Your Father's Love equal, not uniform.

Dear Nora,

You're growing up so quickly, and so brilliantly. You've inherited a full dose of your mother's independence & creativity, while also showing off your grandfather's engineering intellect. So I understand that it may surprise you learn that I still know some things that you don't. In fact, I know a great deal more than you.

"I hate you!" - You used tell me that all the time when you were little. I remember the first time you said it I was a little upset, but I understood why you said it. You simply didn't understand why I was parenting you so differently than your brother. You didn't know what I knew. You were focused on the now, I was looking at the decades to come. Life will only get more challenging as you age; which is why I had to parent you in a way that would grow you into the person you needed to become, leaving behind the person you were. I simply loved you way too much to leave you unchanged. I equally love your brother, but I definitely don't love, or parent, him the same.

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”...

...Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus...

...Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept.

It is a dangerous thing to believe that equality requires uniformity. It is the type misunderstanding that corrupts the soul, mind, and body. It is this misunderstanding that let you to utter the word dagger: "I hate you" to someone that has fully loved you since before you were born.

Yes, I am occasionally stern with you - obstinance requires it.

Yes, I am not always always a beacon of compassion - the toughest of lessons require the toughest implementations of love. Do you not know that pain reveals your true self, which allows you the greatest opportunity for growth & joy?

Yes, I typically give Calvin more leeway when he gets angry - his autism makes it hard for him to control himself. But back then you didn't know he had autism, did you?

Yes, I am typically very patient with those that are not as mature as you - because I know they can't handle the tough love yet. Which of course means their greatest joy is still a ways off. But you didn't perceive that's why I'm so patient, did you?

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching.

But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Here's how the poison of "equality = uniformity" plays out. When you were three, you & your brother both needed to clean your room, but you both lacked any sense of urgency to do it. To Calvin, I promised candy & a movie to get the job done. To you, I promised a long timeout on your bed if you failed to do the job. You, got angry.

Between the ages of 1 & 3 Calvin got more spankings & timeouts that you've received in your first decade of life. Of course, on cleaning day, the three year old you had no idea what your then five year old brother had already endured. And you had no foresight of how many future consequences that rascal would likely receive as he matured. You simply wanted the "good thing" thing your brother got, and were adamant that I wasn't loving you the same by not even making it an option for you. And that's where the poison effected you the most.

The "good thing". Your desire for uniformity - combined with a lack of understanding of the very big picture - lead you to believe that the candy your brother got was actually good. And it was, but not for very long. You see, the sugar rush spun Calvin into a mania of hyper-activity, which directly lead to a broken glass, a timeout, and a crash from the sugar high. A timeout soon followed. So in truth the candy wasn't really good at all, because the truly good things in life are the ones that last. Of course, none of the after effects of the candy bothered you, because you avoided both the threatened timeout and were playing happily in the backyard. No crash from a sugar high. No future consequence. Just future joy.

My children's future joy is, and always has been, my top parenting priority. I don't parent you the same as anyone else because you are unlike anyone else. You're a snowflake, just like your brother. Equality is loving all snowflakes to the same degree. A very high degree. And such vigorous love compels me to parent each child very differently, because of course no two snowflakes are the same. So do not look at your brother's experiences and be upset because they are not yours. That is envy. That is ignorant pride. How can you appreciate and grow in your own experiences - experiences crafted in love for your future joy - if you're only thinking of what I'm doing for others? Envy robs you of present and future joy.

Do you remember the stories in the New Testament about two sisters & a brother that Jesus loved a great deal: Mary, Martha, and Lazarus? One story in particular involved Mary being praised for experiencing Jesus and Martha being scolded for being anxious & troubled. Jesus seemed harsh on Martha, especially because her pursuit of a well prepared meal was so noble. Later on both women lost their brother to a disease, a disease Jesus could have easily cured but intentionally chose not to. Even harsher, right? I think in the future I'll write you and your brother a letter on the benefits of harsh love, but for this letter I want you to consider the amazing love Jesus bestowed on both Mary & Martha by first showing tough love.

You see, by treating them so differently in the first story, He had grown them precisely the way they needed to be grown such that they could both make incredible declarations of faith in the latter story - the kind of faith the gains both eternal life and a joy filled earthly life - after their brother died. Martha in particular seemed to be free & clear of her past anxiety & troubled soul. What amazing love! But until you saw the whole picture, you didn't see the greatness of God's love. He loved the sisters equally, but not uniformly. There is no doubt in my mind that future Martha would have taken Jesus' past rebuke over praise, because future Martha would be relishing in the future joy that stemmed from such perfect parenting by her Abba Father. (ps - as for why Jesus cried in the story, I don't think it was for Mary, Martha, or Lazarus' benefit...it was because he saw the crowd of souls weeping with them and knew that some of those souls would be the same voices shouting "give us Barabas!")

Do not let other's perceived "good things" rob you of your current and future joy. Trust your Father - for He loves you more than you'll ever know!

Love, DAD.

Created By
Nate Rogers
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Credits:

Created with images by dimitrisvetsikas1969 - "the raising of lazarus iconography painting" • Cea. - "[ O ] Johann Friedrich Overbeck - Christ in the House of Mary and Martha (1815)"

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