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Once More - A Parents' Devotional

Hebrews 12:26-29

"At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, 'Once more I will shake not only the earth, but all the heavens.' The words 'once more' indicate the removing of what can be shaken - that is, created things - so that what cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful and worship God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire."

 

There is a certain amount of homicidal thoughts I've harbored over the past several weeks, given the state of the children God has blessed me with.  The rage felt towards the people who have harmed them - the rage towards a system that didn't and won't fight for them - the rage at their behaviors that persist after so many years of treatment - and the rage at myself for feeling like I'm failing them day after day. Yesterday, I hit my tipping point. All of the things that I don't share - the things that are too personal and not just mine to share - they came pouring out of me in a volcanic explosion of frustration. Trying to hold back the emotions after seeing the effects of repeated abuse that has been done to my children, both the ones we could rescue and the one that we cannot, has broken me.

To say that I have felt "shaken" is an understatement.

Sunday night, as I sat in our small support group for families like ours, I realized that I am not the only shaken one at this moment. Between the therapies, tests, surgeries, IEPs, calls from the school, questions about birth families, remembered traumas, anxiety, fear, and heart-breaking discouragement, I recognized that we are all quite shaken.

My goal was, ultimately, to pull back. To forget. To push away all reminders of the horrors currently being shown to me. And with each attempt to move away, I was reminded of a time long, long ago when God's people went about life on their own. The time when they didn't listen to the very clear words that were being spoken to them. The time when the earth shook with the intention of God behind it. Do you see that God will literally allow the earth to be shaken if it will get us to look to Him?

It seems cruel, I know. I've sat many times with my eyes tightly shut, arms crossed over my chest, and grumbling under my breath because God wasn't "being fair"... I demonstrated a very unholy tantrum to a very holy God because my world was being shaken and I didn't like it. (Insert the proverbial "Wah, Wah, Waaaah" here.) But in Hebrews, God says He will shake not only the earth, but the heavens as well, proof to me that what breaks my heart also breaks Gods - but even more, it is to show that God is willing to test what can be shaken and what cannot - to display to us what is supposed to fall away and what is eternal. In a sense, God is panning our lives for gold, sifting and shaking away the rubbish, the behaviors, the abuses, the rage - leaving behind what is eternal.

That is pure beauty and love.

But friends, remember that what is eternal may not appear to us right now. We may feel the shaking for days, weeks, years (I know, you choked on a sob, too, didn't you?) We pray it isn't years before the sifting shows results, but the chances are, when we are parenting children who have been hurt and damaged so severely, that years of shaking and settling (wash, rinse, repeat) is what we are in for. It's what we signed up for.

But in Hebrews it does say that in the end, we are receiving a kingdom that is flawless. Our kids will not bring their baggage with them into eternity. WE will not bring ours either. We are shaken now and refined in His consuming fire so that our peace and joy will be that much more miraculous. Our ability to worship a God who shakes us is a testament to how great we know He is. We couldn't allow such pain if we didn't trust our Shaker. And it is a our willingness to allow God to do His job that is our tribute to Him.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."

 

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