Today’s Independence Day. It’s a day off, the end of a long weekend, and a good time to relax and think.
My son is with me — I’m planning to make a cake for his birthday today, since I’ll be out of town on his actual birthday at the end of the month. But he’s had a skype visit this past week with a possible roommate in Portland area, and he’s got a phone interview next week for a possible job in Portland — and he’s soon going to be Independent from me.
And that reminds me of Independence Day four years ago, when I finished reading the book Why We Broke Up and put away my wedding pictures and declared myself truly Independent from my ex-husband. Sadly, but with finality and a certain joy.
And now I am soon to be Independent of my son. Or him Independent of me.
I recently made an honest effort to get a job in Oregon to be closer to both my kids. I didn’t get it, and I had prayed hard about it, and I felt like God was saying that He has something for me here.
But, you know, I don’t actually want to be Independent!
At the same time, I know it’s good for me.
Something a friend said recently reminded me of one of the blows that struck when my husband left me. The way I knew I was lovable was that my husband loved me. When he left, I had to come to grips with the fact that I am still lovable.
And being Independent forced me to do that.
And some of the same things are at play if my kids aren’t close by, needing daily mothering.
My life is valuable because I’m needed, right? My life is significant because I am significant to them, right?
Now, I’ve had well-meaning friends say that I am lovable because God loves me because of Christ. Or that I am nothing without Christ, but that God looks at me and sees His Son, sees me as perfect in Christ.
Those ring hollow for me. I believe that God sees and loves me.
George MacDonald has some harsh words about the notion of “imputed righteousness.” God sees Truth when He looks at us. And He is actually building character in us, not just pretending that we are already righteous. But I do believe that as we love our children even when they haven’t matured yet, so with God. And as we love the quirky individuality of our children, so with God. And He knows that He is building our character.
I don’t want to be Independent. Attachment is good for people, and we are made for Community. I fought tooth and nail against my marriage ending — until God finally showed me He had something else for me.
But God is teaching me things in my current state of Independence, and that is good.
He’s teaching me that He loves me in all my quirks — I believe God loves my number nuttiness, my love of children’s books, and my excitement about spotting great blue herons, for example.
Yes, God sees all that I can be — but I believe that He loves the quirky uniqueness He created in me. I believe He loves even my childish baby steps toward becoming like Christ.
He’s showing me that I have things to contribute to the world, independent of my husband. (I was happy to accompany my husband around the world, just supporting his career.) He’s given me the gift of a career of my own, and one that I love.
And most of all, He’s saying to me,
Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.
I may be Independent. My kids may be Independent. But I am not alone.