My husband and I have taken our oldest to college for freshmen orientation. It is a weird experience to be without our other son, who is working at a camp this summer, away from all of us for the first time. I guess that is what this summer is, a summer of firsts. As I watch those I love dearly and fiercely step into experiences of their own, I find myself wondering if they are aware how to do these very “firsts” in the first place. Does my youngest son, at seventeen, know how to do laundry, without me being by his side? My oldest flew for the first time on his own last month, I wondered if he knew what he had to do to find his gate, make it through the security points, all on his own.
I am continuing to find new places to put my feet as a mom whose roles are changing. Even though I have been out of counseling for almost six months, I find myself assessing what I am doing. Am I doing things the right way? Am I remembering the tools and techniques I learned to keep from backsliding into the broken, destructive habits? Am I remembering that there comes a time, when I am the only surgeon capable of removing the foreign object inside of me? My husband has told me for a long time that there are things that are inside of me that he cannot remove. That he is not supposed to remove. It is my job and he is right.
I am reminded of the movie, Master and Commander: Far Side of the World that came out years ago. During a harrowing moment, the doctor must perform surgery on himself. His surgical assistant was not able to do more than hand him the tools and hold the mirror steady so he could see the wound to remove the musket ball from his abdomen. It was difficult to focus on the task and manage the pain, but in the end, the doctor was successful. His knowledge of himself, his skills and abilities, plus the support of those around him, allowed him to do the near impossible and survive.
This is the same task that is before me. I have loved ones who will stand by me, hold the instruments, and give them to me as I need them, but in the end, I must remove the very things that can cause irreparable damage. Some may ask, why must it be me? Why can’t it be someone else? Someone who can take the responsibility, instead of me? The starkest truth is, it must be me. I am the one who went through those experiences, the one who felt the pain, the hurt, the loss, the rejection, who inflicted pain on others and myself. Therefore, I am the one who will remove the musket ball.
Please understand, I am not stating I don’t need my Heavenly Father to be my Ultimate Healer. Instead, just as the woman who was caught in adultery was not stoned by Jesus, who had all authority to do so, I am to turn from the things that broke me and “sin no more.” Which in my case, means recognize the triggers I mentioned yesterday, and remove them forcibly as needed.
My God has healed me. Made me new (2 Corinthians 5:17). And now, as one made whole and new, I am to be as Paul described, someone who clings to the Grace, not returns to the sin because I have the Grace. It is a strange place to be, both the patient and the surgeon. In my case though, God stands next to me, holding the instruments, the mirror, and my hand all at the same time. He knows I must be willing to perform the surgery in order to have a successful recovery.
God has never and will never force us to go under the knife so-to-speak, O Best Beloved. He will only stand by us until we are ready to get on the operating table and ask for the scalpel. Then He will guide us through the process and by His grace, we will be healed.