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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Part 4: How Long Would You Wait?

"How long do I wait?" That's what I kept thinking.  My son had gone into the Laser Tag arena for the first time. And, when everyone else returned, he was nowhere to be seen. I was beginning to worry. Not that he was kidnapped or hurt, but that he is in there freaking out or crying because he is lost or afraid. "Where is he?" I thought, still not ready to give words to my fear. How long do I wait until I say something or do something?

Here's the back story:

My son went to a classmate's birthday party this past weekend. He is in a new school, so he was a little nervous and was experiencing some new things with some new people, so he asked me to stay with him. I was glad to, and I made a deal with him. "You do your best to try as many new things as you can. Try really hard to be independent, and I will try really hard to be right there when you need me." It was a great party. Ryan got to drive a Go Kart, go rollerblading, and play Laser Tag all for the first time in his young life.

Each of the kids and the birthday boy's father all went into the Laser Tag the dark with strangely glowing lights and loud music. Not Ryan's comfort zone by any means. I wondered how he would do, but he went in and tried his best. I was so proud that he was willing to go in there without me.

Then, they all came out, the dad first, then a boy and a couple more. About 5 minutes later everyone was there ... except Ryan. OK, did he slip by unnoticed? Did he head over to the arcade? No. OK, what now?  But, I know in my mind it's not a big deal. But, I have to say something ... or should I just wait.

I finally tell the teen who has been assigned to our group. "One's still missing. My son is still in there." She counted up our group, looked around for him and then went back in to find him. A couple of minutes later, she came out with Ryan, a little shaken but no worse for the wear. I was happy that he had tried something new, and I was happy that I could be there when he needed me. I think he was glad too.

The question that I had to answer is the same one we all face when trying to resolve conflict. How long should we wait? How long until we give up hoping that the other person will respond with love and grace?

The process of Remembering looks something like this: Repent, Rethink, Redo, Remain, Respond, and Restart. Today is about remaining.


Remain steadfast. Remain prayerful. Remain hopeful. Remain in Christ. In other words, wait. Continue to do your part, continue to repent, continue to rethink and make plans. But, wait. Trust God to do His part and pray for your child to do their part. They will need your prayers and your patience. Generally speaking, the longer there has been a rift, the longer they will need to heal and to trust you.

Isaiah 26:3 – Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—in peace because they trust in you. (NRSV)

So, maybe you are wondering, "How long should I wait for my child to respond to me with love and grace? How long is too long? When should I give up and just walk away?"

The question that never occurred to me standing outside that Laser Tag arena is, "How long until I give up trying to find Ryan?" My favorite show is on in an hour, I don't want to miss it. My wife is making Chicken Cordon Bleu tonight, I guess I look for Ryan again tomorrow. My feet are hurting from walking around that roller rink so many times. Ryan is old enough to know better, he should be able to find his way back. That's absurd!

I wouldn't give up. That was never in question.

Just like you would never stop loving your child. Don't let yourself ask, "How much more of this can I take? How much more before I totally give up? How much longer until I lose all hope of having a relationship with my child?"

Those questions may be natural to have when you have tried so hard and feel like there is just no response at all from your child. But don;t dwell on those thoughts. Those questions have no place in our hearts as parents.

We have to commit to never give up.

Remain steadfast
for as long as it takes.
Never give up.
Keep hoping.
Cling to God for strength until that day comes.

If you need prayer for strength today, to keep hoping, please comment here, email or Facebook message me. I will be glad to pray for you or with you.

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