Lessons Learned and Relearned

Yesterday Joel was informed by his probation officer that he will not be allowed to see his nieces and nephews during our trip to Florida in a couple weeks. Although I had tried not to get my hopes up that Joel would be allowed to be with our family in Florida, including the kids, this denial really hit me. I found myself feeling angry and helpless. Angry at my own helplessness. Helpless to stem the flood of emotions.

In the midst of my struggle for some perspective I wrote this to a close friend, “Hear I am again living on truth and feeling like a total wreck.” In the wreckage of my emotions I railed against the continuing restrictions that feel arbitrary and endless, against the consequences that the boys and I also suffer, against my inability to exact change in any of this. And my thoughts began to taunt me. “Life was easier before when you didn’t have to comply with these restrictions. At least when Joel was in prison he could see his nephews and nieces. This isn’t fair. It isn’t a normal way to live. And it’s hurting others too.”  A basis in truth does not actually mean accuracy in delivery. The deceit of my heart was calling me to mourn over the “leaks and garlic of Egypt.”

I prayed. I asked God for courage. I asked Him to help me to stop feeling so sad, so angry, so helpless. But I went to bed crying.  God’s grace often whispers to our hearts in the still moments when our conscious mind is at rest. I woke up still sad. But the seeming hopelessness of our  situation was pushing me toward a higher hope.  My anger has dissipated, and my sense of helplessness has thrown me at the mercy of a God who cares more about my family’s character than its comfort. Perhaps some would say that I have resigned myself to the inevitable and accepted my own frailty.  And perhaps they would be right–the inevitable truth of God’s goodness and ultimate control, and an acceptance of my own desperate neediness.

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