Sometimes, life doesn’t fit our expectations. I am reminded of that today as two of my children have traveled to Michigan to stay with extended family. The absences are not a new experience. Periodically, the boys stay with my sister. They have a great time with their cousins and enjoy life in a different environment. I see that purpose and let them go. My oldest just came back from two weeks at camp. It seemed much longer than two weeks to me. However, the camp is a place where he thrives in Christian Community and learns more about serving his Creator. I see that purpose and willfully let him go.
However, sometimes, yielding to a purpose you understand doesn’t always equal yielding to a purpose you like. My boys love their time in Michigan for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately for me, one of those reasons is a chance to experience peace and respite. Every family has its share of challenges. Some are easily fixed; some are not. For us, the chronic emotional drain resulting from the effects of mental illness can be debilitating. And it stinks that my kids cannot have the relationships with each other that I expected.
I don’t believe my expectations of my family are unrealistic. I know that siblings will fight. I have siblings and it’s amazing that we have relationships today looking back at the ways we sometimes treated each other as children. I know that there will be personality clashes. Sometimes, it’s downright amazing to see the diversity of children all from the same family. As I hear stories and see pictures of friends’ families, I envy the absence of the invisible force that wreaks havoc in our home. It’s something with which we learn to live. It demands sacrifice and thinking outside the box.
And so it’s the challenge for me to transform my expectations for this family of mine that God had created. It means doing what’s best for my children even if it results in discomfort for me. That’s what true love is. God’s interactions with His children involve this demonstration of love constantly. And we are called to reflect God’s character. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved <sup class="footnote" value="[a]”>[a]you and gave Himself up for us, (Ephesians 5:1-2).
Since yesterday, I have been pondering my situation and the Holy Spirit brought 1 Corinthinans 13 to light. Besides the obvious breakdown of the definition of love, Paul reminds us of the fact that we see things from an earthly perspective. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity…. How life evolves does not always make sense. We want answers. We want to fix, eliminate, control. As I strive to reflect God’s love and the imperfection that comes with the process, I cling to the promise, that, in the end, it will all make sense.