There are times where a quarter of a century of evo teachings and exposure to some of the charismatic teaching on spiritual warfare particularly has taken its toll. Normally, I see how I have moved on and never really agreed with alot of that side of the teaching anyway….but sometimes my conservative roots show.
Yesterday was not a good day. Third Party freaked well and truly and failed to make it to an important GCSE exam. The school were great and pointed out that she has the summer “resit” opportunity, but I felt like a total failiure as a mum, and questioned my professional abilities if I couldn’t get my own daughter in for an exam.
In the mist of this I was searching for explanations and got my head drawn to two; one secular and one religious. The first was that it was because she was from a single parent home. I went down the line of thinking that said people like McLanahan and Sandefur were right, and the New Right were right. I got, for a moment, into the mindset that said if she were from a two parent home these things wouldn’t happen. But then I thought what about people like Obama. They show that children from single parent homes can have a huge drive and be successful.
Once I had moved on from this, helped by the fact the Body Shop have a retro offer on Green Apple bubble bath another, in some ways more sinister thought entered my head. Were I, and Third Party, being punished for my relationship? I got sucked into thinking about all the generational stuff I knew and about punishment for sin.
This thinking betrays a bit about the baggage and thinking I am seeking to shake off. It also shows a bit, I have been shown, about the way I think about stuff without reference to scripture sometimes. TOH quickly pointed me to the story of blind Bartemaus and the way the idea of “generational curses” was dealt with by Jesus. She also pointed me to the amount of healing our relationship has bought.
I was not necessarily convinced though, until I got a message from the otherside of the Atlantic, from somebody who had no idea about what was going on. They had responded to a facebook status update saying I needed a hug and some reassurance about teenagers. This heterosexual, married, conservative evangelical shared a story with me….which they were worried I might have taken the wrong way…..which showed me that this type of thing can happen with whatever type of family. They also pointed out the key thing which is I love Third Party. For me this showed how God actually works. God knew where I was right then and the things I was beating myself over the head with. He used one of the most unlikely of my FB friends, in a different country, who had no knowledge of what was going on, to speak to me. This was a God of reassurance and love not retribution and punishment working.
As for the thoughts that made me think it might be divine punishment for my relationship, well I guess that shows the way the dissonence is still there sometimes. I may have found the Methodist Quadrilateral and God may have used it to pour in healing, but sometimes one of the building blocks can take a pole position, obscuring the others. Within this there is also the fact of we don’t know, definitively, the answer on the whole homosexuality question when it comes to loving, faithful, monogomous partnerships. The interpretations can be conflicting and it is ambiguous. There is no one person we can say has definately got it right on this, greater people than I still debate it. This is what sometimes makes integrity and knowing what is “right behaviour” and how God might punish us or otherwise so hard.
Yesterday, though, as I say when I was searching for explanations and trying to blame myself I learnt an important lesson, or actually a couple. Firstly, God still works today to reassure us. He used my US friend to give me a message I needed to hear and used FB to do it. Secondly, sometimes we need to stop blaming ourselves and let our children take responsibility for their own actions and the consequences of them. I had done everything in my power to get Third Party there and failed. That was down to Third Party….not my parenting. Finally, sometimes there are not easy and obvious explanations that we can use to see where things can easily be fixed or beat ourselves over the head. Sometimes we have to allow the answer to be “I don’t know, God just give me wisdom to get through this and do the right thing, somehow”.