First of all let me explain what I mean by “Abandonment”. I am NOT talking about the current concept of “freedom” – that seems to believe that having nothing, and no taking zero responsibility for anything is being “free”. Well. In one sense of the word it is, if mere freedom from responsibility is all we crave. We are all free to live at the lowest common denominator if we want – we are indeed “free” to aspire to nothing, to refuse to dream, to merely survive. But that is not “Life”, or “Freedom” as God planned it.
The only person whom I know of historically, who accomplished that kind of “freedom” with purpose and dignity, instead of a simple slack refusal to manage life, was Mother Theresa – though I am sure there have been many others less famous. She lived very simply, and happily, on the same level as the poor whom she served. However, during her rather significant life millions of dollars flowed into and out of her hands! She was not poor, she was simply not selfish. She denied herself no real need – but determinedly refused all pampering which she could not offer to those around her. She refused to lift herself higher than those to whom she was ultimately committed. That is not religious aestheticism it is an indomitable courage, and a profound love of God and His creation!
Also, the abandonment which I am discussing is not a mere avoiding of all personal and relational responsibility to those whom we affect, or help create, or whom helped create us! That sort of irresponsibility never makes one free. In fact it ironically produces a sort of codependent indebtedness which forever binds us to those for whom we have shirked our responsibility. Emotionally and psychologically if not physically.
No. Those are mere social diseases of a mentally ill, spiritually challenged, intellectually obsessed and morally bereft “modern” society. What I am speaking of, however, is the deliberate abandonment of my rights to MYSELF – in favor of the will and desires of a living, trustworthy God. Who, by the way, has went to great extremes to win that trust and fealty.
And on that note of abandonment, I forget that everyone does not share that extreme trust of their Creator. Therefore, I tend to share my testimony in a way that suggests I take for granted that people understand this stance. I do tend to forget that this is NOT a common American Ideology. In fact it goes totally against the grain of all patriotic images of “Independence” and the cherished “American Dream” and vision of what success should, and usually does, look like according to those parameters.
I tend to forget that I deliberately, and resolutely, revolted against that system of thinking and doing years ago – even as a Jr. High School student! I dismissed myself from their unjust criteria, because I got SOOO tired of being evaluated as somehow “less” - less acceptable, less popular, less desirable, etc. - simply because I wasn't born with the proverbial “silver spoon” in my mouth.
And - to add insult to injury - this social rejection was afflicted upon me by people who were obviously intellectually and spiritually lacking by comparison, and somewhat socially inferior as well – as far as people skills, communication, etc. goes - even in comparison with a social reject as underprivileged as I!
So, seeing this issue most clearly even then, I resolutely rejected that whole “cast” thing, along with the whole “race” thing, and several other social phenomena which I considered to be social anomalies, rampant social selective ignorance, all of which needed to be corrected – not adhered to and enabled!
All of that to point out that my journey to God has not excluded intellectual operations, nor has it depended on them entirely. By His grace I have been able to operate the intellectual gifts vouchsafed to me within the spiritual parameters! I have been thinking my way through this jungle of religious weeds, while trusting in an unseen friend and holding to an unseen hand. I evaluate the physical, material world through the eyes of the spiritually enlivened.
But I do forget from time to time that this puts me a bit at odds with both worlds – the intellectual and the spiritual – which usually maintain quite some distance from each other. This is another unfortunate occurrence however, which I have never felt led to support! I am not a “check my brain at the door” kind of gal!
I am sharing all of this to explain a recent revelation I've had, during the whirlwind weeks and months of preparing for the first wedding of our expansive brood.
At one point in the harried weekend, as is typical of me, I was sharing with a younger mother, again, concerning “why, and how, we had so many!”. And in my dialogue - or “testimony” - I said something to the effect of, “....and so we had children until God was done.” And – as per the typical response to that statement – how could I forget – this person said, incredulously, “You mean until YOU were done?”. And then she laughed that “knowing” laugh – which I have learned over the years means that she is one of the mass majority of “normal” women who were “done” after one or two, or however many they “bravely endured” for the team.
