When There is (so much) More to the Story

I’m in a new season of life with three young adult and three younger children. The growing pains are strange and often uncertain. There are enormous blessings and, honestly, tremendous difficulties at times.

Recently the Lord has been bringing more and more (and MORE) mothers into my life who all share a common heartache: there is so much more to their story but their story is intertwined with a child and the dynamics are such that they find themselves unable to share and therefore unable to receive the encouragement and support they need.

Parenting is hard.  

I thought having littles was hard…and it was in so many ways.

But walking through life with adult children has its own set of challenges that bring a weight to a parent’s heart that oftent feels…without framework like never before. At least I  knew my role clearly when all my children were little.

Releasing our adult children to live their lives as they choose to is one of the hardest things on a mother’s heart. Sometimes their choices bring you so much joy that you think your heart might explode. Other times their choices bring fear to the very marrow of your bones.

In a world where lives are displayed on social media we’ve made sharing life complicated in ways we certainly didn’t expect. I personally love being transparent and processing life with my friends and family as the Lord brings me along in different seasons and teaches me. But what do I do WHEN THERE IS MORE TO THE STORY, and it simply isn’t mine to tell? What if there are safety issues involved? What if the Lord is calling me to stand firm, be still, and…to be quiet?

I’m learning all the more to live for an Audience of One, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I’ve always longed to be free from the trap of the approval and applause of man. Proverbs warns us that the fear of man is a snare and I’ve certainly been trapped many, many times (Pv. 29:25).

Galatians 5 exhorts us to “walk by the Spirit,” and explains that the Spirit’s “fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.” We are told, “since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

One thing that has been disheartening during this season of my life is realizing that as I walk by the Spirit, as I seek the Lord day by day and ask Him for specific instructions each day on how to walk in obedience to Him in certain areas of my life, I may very well be misunderstood. Why? Because someone else who is walking through something very similar might be called to handle their circumstance in a completely different way and I’ve noticed people make assumptions. “Well, if that was my situation, I would do x, y, z.” That is a painful reality and I’ve been guilty of it myself.  

What I implore us to do today is to pray for one another, encourage one another, build one another up, and assume the best about one another. Pray that if there is something that is ‘off’ about the situation and the Lord calls YOU to speak truth to it, that God will give you strength to walk in obedience. Then let the Lord work it out in their lives.  

I’ve been humbled and fascinated over the past couple of years by the Lord’s hand. We have some dear friends who have walked a very similar journey to one our family has faced and the Lord has called them to have a completely different approach and boundaries then what He’s called us to. Who is right? BOTH! We have all earnestly sought the Lord for our situation and we are doing our best one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time, and our lives look vastly different. I love that we’ve been able to realize that our wise and loving Father can see the end from the beginning and knows variables we cannot see or understand. It’s not my job to understand it all. It’s my job to keep in step with the Spirit one step at a time and walk in obedience to Him regardless of the circumstances…or the criticism.

There is so often, soooooooo muuuuuuuch more to the story.

I wonder how our relationships would change if when we saw a hurting family, we lifted them in prayer, sent them a note of encouragement, asked the Lord if or how we might help and then turned our focus back to our own willingness to keep in step with the Spirit in our own lives. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

Sometimes we need to boldly speak the truth in love to one another to sharpen each other and encourage one another. Other times, we are called to simply pray and believe the best in one another on this journey.

Life is messy and more often that not, there is SO MUCH MORE to the story. Let us be a prayerful people who operate in love and grace.

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