For over a year now, the Lord has brought His sword – kindly but inexorably – in the call to separate from my family. I’m not going to hash out the details of what the work of separation entails because this post would get out of control and that right quick. Martha Kilpatrick’s booklet “The Separator” is clear and practical and (for me) life-changing, so I’m pointing you there.
Separating from my family has been (and often continues to be) an agony. There’s no sugar-coating it, so I won’t try. But I will offer hope and encouragement from further down the road, because the agony isn’t the end of the story. I think that the enormity of the pain in the beginning was as much about the agony of letting go of what I wanted as it was about not knowing what the result of that letting go would be.
I thought that separation would result in a hardening of my heart towards my family, feeling distant or cold somehow. But the result has been the exact opposite. I love my family more now than I ever did before. Before I began this work, I was horribly entangled and didn’t even know it. The expectations and demands and needs that I ensnared my family with is shocking and horrible. Contracts forged in childhood, looking to them for my happiness, wanting love and approval so deeply that it was an absolute demand (and all on my terms, of course) – you name it, I did it.
The work of separation has been the tearing down of my familial idolatry and eliminating the obstacles my expectations created. Every day that I say yes to God, and open my hand to let go a little more, another obstacle to the purity of HIS love is removed. And the love that He has for my family, that I am meant to express, is less defiled by my selfish human love. I love more because I am in it less and less.