As a mother of teenagers, more often than not these days I feel like I’ve been duped.
So this past Sunday, when the Scripture was read from Jeremiah 20:7-9, I was drawn to it like a fruit fly to a juicy, freckled banana:
“You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped.”
(Ouch. Yep. That’s me, thinking this parenting thing was going to be some sort of lovely dream with a few bumps but mostly sweet satisfaction along the way. Right.)
But it doesn’t end there. Let’s dig that knife in a little further now.
“You were too strong for me, and you triumphed. All the days I am the object of laughter; everyone mocks me.”
(There go those eye rolls again. Yes, I know them well.)
“Whenever I speak, I must cry out, violence and outrage is my message, the word of the Lord has brought me derision and reproach all the day.”
(All that I have lived for, every sacrifice, seems to be biting me in the leg about now. The payoffs seem so far away.)
And so what to do? Well, that’s right here, too, believe it or not. The supposed solution to all this madness.
“I say to myself, I will not mention him. I will speak his name no more.”
(Uh-huh, the old cover one’s ears with one’s hands so as to ignore, and if that doesn’t work, how about the silent treatment? It’s so tempting, isn’t it? And it works, for a while, but then…)
There’s always a but…
“But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I grow weary holding it in, I cannot endure it.”
And there it is. I’m sucked right in, all over again; pulled in by a torrent of love against my will. Against my will, no matter how many eye rolls I must endure, I am in this for the long haul; in this family, here as a mother even while the subject of constant derision by those I have helped love into existence and poured my life into so they might have life. I am helpless against the force of God’s undeniable goodness, mercy and justice, and all the hope it offers, over and over again, calling me anew each day, over and over again, though so often I want to instead cry out, “This is too much. This is hard. How long must I endure it?”
I am like a toddler then, not understanding why, and yet running to my mama, my papa, because love is the thing I cannot deny myself, even when so much about it doesn’t seem to make sense and doesn’t add up. This force more powerful than anything I have experienced keeps me coming back, despite uncertainty. The silent game falls short, for I cannot deny God’s goodness. I have agreed to follow Him and He has agreed to take me up on that, all.the.way.to.the.cross.
I’m too far in, too far gone, too bowled over by love, even when that love seems to bring nothing but heartache. My only recourse, then, is to keep moving forward, further into the unknown, straight into the middle of the confusion and everything beyond my control, to a place of total surrender…again…and again.
I have no choice. After all, I cannot imagine the alternative: doing this very same thing but without Him.
Yes, I’ve been duped, and I’ve no one to blame but myself, and many to thank for leading me here. For I believe with my whole heart, and every day I have said, and every day from here on out I will continue to say, repeatedly, “Jesus, I trust in you.”
And so I will. To the end, and to a day when all will right itself, and love will saturate my weary bones, and I will sigh, and surrender one very final time to love.
Q4U: Have you ever been duped?