How is it that we can make it so far in life as missionary kids feeling that we’ve escaped the negative baggage that seems to have plagued many of the OTHER missionary or pastors kids only to find out at 40 that there are behaviors that are rearing up that may be connected to suppressed grief coming from those very experiences that I praise for making me who I am. And then I defend to my spouse who is lovingly pointing out what she’s observing that my boarding school experience was God’s plan for us and was not something that caused any doubt in our parent’s love for us…therefore she’s not understanding or “getting the situation.”
I’ve come to realize with Kendra that if I get too caught up in the details of what Kendra is saying I can miss the forest for the trees. Often the scenario that she reads or interprets isn’t what I see and the conclusions can seem misdirected, especially about my own life, but there’s always something bang on in what she’s seeing that is revelation from God. I’m learning to feel less threatened and just join in the hunt and let God preserve what is worth keeping and cast off what needs to be let go of. She can say something like “it’s not God’s natural design for families to send their kids away at such vulnerable ages.” Then I feel an emotional scramble going on inside to defend our experience as somehow “different” than the norm.
The bottom line is that our boarding school experience was something that God lead us to as perhaps the best path available to us given the limitations of the fallen world we live in. God doesn’t seem to just override all the negative circumstances that surround the place of His calling for us and just because he called us there it doesn’t mean we will sail through without cost, even great cost. But I do believe that it is something that will result in potentially the greatest glory to his name in our lives and is something he will redeem for good. But this won’t happen if we dismiss the grief and pain to try to defend His name. I’m sure God appreciates the sentiment but he’s not that insecure about his own work in our lives, i.e.”Oh no, I overlooked those details and how much that might mess up these kids’ lives. Gee I hope no one figures this out cause it could make me look bad.” In truth we may have bad theology that makes us feel the need to defend God here. It might be our theology that needs to change and not our “coloring” of the events of our lives. Are we secure enough in the loving nature of God to tell the whole story of our lives in “truth”…to celebrate the great kindness of God and yet relate the pain that is common to all human existence. God seems to have always gotten along best with those who have learned how to come to Him in honesty and truth. There can be little integrity to our lives and our testimonies if we deal with the complex unresolved questions in our hearts by throwing a large blanket over the whole experience and label it “evidence that God loves me.” Rather, I believe the more appropriate label we should be placing there is “To The Glory of God.” Under this banner there is room to wrestle with our experience, to cry out in anguish, to question God if this is necessary, and then to take His hand in the midst of it and learn to lean on his presence for faith and emotional strength to walk faithfully. If we didn’t know how to take his hand very well back then, He’s able to take us back to that place and help us get honest and walk through our fears and pain as adults later on.
But if we don’t get real about things and give up our fear of unsettling our confidence in God then we continue to “try” to defend God in our way, with our own reasoning and end up simply trying to prove to others that “God really does love me” in order to hide the deeper insecurity about this question, something too frightening to face. We are left to build our own human defenses and adopt a defensive stance towards life and relationships…especially those close to our vulnerable “self”. When we rely on our own defenses to guard the vulnerable self we can experience nothing of the comfort of Christ that would come to the weak and the broken. He does not come to the strong and self-sufficient (even if he knows it’s just a false front) but to the weak who seek him in “truth”. The real kicker is that we can’t even see what the truth is in our own experience unless he reveals it to us. All the more reason it is pointless to come to our own defense. Rather we make our appeal to Him to show us what we need to see and redeem what can be redeemed, cast off what is broken rubble.
this is what I’m asking the Holy Spirit to do. To sift through my experiences of missions, family and boarding school and to bring to light any grief and pain that has not been healed by his hand and is still present below the waterline. I’m beginning to believe that this has indeed been there below the surface and has repeatedly surfaced to rob my joy in Christ, has brought anxiety into my relationship with God, left me with tools of criticism, comparison, deflection and pride which bring only guilt.
Perhaps in His mind He saw it as the best place available to us to work in our lives and knew he could perserve our faith in Him until the day many years later when He would more fully heal the areas of pain and disappointment that would result. He doesn’t seem to be afraid to lead us through pain or need to justify why He would do that if He really is a God of Love. He always IS love and cannot be anything else…it is only us people that are still trying to settle the matter in our own minds and feel the need to interpret events and circumstances in order to prove or disprove our assumption about God. “If God is good and He lead us to this boarding school, then I shouldn’t have to deal with any pain and disappointment from that experience. That would be to doubt His Sovereignty or sufficiency or, God forbid, the “goodness” of His nature.