And I paused, thought for a moment (a practice which I've painstakingly cultivated with the help of the Spirit, which has saved many a casual relationship), and I replied. “Well, yes. I was done, because God decreed that I was. But you need to understand that in the sense of that idea which you mean, I was “done” before I began. It was HIS idea for me to have children, not mine.”
I went on to explain to her, trying to relieve her obvious bewilderment, that I had been told I couldn't have kids, so I had developed a “sour grapes” attitude toward the whole thing, and had successfully convinced myself that I had neither the desire, nor the capacity to “mother” anything more needy than a cat! But that God had changed my mind, and I was ever so grateful at this point! At which she excused herself and fled to the safety of the rest room, never to return to my table. Again. I am used to this reaction – but the truth is the truth. It is not fault that so many people live in another – less ethereal - “reality”. Though I have come to see the unseen Kingdom as way more stable than this five-sense world which most people are convinced is the only existence available to us. To me it is not even the “main” reality – it is a necessary evil which we must endure until time comes to an expected end.
But the “revelation”, though not entirely new, brought with it a refreshed gratefulness - that God did not allow me, in despair or disappointment, to miss all of this! And a deep relief that I did have the sense to abandon my rights to myself, and give Him total control of my life – including the size of our family, and that I chose instead to exercise my Freedom in becoming His indentured servant of my own free will! And He has been SUCH a gracious master! He has been such a life saver! No! It is more than that! He has been a LIFE GIVER, a LIFE CREATOR!
Because, before I began serving Him in earnest at the age of twenty, after searching my whole life, for more of Him, I had NO life worth having! I was barely surviving, and wasn't doing that too effectively! I wanted to die, because I felt that I had been summarily dismissed from all life held – due to the roll of some unseen dice that gave me to a family of poverty stricken dysfunctional abusers! I eventually succumbed to depression, and my brave revolt ended abruptly in a despairing realization that the “snobs” of the world, seemingly, had beaten me, because in this realm money really is power. Even the power to be acknowledged. I had come to believe that poverty is an automatic exclusion, for which neither brains nor brawn can always adequately substitute! I was whipped!
And then – He came to me – got my attention – got my focus off myself and onto Him and what He was offering to me – and I took Him up on it! And it has made all the difference. He has brought life where there was no chance – beginning with resurrecting dead hopes, and ending with resurrecting a thoroughly abuse-decimated womb!
As a result – I am the proud mother of seven wonderful people who are whole, happy, searching, socially relevant, and socially functional! Don't get me wrong, they are people. They struggle. They fall. They screw up. But they also get up! And they have become proud, shining trophies of my “mothering” – that I don't really deserve because I couldn't have produced any of that without Him!
At one point He asked to control the size of our family, and we – with much trepidation – said a quavering but audible “yes”. And from there He took the reigns, and He has done it. Well, He is far from done. But He is working to make a family who, like Abraham of old, will do His bidding and bring Him Glory. And I think He has made just such a Mishpocah, or Clan, at Duncanshire! And I am so glad that I just got out of His way, laid down my “rights to my body”, and let Him roll. I am seven times richer than I would have been if I had not.
I can not begin to articulate how much these people bless me just by being who they are. And I was glad for the chance to impart into some of humanity the values which made me who I am today. It is a great feeling of accomplishment.
And even those who questioned my methods at the time – in excruciating detail – can not argue with the results! They mostly stand a-gape in wonder. Even those who wouldn't dare to give me credit for anything stand scratching their heads and congratulating Gene! Lol And it was a team effort for sure! But again, the glory and admiration goes to God, from whom all the blessing came. I am eternally grateful – literally – thanks to Him!
And so, my journey of abandonment to His will for my life continues. I have no idea where it will take me, now that this time of stewarding the next generation of God lovers is over for me, and they are leaving the nest one by one to find their way in Him. But if the last season is anything to go by, it should be exciting and productive – if challenging to the max! I look forward to the next season with anticipation and a bit of eagerness. He is Good. This I know. This I live. This I count on with all of my heart. He will never let me down.