“When you grow up ….”
Ruefully Dora contemplated the oft-repeated phrase that punctuated her growing-up years. ‘When do you finally grow up?’ she wondered.
Rebellion grew with each refusal to allow her a choice, a decision, a preference. It seemed unjust that she was required to take responsibility for decisions and actions in which she had no say.
Like a carrot on a stick hung the words, “When you grow up ….”
Inevitably the day came when she was asked what plans she had for the future. The school counselor laid the options before the class of teenage girls. She knew before she studied them that there was no place for her in aeronautics no matter what song the drone of an aircraft sang to her. Journalism was a costly training ground, so that was not to be considered. Mechanics were the prerogative of the masculine gender. She remembered Cherry Ames and chose to be a nurse.
The school counselor wrote in her school-leaving testimonial that Dora was ideally suited to a nursing career.
Later she learned that the school psychologist’s report carried no recommendations. Dora was average; she had no outstanding qualities or talents. She would probably marry and have children. (Ironically, in legal terms, married women were classed with minors and lunatics. They had no right to choices, decisions or preferences.)
Too young at seventeen to enter nursing training, she spent the interim year working in an office. Disappointingly she was overlooked in the first call-up of nursing trainees after her eighteenth birthday. Told that this was because she had not kept in touch during the year, she rang the hospital personnel office every week until crossly informed that the next call-up would be in six months and not to contact them again until June.
In June she was advised that she was now too old to join the younger group attending the training course.
In due season Dora, no longer a minor, joined the lunatic group. She married and had children.
It does not take outstanding qualities or talents to marry and have children. It does help if the girl is pretty, which Dora was not. She was generously referred to as “plain.” The rebellion of her growing years lurked in every corner of her soul, turning laughter to tantrums and tantrums to tears. She was a tumultuous and uncomfortable companion.
Until the great and wonderful “day of the Lord” and the start of a new phase of growing up, a time when she began learning to let go the reins of choice, decision and preference. Nor did this happen quickly or come easily.
Just as in the natural sequence childhood comes before teenage, and teenage precedes adulthood, so in the spiritual sense we grow from babes in Christ, through adolescence to being ‘mothers in Israel.’ (Or ‘mothers-in-law,’ when you find yourself once more relegated to the realm of minors and lunatics!)
When you are very young it may seem confining to submit yourself to the choices, decisions and preferences of a natural parent. Surely there should come a time when you are able to make your own choices and decisions, suit your own preferences. Of course: when you grow up.
But when you grow up there are many other factors limiting your choices, decisions and preferences.
It is only in the growing up into Christ, in allowing the spiritual Father to effect His choices, decisions and preferences in your life, that freedom becomes reality. Then, when you grow up, you truly know that all things work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose – to be conformed to the image of His Son.
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