‘There is hope for your future,
declares the Lord,
and your children shall come back to their own country.’ Jeremiah 31 v 17
Until tonight I hadn’t really thought about where my children have been for the past year. It was only today as I wrote our family update for friends and family who like to receive our news once a year, tucked inside a Christmas card, that I realised what it means to be writing a family letter. To be writing a letter about a family unit who are still together. To be writing about my husband and myself as the partnership, the commitment, the covenant, at the heart of this family.
I didn’t write an update last Christmas. What could I have written ? In my mind our family unit had already disintegrated, and I truly believed that it would not be long before it was formally severed.
And yet, 12 months on, God has generously and tenderly brought healing and restoration. It has been more painful than I could have imagined but as I read that verse from Jeremiah I see what we are promised for our pain. Hope for our future and our children returning to their own country.
‘Their own country’ for my children tonight, is the family landscape which they are familiar with. The love of two parents who love each other and are committed to each other through the good and the bad. I know that my children have remained oblivious to all that has gone on in the past 18 months, but the reality is that we were leading them towards unfamiliar country. We were moving towards setting them into a new country of separated parents and divided loyalties and hurt and anger and a loss of certainty. I am in no way generalising at all, because some relationship do end and must end, but in my own situation, this evening, I am trusting those words. My children will return to their own country. And we can all have hope for the future.
If you haven’t read my story of the brokeness of my marriage and wish to do so, there is a narrative account in my 31 day series – Hope for a Messed up Marriage. Alternatively you can read my real-time as it was happening accounts via my blog entries from January to October of this year.