I've been learning a lot about obedience lately--and I can't say that I've really enjoyed the experience! But a huge part of obedience is learning to trust and like Amy Carmichael said, "So he never sends us pleasure when the soul's deep need is pain." Obedience, even when painful, grows us and draws us closer to Him.
It was really hard to let Aaron go to boarding school. I knew, however, that he would still be in and out of our lives and our responsibility for some time to come. It was way harder than I expected to leave Hannah in New Zealand knowing that there's a huge chance that she may never live with us again. That our family dynamic will never be exactly the same with all of our chicks together under the same roof. Good things are ahead, I know that(!), but it's the end of an era. One that I have absolutely treasured.
I read the book of John recently and noticed that as J3sus was nearing the cross he kept talking about how the way to be part of Him was through obedience. He kept repeating it so his disciples (and us) would understand.
Then in ch. 15:10-14 He brings it home beautifully:
"If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands (and He knew He was headed to the cross!) and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
I appreciate the promise in this verse, that if we 'obey' 'my (His) joy' will be in us and then 'your (our) joy' will be complete. Obedience may be painful but through it we are promised His joy that brings us joy!
This was the promise that I clung to as I hugged my girl 'bye' for now. This is what I reminded myself of on the trip back when I felt no joy and when I knew all the 'answers' in my head but my heart was torn. As the plane wheels touched down in our city I kept telling myself, "I will obey." I've been reminding myself this since we put Aaron back on the train to school last week and my sore heart went numb.
It's been a long first week back. One that I've muddled through on a promise, but as my emotions have had a chance to rest, His joy is now stirring in my heart. And I know my joy will be back soon! I just need to wait and trust.
"This is love for G0d: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome." 1 John 5:3
P.S. We know two people who don't have long left to live with cancer, one a child and one a much beloved wife and mother of many years. While there are emotions to deal with from my children leaving the nest, my situation seems small next to what their families face..........