July 2

“Like a Weaned Child,” Part 2

Psalm 131:2 Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with his mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.

The first word we focused on in this psalm was the word weaned (see yesterday’s devotional). Today we put our attention on the word with: “like a weaned child with his mother.”

Think of the difference between a weaned child and one who is not. Children who are not yet weaned often expect—and sometimes demand—attention and feeding from their mothers. They are often pulling on their mother, insisting on having their needs met. It’s often hard for that child to be “calmed and quieted,” as the scripture presents, when they are next to their mothers. The picture that Psalm 131 gives us is of someone next to the parent, but peaceful and content, free from the need to pull on Mom, yet also free to relax right next to her.

This speaks to our emotional connection with our parents. Being able to be calmed and quieted with our parents means that we’ve worked out our feelings about them. We don’t hate them, need them in the wrong way, or resent them, nor have we hardened our hearts against them. We’ve worked through our attitudes and issues enough that we can be with them in peace.

The film Ordinary People (1980) provides a great example of someone who couldn’t be “calm and quiet.” The father wants a picture of the mother and son. But there is so much tension between them while they stand next to one another, they can only do so for a precious few seconds at a time. The awkwardness is palpable. Mom was difficult and hard, but Son was nearly crippled with attitude.

For most of us, being able to be with our parents means that we’ve come to terms with the reality that they are/were people, people who succeeded in some things and might have failed in others. We can genuinely appreciate what they’ve done, and have let go of the disappointment that they weren’t perfect.

If they are abusive, of course you don’t have to have them in your life. But you do have to work through unforgiveness and resentment so you can talk (or even think) about them and be at peace. If not, then you’re not yet weaned from them in a healthy way. This is a greater challenge for some than others, but Paul tells us in Romans 5:20b that “where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” And the old hymn encourages us that “He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater.” (Check out the rest of the lyrics to “He Giveth More Grace”—so heartening!) No matter what happened, God supplies the grace to bring us to a calm and quieted place—His goal.

Whether our parents are alive or not doesn’t matter. If they no longer exist to physically stand next to, how does their memory play in your mind and heart? Can you think or speak of them with settled peace, or do they still have a hold on you?

No matter what happened with our parents, and even whether they are still here or exist only in memory, God calls us to a place of peace where we can be with our parents, established in peace, able to honor, and free to express His grace.

Prayer: Lord, in Your sovereignty, You arranged for me to have the parents I had. I thank You for what I can, and I thank You for the grace to work through the difficulties. Help me to take my eyes off of them, and put them on You and Your call for me to come to know this secure place of peace and quiet in my soul.

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