I am a mother to a teenage runaway.
How should I feel? Because I don’t know.
I have day dreamt of a reunion like that of the prodigal son returning home to a parent that celebrates. I want to have that sentiment. I practice training my thoughts to dwell there. Meditating on God’s promises that He will redeem everything. He is faithful. He answers our call for help. I pray that she would be overcome by God’s lovingkindness. The Lord says THAT is what leads up to repentance, not people’s judgment or exclusion or accusation. So I can release my own judgment and shaming and accusation because it bears no value.
But when I get a text message that my girl has returned from whatever Greyhound adventure she took, I am caught with blind rage. It comes from a deep, gut level place. It surprises me. It is also joined by a heavy weight upon my chest, which takes me a moment to identify. Anxiety, fear, helplessness.
My mind races through all the actions I can take. What can be done?
After I’ve exhausted my desire to DO something, made all the phone calls, had all the conversations, I am left with a boulder of emotions. It rests upon me, so heavy I am paralyzed.
It takes the paralysis. The standing because I can’t move to realize what I didn’t know.
My rage, that pressure upon my lungs that keeps me from a full breath- it’s rejection.
My girl, whom I love, whom I cannot stop loving, whom I want to continue loving, has rejected me. I feel like she is communicating that I am so worthless to her that she can walk away from me after all I have done, all that’s been invested, all that’s been shared between us, and it was so meaningless she doesn’t even have cause to look back. There is nothing that compels her to acknowledge my existence, despite 8 miles separating us.
Fear takes hold of this shame opportunity to launch me into a frantic orbit. If she does not love us and we mean nothing to her, would she have any regard for the safety of our children? Is my home safe? How is she enduring these weeks without any financial support? What else isn’t safe? And I spiral out of control.
Before I float away from all reality, I catch myself. And remind myself what I know is true. This situation has never extended past the reach of the Father. He is not far. I am not rejected by Him. Even when she rejects, my girl does not need to be rejected.
If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, since he cannot disown himself.2 Timothy 2:3
And I will practice training my mind to dwell in His belonging until my thoughts and emotions come into alignment.