Sunday, April 06, 2014

Love Returned

I am a mother-in-law at 40 years old.  No, I didn't have a baby at  14 years of age.  I did, however, marry an older (ahem, much older) man who had a 9 year old son. A son who's birth mother was gone. A son who was perfectly happy to be a father-son duo with no desire for a nosy, know-it-all Betty Buttinsky. That's me by the way. Ol' Betty Buttinksy. Their life before me was full of guy time - bowling, darts, late movie nights and fried food.  They had a routine that fit for school and work and sports. It was a sweet picture of a devoted father and adoring son. Like bread and jam.

Then, in walks horseradish. Again, me.  Horseradish and jam aren't the most scrumptious combination ever invented. Completely in love with the dad in the equation and thoroughly unaware of brewing discord. I disrupt the smooth operation with the best of intentions. No chore chart before? Oh, well let's get one laminated and on the fridge.  No set bedtime? My word! Curfew begins now. Dessert at any time of day? At least one fruit and veggie at every meal. Now that that's all straightened out....

As you can imagine, my gangbuster attitude did not go over well.  My new husband was stretched in all directions trying to comfort his frustrated, and probably grieving, son while keeping me romanced and allowing me to wear my rose-colored glasses awhile longer. He became an expert Stretch Armstrong trying to please us both. All the while, my new son and I became frustrated and distant and angry.

Now skipping lots of details and some teary heartache, the God Who Sees began to make evident His work in the shaky trio of us. My head and pride got out of the way and my heart began to de-ice.  A little. His need for a momma increased when girls entered the picture.  Fast forward 4 brothers and sisters later, skipped school days, challenged parental authority (certainly more in check by this time), and gargantuan spiritual growth on my part. My name is now "mom" to five children, four by birth and one through heart adoption. The hugs come more easily. The somewhat wise counsel accepted occasionally.

Skip forward to last weekend. My son binds his heart with his bride. I see my Army veteran son in a new light watching him tenderly gaze at her, gently holding her hand. I had that moment you read about...seeing him at my wedding, in his football uniform, at prom, sending him off to Afghanistan. I held it together. Until...

Walking through the airport in a rare moment with just he and I. "Was it kinda weird not having your mom at your wedding?" I asked. "She was there" he replied.  Me. He meant me.  "It woulda been weird if you hadn't been there. You're my momma". Can you guess? I didn't hold it together. Tears streaming, flowing, walking down the moving sidewalk in the Phoenix airport. Years of prayer, commitment, frustration, and love all returned to me in one moment.

See, all along husband and I couldn't see the beautiful side of the masterpiece the Lord was weaving through us. In us. We saw the mess and mistakes and sometimes regrets. We could only see our own hands in the weaving, nursing our callouses. Recently, He has made known a portion of all He has orchestrated and created. He has given us a glimpse of the man He is forming in my son and in the husband he will be. He has given us the gift of a new daughter who loves Him.

My sweet Lord has given me the gift of love returned.

Are you waiting for some sort of love to be returned? Take heart in our Faithful and Good God. His ways and thoughts are greater than our own. His purpose bigger and more amazing than our imaginations.God is good all the time.All the time, God is Good.