Part one is here, Part two is here, Part three is here)
Clarity can give you a headache and a heartache. I had both at this point. I had fully entered the arena of examining past relationships that had turned hurtful and present relationships that sharpened with grace. The result being that I knew God was and is being glorified in my weakness and sin, amidst the presence of pain. There is no bye on His work.
A friend's willingness to have God work out whatever, however, and whenever in her life directly benefits me because as she is refined by the Lord, she learns how to love me in the midst of my own refinement. Likewise, I am able to show this grace to others.
Not even perfectly, but hopefully, prayerfully, with the wrestling perseverance of Jacob. There will be scars in the process. Embracing God's purpose in those scars will mark how He is reflected to others.
Letting this part sink in has given me new gratitude for even the most detrimental of past relationships. Would I have chosen for these things to happen? Would I like a do-over on my own ungodly responses? Would I hope for a future true and biblical reconciliation? No, yes, and absolutely yes.
But whether or not my wishes are within reality, I can unequivocally trust that God will be glorified. In my sin--as He convicts and disciplines; and in my victory--as He receives the credit for mercy shown to me.
On to close the circle started here. When it comes to my parenting relationships, there are certainly some regrets, desires for do-overs, and always some ongoing refinement. God has given me new confidence and hope though in how I can biblically approach those issues. His work in me and my sons will scar and mark us all. The choice always looms as to how I will show those scars and how they will learn to view the scars. I could easily pretend that there is constant harmony and each one of us is moving from high point to spiritual pinnacle in obedience and love of God.
And that would be a lie better seen on t-shirts entitled, "Life is good," than lived out. The truth is only "God is good," and He exhorts us to tell that story much more loudly. Especially when life is not at all good. How much more valuable to receive all things from God instead of only the blessings that are just like we want them? How much more precious will be the praise from our lips as we exalt Him for working in the "ugly" as well as the "glorious"?
The one good story is that we are the greatest of sinners and Jesus Christ is the greatest of Saviors. To Him alone let us run in every circumstance. Let the truth of His scars borne for us work in us gratitude for the scars that tell of how we are being conformed to His image.