Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Learning as I go...

Readers that know me well will be aware of this, but for those of you who are new friends (Hello!), I feel it is important to make it clear that I am learning as I go, in this blog. When I used to teach Sunday school and Bible studies, I maintained that I was learning as much from the classes as anyone. And I wasn't just trying to be humble. Good teachers are good learners. The learning doesn't just happen in the days and weeks before the lesson. When we ask God to fill us with His Spirit, and to teach through us, we do it with a recogntion that we, too, will be students in this process. It's really a wonderful thing.

Lately I have been talking a lot about boundaries. Guess what lessons are on the table now? I am sad to say that, in an act of boundary setting/honoring, I have had to move out of my home. My husband and I are separated. One of the sad things about setting healthy boundaries is that we are not in control of how others will react to us. We cannot even try to control them. If I am allowed to set a boundary that I feel is neccesary for my personal health and well-being, then others are allowed to not like it. And to not want me in their lives.

I won't be writing about my marriage in any detail, and I certainly won't be talking about our "issues". This is not the place. The most important reason that is true is because anything I write would be one-sided, and that's not fair or honoring to my husband. The changes that are occurring are tragic, and yet they are important and healthy. I don't know what the future holds. I do know that my future is in God's hands.

He has provided abundantly. In the past few days, I have been overwhelmingly encouraged by the love and support of friends and family. I have moved into an apartment with a friend who will be a part-time room-mate, and who needs someone in the apartment on an on-going basis. The apartment just happens to be a block away from the school that my daughter and I will be attending next fall.

My focus in the next few weeks is my daughter's graduation from high school. I am deeply grateful for this remarkable child. Grace is and always has been a joy to me. I am also exhuberantly proud of her, and as her mother, I want the upcoming weeks to be a time of reflection and remembering the journey that has brought her to the day when she dons her cap and gown, hooks arms with two of her fellow students and marches through the ceremony that will signal the beginning of a new chapter in her life.

In a sense, the next few weeks may require that I set boundaries to protect this time with Grace. Sometimes it can be hard to set boundaries when we are caught off-guard, are feeling especially emotional or are too busy to see the violations coming. Preparing ahead of time for the possibility can be helpful.

Thinking about what might come, and devising ways of handling it ahead of time can help us relax and not spend sleepless nights worrying that something or someone might pop up and make things more difficult. It is important not to let this process slide into worry. The point is not to increase worry, but to lessen it by being prepared for the possibility that something may come up.

We can begin our preparations with prayer, asking God to give us wisdom, courage and patience. This is the process I am in now. Because my life is in turmoil at the moment, I need to make the decision to focus on what is important right now, and that is Grace. I cannot be a wife to someone that does not want me to, but I can be a mother to my daughter and share this transition with her. Whether it is helping her choose her prom dress and making sure it arrives when it is supposed to, or taking her to her first job interview, these are days that we will remember forever. I want Grace to remember them with joy.

Life can be bittersweet sometimes. In the days to come, I will be experiencing extremes of both bitter and sweet. Whatever comes, setting healthy boundaries means that the decisions concerning my life are mine to make. I thank God for this gift of respect and freedom, and because He is so gracious as to grant me total freedom, I freely choose to follow Him.

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