December 8, 2017
“I have FOMO mom!” Exclaimed my youngest as we were again discussing why we aren’t yet allowing her to text her friends privately.
“What’s FOMO?” I asked.
“Fear of missing out. I’m missing out on everything because I don’t have my own text number. My friends do all their planning through text messaging.”
I was engaging in one of many conversations with her as we go-against-the-flow of our culture and resist offering her technology she’s not prepared to handle wisely.
She continued with her questioning, eventually exposing her desperation to do whatever she must to perform to whatever level she must to obtain that which she hungers for...a phone which she envisions will unlock her door to freedom relationally. The magic solution to her “fitting in.” She believes that this will be Life.
As I patiently responded to her clamoring soul, I finally said to her, “Honey, I’m not going to offer you the information you’re wanting, because your desire to know is so you can manipulate this situation to get what you want rather than trusting the decision dad and I have made is good for you because we are for you and love you. We want you to rest in our care.”
Then her heart pushed into her throat. Our daughter who fights vulnerability and tears as if they’re death, couldn’t push down the tenderness bubbling up.
As big droplets ran down her cheeks she said, “I don’t fit in anywhere. I don’t fit in in our family. I don’t fit in at school. I don’t fit in at church. It’s hard not fitting in anywhere!”
Her fierce will to hide allowed fissures which caught us both by surprise. The deep waters in her soul were bubbling up, breaking through walls she’s vowed to not let me penetrate. Our God seemed to be shining His light into the darkness, giving me a window into her I couldn't have coerced out had I tried.
“I understand the longing to fit in, and the ache when we don’t. But I don’t know what it feels like to be adopted. I want to hear more.” I responded.
She didn’t want to share anymore. Her heart had opened to me unexpectedly, and she clamored to shove it back in what’s been her protected vault her thirteen years of life. As we drove into our driveway, she couldn’t escape the car fast enough.
Now standing at the kitchen bar, I told her that I would like to hear more. She said she didn’t want to talk about it. Some days I give her the space she desires. This was not one of them.
“Honey, being alone in this ache is not good for you. It’s too much for you to carry by yourself. I am asking you to keep talking with me because I want to be with you in it.”
As she wiped away tears she could not keep from spilling forth she replied, “Mom, I don’t know how to let you be with me in it. I’ve never had anyone with me in things before.”
“I know. But I am here. I am not leaving. And I want to be with you in this. So let me ask you some more questions and you can just answer.”
Whimpering she said, “Okay.”
Advent is upon us and I’m struggling to engage in it this year. I don’t have any structure established yet to guide me through this significant season...which is something I enjoy. Despite my lack of preparation, this first day of Advent, God is offering me a vivid picture of Himself. A living devotion.
Immanuel—God with us.
As I write this story, I keep thinking of Jesus, our Immanuel, our with-God. Everything about His life points to withness. He was with the Father. And He left being with the Father to condescend to be with us so that we can be reunited with the Father.
He enters into the darkness.
His love cracks through vaulted hearts.
His grace draws us into relationship.
His love woos us into His heart.
As we resist His breaking into our vaulted spaces, He tenderly says,
“I know you’ve kept it locked away.
I know it feels safer to be alone in there.
But I am here.
I am not leaving.
And I want to be with you.”
And the Light enters into our darkness and Love begins to restore and repair.