This post was started earlier this morning at a local coffee shop. I was going to meet a friend there, and I had slipped in earlier for some quiet time and to begin this very blog post.
I could never have foreseen what the Lord had in store. With all that is in me, I desire to use all the sensitivity and wisdom and Holy Spirit discernment that is needed here, and I pray you will hear my heart. And His.
Here’s how the original piece began…
“In early morning’s dark, I awaken. My sleepy heart turns toward the Shepherd. He, the One Who is ever present, ever ready and always eager to hear. I have no need to speak aloud, for He can read my thoughts, knows my heart. And I, His sheep, know His.
“‘I don’t think I’m on their radar.’ That’s what he’d said to me, my muscular, blue-eyed son. On Super Bowl Sunday, a party’d been planned, and he’d not been invited. Then those words.
“‘I don’t think I’m on their radar.’”
These are the words that came to me before the sun awoke. As I lay there in darkness, I heard Jesus say, “You may not be on their radar, but you’re squarely on Mine.” And I knew what words to give my son.
We had talked it over last night, this hard thing of exclusivity and exclusion. The longing to be-long. That there were folks who made the cut, there were other folks who didn’t, and then the bright, clear light of truth. Which I was going to tell you in The Post I First Began.
“You know,” I’d said from my perch beside the bed (my son and his father, they’re listening), “the 12 guys that Jesus chose for His inner circle? They weren’t the Who’s Who. They weren’t the Richie Riches. They weren’t the guys with the right last name.”
What a motley crew! “They were working class, fishermen.” And here, his dad chimed in, “One was a hated tax collector.” Another one, a thief.
“His inner circle! The ones He chose to invest in, to pour His life into. The ones handpicked for the founding of His church, they were just ordinary folks.” My own heart felt the quick’ning, courage rising.
All of that, I was going to tell you. For this very thing had been a struggle countless times in the past for his two older brothers. And it was this very thing, this longing to be-long, doors slamming, that had wounded one son so deeply.
A mother’s heart is a fierce, fragile thing. Having a child means that for the rest of your days, you will feel. So much. So much joy. So much pride. So much–well, so much pain. For a wound to flesh and blood is a wounding for you, too. That’s just how it is.
It’s the wounds from our youth that are the hardest to shake. Years later, you can recall careless words once spoken. Can remember ancient slights. These wounds can tell us lies about our identities; about who we are, what we’re worth, what we can (or cannot) be in the future. That’s why we need the Truth. Need Forgiveness.
It is part of our son’s story that he did suffer rejection at the hands of kids at school and at church, and mostly, the kids at school were the kids who were at church, too. It is also part of our son’s story that in that wounding, he chose to turn bitter. And bitterness, as we know, has terrible fruit…
Anyway. That pain of his? Over the years, I’d felt that, too, and of course, that pain brought anger. This, today, is my confession.
But now, to what happened this morning.
As my friend and I are nearly finished, I look up. There before me are two of the ones who had deeply hurt my son-with-a-story all those years ago. They’re taking a seat by the window. Picking up our things, Beautiful Girl and I, we hop across the street for a hot pretzel (don’t judge, we do a two-fer). I can feel the Spirit prompting, and I’m waiting. I’m testing.
We finish up our conversation, fresh, hot pretzels dipping in cheese, and I can feel it. The physical symptoms of a holy nudge. So I cross the street once more…
They’re still there. I slip up to their table. They look up. “I have had to forgive you.” That’s what I say. “For how you hurt my son.”
I will not tell you the details of our conversation. But I will tell you that grace was exchanged at that table. Grace was given, grace was received, and a mother walked away, free. It was my privilege to speak a blessing over these two men, over their families, their lives, their ministries.
Blessing where a curse had been. Forgiveness in place of offending. Life springing up from the soil of pain. Love, the Light and the Way.
For the one who’s been excluded, left out. Rejected, not chosen, not be-longing, know this. That you may not be on everyone else’s radar, but you are squarely on His. Jesus, kind Shepherd, full-fills every longing. So you, my friend, you be-long.
For Him, for His kingdom, for the next generation,