convinced there were stories just waiting to be dislodged by persistent determination that out-wrangled all those sorry wild horses that can never drag out one blessed thing.
I recall the day when it finally struck me that Maycee truly wasn't harboring a shipload of explosives that would detonate if I didn't pry them from the hull of her heart. It was a few weeks before she would be launching her college career, and I found myself swimming in a sea of emotional turbulence. Though I've never expected her to fathom the depths of my emotional ocean, I thought going to college and living miles away from home would be enough to at least make a ripple on those still waters. A woman on a mission, I began to pry open the hatch. Maycee, are you feeling excited? No. Are you feeling scared? No. Are you feeling sad? No. Fighting back the urge to display my displeasure over her stubborn withholdings, I calmly regrouped before launching my next round of interrogation. Do you feel apprehensive? No. Do you feel uncertain about your decision? No.
Unable to hold my frustration at bay, I sinfully launched into my default mode of shame that has me firing pathetic questions that are intended to make points, not conversation. Maycee, did you forget that I'm a counselor? Do you know that people actually PAY to talk to me? Yes, PAY. Do you know that your friends LOVE to talk to me? Yes, LOVE. Is it really asking too much of you to simply tell me how you FEEL???!!!
My heart stings with conviction during these shame sessions, but not quite as much as the silence that follows. And with Maycee that's usually what I face, because unlike her mother she doesn't choose to sinfully wield her strength in a war of words. Only this time, she did have something to say, and it was powerful. Mom, I'll tell you how I feel. I feel like you want me to feel what I don't feel. I feel like you're wanting me to feel what you feel. But because I don't feel what you feel, I upset you. And that makes me feel sad.
Her words sliced through my selfishness with penetrating precision. They were exactly what I needed. My sinful soul had cried out for healing, and my Savior heard me. It was an incision of sanctifying grace, executed by a God of love, through a daughter of love.
These incisions of grace dispatched through my children have proven to be one of the most beautiful blessings of parenting. I praise God for sovereignly granting me two surgeons whom I cherish with all my heart. One of those surgeons gently anesthetizes me before making refined and skillful cuts with only minor bleeding and minimal scarring. The other surgeon gruffly throws me a bottle of whiskey, fires up the chainsaw and severs the rotting limb. God knew I needed them both. He knew there were cancerous and calcified places in my heart that called to be attacked with the raw rage of rebellion that would drive this self-righteous woman of war to her knees. And He also knew there were tender sores that called for delicate probing and quiet investigation that would allow the cry of that woman's soul to be heard in the still of the night.
God powerfully uses the challenges of relationships to help us detect and diagnose disease in our hearts. These relationships are both sustained and severed beneath the watchful eye of a sovereign God who is more intent on growing us in grace than in creating interactions marked by comfort and ease. He sovereignly places in our lives an ordained slate of surgeons who are licensed by Him, who only operate with His permission whether they skillfully cut or crudely carve.
Nothing fosters patient and enduring love more than remembering the fact that every relationship is ordered by God for the purpose of His glory. There are surgeons in your life. God-ordained surgeons operating under the sovereign rule of an Almighty King. Praise God for them. He's using them to bring healing to your soul.