And I’m learning a lot.
And honestly, I’m learning a lot about God’s love for us.
We’ve reached the stage in my mom’s recovery where…there’s a frustration within her about how things aren’t back to normal. And a gripping desperation for autonomy.
And I’m going to be really honest, being in my position, as her grown daughter, having come home to be her “sidekick” as I call it – there’s a really delicate balance of how much help is too much help. I want to assist her so that life runs smoothly, but I don’t want her to feel like a child or that I’m belitting her or discrediting her capabilities or contributions. And I’m finding that in this particular stage, it is exceptionally difficult to do. And so often I feel discouraged, as though I can’t do anything right
It’s a darned if you do, darned if you don’t sort of thing. Offer too much help, and I’m overstepping. Offer too little help, and things, well…breakdown.
But actually during this time, I feel like I’m learning a lot about how God loves us. [And let me interject here that I am in no way comparing myself to God.] But during this phase I am definitely learning a lot about how love can look.
Because honestly, right now, all I want to do is…well…everything for my mom. I want to wait on her hand and foot, and bring her this, and do that, and just give her the world.
But she doesn’t want that.
She wants to do things herself.
And so for me to love her, I have to let her do it…even if she messes up. Even if it takes her an extra hour to get through the steps. Even if she feels defeated or angry or like she’s incapable at any little thing.
I have to just let her fail.
Because that is what she wants. And I know deep down that it is probably good for her. And it is growing her.
How many times in my own life have I felt that I’ve just been on a one way trip to Screw-Up town? Like I’ve fallen on my face enough times to need a serious rhinoplasty and new front teeth? I mean, have you read my blog??…
Perhaps how I’m having to love my mom right now is a tiny reflection of how God loves me during those times? — Letting me struggle because I need to feel autonomous, even if it comes with a detrimental price tag?
This kind of love is not easy. It requires patience and a longing for the betterment of her, mores than a satisfaction of self. It requires me to put her needs and her good ahead of my own. Even dying to self a little bit. And that really makes me contemplate God’s love for me. For us.
All those times when I was struggling and feeling lost or frustrated in my own life, God was standing by, watching me endure it. Not because He is wicked or derives pleasure from others’ pain. He’s not some puppy-kicking monster. He was watching expectantly – patiently – lovingly, knowing the growth that will come from the struggle. Just like I’m having to learn how to do with my mom.
It’s like how a mama bird must feel when her baby jumps out of the nest for the first time. The fall and the failure is part of the learning process.
God will never let me peril. He’ll swoop in if absolutely necessary, but the struggle is what I ultimately need.
Just because we’re enduring a trial doesn’t negate His love. If anything it just shows that He’s letting us grow. Allowing us to use our autonomy to our own potential destruction — or potential flourishing.
But that’s what I’m working on. Letting go.
Letting go of the reins and letting her take them over.
She’s improving. She’s blossoming and regaining all the skills and abilities the stroke had wiped out.
A love that lets go is a love that recognizes the other’s full potential. And that is the most difficult – and simultaneously most beautiful – love of all.
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