Image credit: James Cathcart

The boundaries of your heart

Love’s a funny thing. When my daughter was born, I spent the first 24 hours of her life just staring at her, astonished at how extraordinarily precious she was. My heart was so full, I couldn’t imagine it having room for anyone or anything else. And yet, when her brother arrived less than two years later, I discovered that hearts expand. Once I had two children I realised that it would never be possible for me to watch the film Sophie’s Choice again. As a single woman I had found it heart wrenching enough. As a mother, the choice faced by the title character is simply unthinkable. 

So Rebekah’s choice - to so clearly favour one son over another, is hard to read. Maybe she thought she was doing what God wanted, as he’d said the older would serve the younger. Or maybe she couldn’t help but grow closer to the one who seemed to want to be closer to her, content to stay home among the tents. Or maybe she resented the attention Esau received from his father and wanted to redress the balance by pouring her love into Jacob.

But I think God puts us in families so we can learn to love similarity and difference. Families teach our hearts how to grow.




She’s not a mini-me

Nor is he.

They both have bits of me in them, 

and bits of their father, 

and probably a great-aunt or two.  


Mostly they are just themselves.


Some days I love the similarities 

and some days I love the difference.


Plain sailing, right?

Long summer days of perfect family peace.


Well, no.

love takes work, time, commitment, wisdom

Sometimes it’s painful.


But I guess it is painful to push the boundaries of your heart. 


Worth it though, if it makes the boundaries more porous, 

ready to welcome another her and another him. 

Same but different. 


Keep us growing Lord. 



Genesis 25: 19-28

19 These are the descendants of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham was the father of Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, sister of Laban the Aramean. 21 Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is to be this way, why do I live?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23 And the Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,
    and two peoples born of you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
    the elder shall serve the younger.”

24 When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

27 When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. 28 Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah loved Jacob.


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