Friday – October 18, 2013; Genesis 31:1—9 & 17-19

Now Jacob heard that the sons of Laban were saying, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s; he has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.” And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him as favorably as he did before. Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your ancestors and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was, and said to them, “I see that your father does not regard me as favorably as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me.  You know that I have served your father with all my strength; yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times, but God did not permit him to harm me.  If he said, ‘The speckled shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore speckled; and if he said, ‘The striped shall be your wages,’ then all the flock bore striped.  Thus God has taken away the livestock of your father, and given them to me.

So Jacob arose, and set his children and his wives on camels; and he drove away all his livestock, all the property that he had gained, the livestock in his possession that he had acquired in Paddan-aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.

There are times in life when find ourselves in a bad situation, and have to admit that we are that it is time to simply withdraw and move on…

Sometimes it is a relationship that has gone astray, whether it is with a partner, a friend, or even a family member, and we have no choice but to either walk away and break things off completely, or change the nature of our relationship.

Other times it can be a job that is no longer working out for us, it can be a bad habit, a bad place to live, or simply behaviors that were once helpful (or fun) but are now damaging.

And there are different ways to move on…we can suddenly pack our tents and gather up our family and livestock and simply leave, heading for home, or to a new home for a fresh start.  There is a lot to be said for a quick clean break…though if we look at it, breaks are seldom clean or easy!

Which is why we can also look at gradually moving in a new direction…changing behaviors and reactions slowly, getting ready for the major change, and then taking steps to make the change happen.

Both approaches have merits, and both can be useful to us as single parents.  There are times when we find that a rule we made or a method we have been using really does not work, and we can stop and change things quickly, admitting we were moving in the wrong direction and then changing course.  This can be a rough way to make a change, but will get attention, and can be effective.

Then there are times when we need to go with the flow of things, and see how our children have changed as they grow up, and changing gradually along with them, making changes to accommodate their developing lives, and needs; often these changes go almost unnoticed until we look back over the years and see how life has changed.

No matter how we do it, suddenly or gradually, these changes can cause upheaval, resentment, confusion, and stress…even changes made for the better can be rough at times (especially if our children or partners do not always agree with them); and it is helpful to make them with the support of others, especially those who have been through similar changes in their lives, which is why Jacob was sure to take along his whole support system when he pulled up stakes and moved on…it is good to have those we care about close when making changes.

It is also good to stay connected to God through prayer, meditation (when possible) and praise…these things also improve our spiritually health and feed our souls, giving us strength to continue to the next right thing for ourselves and our children…even when it is downright painful to do so.

Let us Pray

God help us to manage the changes as they come, and give us the strength to act boldly when needed, and the wisdom to act slowly when that way is best…and please help us to remember that you are always by our side, surrounding us with your love and grace.  Thank you for your presence and guidance, and for all those who are there to support us in our journeys, as we go through the changes of parenthood.

Amen

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