Today is the first day of Elul. It is the start of thirty days of fasting, prayer, and repentance. It is a a season to reflect on the past; to look inward and make reparation in our relationship with God, and with each other. It is a time of preparing for the Day of Judgement (Yom Teruah), and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). With not even a whole day into the fast, my heart is already breaking over broken, seemingly irreparable relationships.
Several days ago I was looking through home movies for clips of Hurricane Andrew’s aftermath. (Yep, I was in that mess.) What I found instead were my little children in what seems like eons ago.
There was Rosemarie – mom, business woman, mover and shaker, do-it-all-and-get-it-done – looking to make a life of perfection for herself and her children. In the process, she overlooked their simple needs, like a kind word of approval, acknowledgement, and a display of love and acceptance.
As she was filming her son learning to crawl (trying to get it on film for posterity) she chastised her three year old daughter merely looking for some of that same attention as she stepped in front of the camera, calling, “Mom, look at me Mom.”
Watching that scene now, through a grandmother’s eyes, I just wanted to slap that woman and scream, “Would you just look at your daughter?! Would you validate her?!”
You see, my daugher and I are estranged and have been for 14 years – nearly half her life. Her entire life as an adult woman has been without her mother (who loves her desperately) but was so caught up in her own dreams, goals, and desires for perfection that she left behind the most important thing – love.
I know God provided women for her who could fill the spot I did not. But because of me, she has a hurt in her heart that only God can heal. And that is my prayer for her, that God heals her heart and draws her ever closer to Himself.
We all make bad choices and bad decisions. It is not always the big ones from which we cannot recover. Rather the little ones that don’t seem like a decision at all. Yet they eat away at the foundation of our relationships.
I have reached out to my daughter over the years in an attempt to make things right. She is a lot more like me than she wants to see, especially in her striving for perfection. The hurt is too deep for her to respond, so I continue to pray for her healing.
Why would I share so personal a revelation of utter failure?
To prove that God is truly faithful. As we walk in obedience to His word, and even some of the traditions His people developed to walk out that word, we are lifted up above the muck and mire, transformed into His image.
Only one day into a fast I entered with a lot of trepidation, because it meant giving up coffee, my go to morning, noon, and night. I didn’t think I’d make it past my first 5 minutes, let alone receive such a revelation, such insight in how to pray. But God took the offering from my heart, and showed me that He is with me, and will bring me – and my precious daughter – through to the end.
I pray that you take the opportunity this month to join with God’s people as they turn inside themselves to search out those things that keep them from a relationship with God and each other. I pray that this month of introspection and action will bring you into the fullness of who God calls you to be – His child, a reflection of Himself.
May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.