It’s Coffee Break and we’re mothers sitting around Bibles talking about the faith it takes to send our children out the door each morning, and I say, “If it was up to me, I would keep Aiden inside forever.” Everyone nods.
But thankfully it’s not up to me. Because keeping him inside would hurt him more, in the long run, then sending him into a place full of beauty and ugly and good and bad and hurt and holy.
We’re all homeless, living in this place where, as Frederick Buechner puts it, the absence of God is so very present.
As parents, we give birth to these innocent rolls of flesh that smell of baby powder and we wish to keep them safe, because we know, deep down, that our love is one of the most obvious manifestations of God in their lives. As soon as they walk out that door, the love of God won’t always be a tender hug or kiss away and they’ll start to feel his absence. And with the absence of God comes the risk of pain.
So how do we as parents prepare our children for this absence? How do we inspire in them a body image that is so secure, they’ll know who they are, and whose they are, no matter the growing pains?
We do this by teaching them who their true Father is. We do this by being God in their lives, through our character, our words, and our sacrifice, and we do it by showing them, through our own habit of folding hands and repentant heart and tears for the brokenness on earth, our own longing for his presence. We show them what it means to love ourselves as Image Bearers, but also, how to tap into one’s SOUL IMAGE (something I will be talking about in future posts) when everything about the body becomes strange and unfamiliar.
In short, we teach them how to find their way home.
We are strangers on this earth. By knowing this, our children, as they grow into awkward, will understand the reason they feel lost. They will understand that the vacuum inside is a desperate longing to be with their true Father.
In order not to deal with this empty feeling through disordered eating, we need to teach our children, as little as they are, to reach inside the sacredness of prayer and touch the hem of Jesus’ cloak. We need to give them the tools to find heaven on earth, because otherwise, they’ll become swallowed up by the darkness.
By giving them these tools—this Soul Image—we prepare them to step out that door and into a world full of mystery. We also prepare ourselves, as parents, to deal with the separation, knowing that our children, as lost as they might feel, know who they are.
And then, we let go…
To watch a video from FINDINGbalance, and/or download discussion questions, click here.