Love Lets Go
Sep 1st, 2011 | By Karen Lembo | Category: Women of Faith, Words of Wisdom
Although people say we look alike, my teenage daughter has a passion for adventure that bears little resemblance to my relatively timid nature. Although our grandparents, little more than teens themselves, came to this country from Europe almost 100 years ago, this trait must have skipped a few generations!
This past summer, at age 16, Emily traveled with a group of strangers to China to teach English for three weeks. Due to various restrictions, we were not able to communicate with her most of the time she was gone, which was additionally disconcerting.
Whereas I would have been anxious to be so far from home with people I didn’t know, my daughter was invigorated. I believe God called her to take this very big step for His good purposes.
I was impressed with the strength of my emotions as I tried to let her go, even for this brief journey. I wanted her to go, I knew she wanted desperately to go, but I didn’t want to be separated from her for such a long time and distance. Once she departed, God brought this familiar verse to mind: “God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) In that moment, God reminded me that He wouldn’t make me go through anything He hasn’t already gone through Himself. He uses my pain to reveal His heart. He let go of His Son to reach a lost world, the world that He himself designed and created, yet continues to reject Him. God gave His “One and Only”–the Son whom He truly, deeply loves–for all of us.
At what cost? I guess we kind of figure, God is God, He is so great and powerful, nothing can hurt Him. Yet He has placed within parents an incredible love for our children, a visceral attachment that leads us to experience tremendous pain separating from them. By connecting with us in this pain, God reveals the grief He felt in being separated from His One and Only Son, and that He still feels being separated from His children. He did not have to send Jesus, but He chose to reveal the true nature of His love through this plan of eternal salvation.
How did it feel to glance to his right and see His Son’s empty throne? Did He feel the same way I feel when I glance down the hall and see my daughter’s empty bedroom or her empty place at the dinner table? And how does He feel seeing empty rooms in His glorious mansion?
Wouldn’t He do anything to bring His children home, and those estranged back into the fold?
God’s love is amazingly sacrificial. He doesn’t force us to come home, though He wants us with Him and deserves our obedience and worship. Love lets go. Love understands that it must let go in order to grant the freedom to be reciprocated. Love lets go to bring others home. Love sent my daughter off to a “closed” country in hopes of bringing some of God’s lost children home. I am learning to have that kind of love.
It’s not easy, but it is very, very good. As you glance at an empty place at the table or down the hall, may you be reminded just how much your Father sacrificed for you to become part of His family.
All references are from NIV based on a July 2010 post from my blog: http://www.livingabovethelaundrypile.blogspot.com/.
Karen Lembo is a writer and artist currently residing in Salisbury, MD with her husband Art, and their three children, Emily, Arthur, and Katie. She has extensive experience as a Bible study and small group leader, children’s minister, and Moms in Touch prayer group leader. Karen’s blog, “Living Above the Laundry Pile”, and her artwork can be accessed at http://www.karenlembo.com/.