This morning I woke up thinking about everything. And it clicked about what Pastor had preached on last Sunday. Hadn't thought about the sermon all week long (sorry Pastor John!) but remembered the real-day parable that he shared at the end and was shocked. Why hadn't I thought of this and realized it was exactly what we needed to hear?
The title of the sermon was "I choose to cheat my selfish ambitions for the health of my family." Meaning that I choose to leave my desires and wants for what is best for my family. Here is the parable:
Imagine that your neighbor comes over to you and tells you that he has some errands to run and that he really needs you to hold this 30 lb. rock. He tells you it is really important and he just really needs you to hold it while you stand in your front yard. You think it's strange, but you do it anyway.
20 minutes goes by. An hour goes by. Several hours go by. The rock is getting heavy but you know it is important so you keep holding it. You see the neighbor's car come up and you think "oh good - this was getting hard and heavy!" The neighbor says "hold on!" and goes into the house. Then comes over and says "Hey - I know you've been holding the rock a while, but I just have a few more things to do. Just keep holding it ok!?" So you muster all the strength you can to hold it and tell him to go ahead - after all, he says it is important and you want to help. He leaves again.
Hours go by. And more hours go by. You find yourself looking for his car and when he finally pulls up, you feel relieved. However, he runs out and says "I know you've been holding the rock for a long time now. There is just one very important thing I need to do. I'll be back as soon as I can. Just keep holding it." You're very tired, it's very heavy and hard to hold, but you want to help and he asked you. So you tell him to hurry - please hurry!! - but go ahead.
An hour goes by. It starts to get dark. The rock is incredibly heavy. Your arms are incredibly sore. You see the neighbor's car coming, but you can't hold it any longer. It starts to slip. You try to grab and hold it, but it slips out and you just can't hold it any longer. The 30 lb. rock crashes to the ground and breaks into hundreds of pieces.
The neighbor gets out of his car and yells "What happened? How did it break? How could you drop it?" You tell him that you just couldn't hold it any longer. That he had you hold his rock too long and that you just couldn't do it any longer as your strength had given out. It wasn't that you hadn't tried or that you hadn't given all you could. It was just too much of a burden to keep while he was out running his errands.
Then Pastor John told the congregation that there were some of us that were holding rocks. Heavy rocks. Rocks that we were asked to hold and that were someone else's to hold. That we kept holding them because they had asked and we wanted to help and be kind. But that they were not ours to continue to hold and we tried our best to keep them, but it was getting too heavy. That we needed to realize that we needed to give the neighbor's rock back to the neighbor. To give the neighbor what is rightly the neighbor's. And to let go of the burdens that are not ours. To stop doing for others what they need to do for themselves.
Wow. Woke up this morning remembering that story and just in awe. That God is speaking so clearly to us that it is time to let Madi go back to Monica. And we've continued to hold on when it wasn't meant for us. And we're keeping her from what she needs to be responsible for and us from our responsibilities.
Thank you God for making this crystal clear in such a tough decision. And for the peace that we are making the right choice.