Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Mimisms ~ The Calm In Abraham

When I was just a wee tad younger swimming in the shark-infested waters of a sad sad time in my life, I flew straight into a storm that knocked me to my knees. And everywhere I turned the battle raged and victory appeared...well....impossible.

Someone I loved was hurting. Flailing around in tumultuous storms. Drowning. Lost.
I wondered how he'd ever survive another setback, another failure, another battle to start all over again. I'd long given him over to the care of God, the result of many anguished prayers on the floor of my bedroom holding life and death bargaining meetings with my Heavenly Father. Still, at times, in my heart there was no peace. Fear does that to a mother.It seemed to me that God's whispers in my heart entailed one message and one message only - "How far, Miss Mimi, will you trust Me?"
"But God, this is big. This is really BIG."
"How far will you trust Me?
I can't lose him. I won't."
"How far will you trust me?"

"I can't stand aside and watch this."

"How far....How far....will you trust?

I started to think about the extreme case of Abraham and Isaac.
Jewish Father and son. Both trusted their Fathers. Both had everything to lose. It is a parable that makes the how far moments in this world seem tritefully small. But for me, there was no clearer example of trust nor a more vivid image of terror - the same kind of terror that invaded my heart.

Epiphanies... You can't make good decisions when your mind is full of what-ifs. You can't walk around with your whole existence teetering on the edge of extinction when your soul is full of fear. I had to conquer the fear.
You can't survive a tsunami of knife-blading pain without an internal storehouse of something beyond yourself and your abilities.
I call it grace.
Storms from outside are never a match for that.

Call it what you will but
....there are moments in life when there isn't a blessed thing you can do and you might find yourself before it's over, cursing God, when such a thing previously would never have entered your sanctimonious mind. So when the cursing began in this war that waged in me, I said it loud and clear.
I threw my Bible against the wall.
I was done.

He heard.

His reply to my tirade?
"How far will you trust me?"

It was maddening.

"OK God. Don't engage. Just sit up there in your pristine world of omnipresent peace knowing how this is gonna turn out and don't give me a damn clue. See if I care! I've had it. You win!"

There are defining moments in the course of a life....when the cost is so great that the idea of taking our hands off the helm implausible. One such moment came to me. I could either orchestrate what I wanted for his life in a thousand mother prayers all laid out neatly while I twisted God's arm or I could abandon that doomed idea and surrender.

I waved the white flag.

The day came when I had to watch him lose it all. And I wondered how far my trusting would reach. How deep my faith would go. How much longer I could trust in a Jesus-loves-me God when all I could see was a child on a path of destruction.

Epiphany #2. It was during that time when my love for him was the only thing I COULD give him.

It was enough.

There has been no sorrow, no loss, nothing... and I do mean
nothing, that compares with the fear and the agony of watching him stumble and rise, rise and fall. There was no peace to be found. No reason to hope. No new medication or miracle approach. Hellacious chaos.
His suffering acute. Volatile. Unpredictable. Spiraling out of control was my child.
And it could have toppled me over in an unreachable mess for years to come, even to this day, deep are the scars of such battles....if not for one thing.

This little blue piece of paperI wrote these words on it and taped it to my desk. I wrote these words on my heart and carried them with me through doors I didn't want to walk. I remembered the steady hand of a father who had no choice but to trust in the face of certain death. I was there. I remembered the love of one father for another and the face of one innocent child who trusted one to trust the other for his very life. I was there.

I got a little taste of how much faith it must have taken for Abraham not to question God's direction in his life and lay down all he had.
I was there.

We all know the story - the symbolic tale of the unspeakable task of an earthbound father carrying a knife and a nod from Heaven.
I do not wonder if Abraham cried, if he cursed.
I know he must have.

Isaac's life was spared by the hand of grace. My son's life was spared by the same invisible hand. You don't have to believe it literally to understand it spiritually. But you do have to believe in grace.

And sometimes words on blue paper.


Dawn Drover said...

The love of a mother for her child is powerful. Your words bring me to tears... your faith leaves me in awe.
You are a wise woman...

Charles Gramlich said...

Having gone through something a bit similar, I know both the doubt and the faith. Doubt itself can sometimes be a holy thing.

Jeff B said...

It can so hard to let go when we're in the battle, but when we do, as did you, the light shines brighter within us.

Mojo said...

I think you figured it out when you said, "You win."

The Gal Herself said...

I'm not a mom, which is as it should be because I don't think I could do what you have done ... watch as your child finds his own way and comes out whole on the other side. You gave him love and support and tears and worry and freedom and I'm sure he appreciates all of it ... now.

I loved this post because you shared what sustained you. I have a dear friend who seems so fascinated by other people's suffering (currently Michael Jackson's). Giving into pain, viewing yourself as a victim, I think that's easier to explain than stories like yours here today.

Grace, indeed.

You're a strong woman, Your Highness.

Anonymous said...

In the ship of my life, I sit mid-ship rowing away while God steers. Sometimes I get so weary of this, to the point of asking God to change places. The response is always the same...
"You can steer all you want..but God don't row."
Faith/Grace...not easy to come by, even tougher to maintain in this day and age, but it is the thing that takes us through those shark infested waters...

Akelamalu said...

It is difficult to let go and trust but when you do God rewards you. x

Tarheel Rambler said...

Given the post I just published on my own blog, I should have read this yesterday, Mimi. This is the exact thing I am struggling so mightily with. Thanks for a little "light at the end of the tunnel" that I so badly needed today. The light is not a solution, but a recognition that God's Grace is active, even when I can't appreciate it.

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