Do you have any M.L.D.s?

Multi-Level Disasters? Mother-in-Law Debates? Maple-Lemon Duck Sauce?

Acronyms develop when something appears so often that it calls for a more efficient name. No need for, “Repondez s’il vous plait.” Just write, “R.S.V.P.” Same with A.M., P.M., B.C., A.D., P.S., ASAP, B.Y.O.B and many more.

I’ve decided to coin an acronym: M.L.D. stands for Major Life Disappointment. I’ve decided it’s long overdue we talk about them, and officialize while taming them a bit, as acronyms tend to do. A case in point: A.D.D. became an official diagnosis, a household word, and an acronym around the same time. Admitting the diagnosis no longer shamed parent or child. The same should be true of admitting our M.L.D.s. Many, but not all, of us have had them. They lurk behind even happy eyes and broad, brave smiles. Here is my short list of some of the things that would qualify as M.L.D.s:

1. Untimely bereavement- Death of a loved one always saddens, but the loss of a child or young spouse hits harder than the loss of a 95 year-old grandfather. The young wife who loses her husband, the child who loses his parent, these bereavements bring almost unspeakable grief. Note: Let the bereavement be a suicide, and the grief is unspeakable.

2. Chronic health problems- You may know those nagging bodily malfunctions that don’t kill you but sometimes make you wish they would. Especially strange, poorly-understood illnesses such as fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome qualify. Chronic suffering that others can’t comprehend makes for a lonely road.

3. Straying children- This one punches any parent in the gut; but invested, godly parents most of all. A true parent cannot severe emotional ties with their child any more than a river can stop its flow into a stream. But a lost child makes that connection continually and extremely painful.

4. History of abuse- I’ve known people whose abuse history resembles an X-rated horror film. Especially incest or domestic violence damages the bonding machinery such that relationships come hard ever after. Not only are the victim’s family connections forever compromised, but the sense of being a misfit around healthier people drives them into the very subpopulation that violated them in the first place.

5. Aging- “He has set eternity in their hearts,” meaning that God created us to live forever. The wearing down and ultimate death of the systems that support life, plus the crumbling of personal appearance, ability, and ultimately cognitive strength, can drain zest for life right out of a person.

6. Relationship failure- We all have a few burned bridges on our life’s path, but very intimate relationship failure, such as marriage or parent-child, leave the very worst charring and, depending upon circumstances, cause the very worst ongoing pain. Relationships are delicate, intricate, and at times complicated. The best of surgeons must sometimes pronounce patients dead. It happens—in the hospital and the hospital of relationships.

The list goes on and on, enumerating as many sorrows as a fallen planet can choke out, but these fall close to home for me and those I care about.

So, am I writing this to depress you and myself? No, I’m setting us up for a solution. And here it is: Jesus saves from M.L.D.s. Not the way we would like Him to save, no. But in His way, He saves us. For the person who lives for this world alone, an M.L.D. drags them down like a lead boot in a foot race, unfortunate and unredeemable. But for a believer preparing for the coming of Jesus, an M.L.D. provides a needed wedge between their spirit and things of the world. M.L.D.s help spiritually as they harm temporally. More than this, M.L.D.s drive to a higher Source of satisfaction.

Let me get very personal and real here. My M.L.D.s have given me less to look forward to in this world. I really don’t feel excited about much. But my innate forward-looking human nature has adjusted by simply skipping over this world and honestly anticipating the world to come. I used to bristle a bit when people talked about the coming of Jesus. I worried I wouldn’t “make it.” I didn’t trust my own holiness enough to jump up and down at the thought of facing a pure, holy God coming with ten thousands of angels to purify the world of sin. But lately I’ve decided to leave my preparedness in the Preparer’s hands, and simply look forward to a much better world and the utter end of MLDs.

What have your MLDs been? How has Jesus used them in your life? Please you’re your answers on my blog at Oh, and notice I’ve removed the periods. This acronym is really taking hold . . . .

6 thoughts on “Do you have any M.L.D.s?

  1. Lisa Reply

    I lost my father to drug and alcohol abuse. I walked into his bedroom to find his lifeless body lying face down on the floor. Needless to say I was traumatised. At age fifteen I knew little about God except that He existed, and my experience made no sense. I drifted through life the next couple of years, struggling to understand my purpose in life.
    I had never before felt the need to grapple with existential questions until his death. I lost interest in the nocturnal activities of my peers, they seemed vain. I could not shake off the feeling of emptiness that stayed with me wherever I went.
    I looked hard for substance, and finally after experimenting with several philosophies and religions Jesus satisfied my curiosity. I couldn’t understand why I had to suffer, but I know that it lead me to Christ, the Man of Sorrows.

  2. Jennifer Jill Schwirzer Post authorReply

    Lisa, that was really moving. And completely on point! You got my meaning. I wish you God’s healing and comfort. He will make it all up to you.

  3. Tom Reply

    Good topic JJ! I think you are just scratching the surface, and the MLD acronym could catch on and become a book title. As you said the few you mentioned (several are biggies in my life, like the death of my father, and divorce)are just the beginning of the list. And the solution is evident for us who have crossed the dark valley into the golden light of Jesus love, but would be less evident ( or unacceptable, impractical, magical) to those who drink from broken cisterns and are looking for a human remedy–like another relationship, a pill or bottle, or a quick fix. I think in your development of this theme (if you do decide to make it a book) there needs to be a transition of experiential (like a testimony or backstory)evidence that gives the “how” to the leap of faith. We all have struggled in our faith walk from darkness to light… and that has made the difference!

  4. Jennifer JIll Schwirzer Reply

    Thanks so much Tom for your great comments. Great idea making it into a book. I have about three or four books waiting to written first, though! So maybe you should write it?

  5. John Kilby Reply

    This is brilliant. MLDs Hmm, Today I had to battle with everyone’s MLD, his name was Lucifer in Heaven but now he is well known as the devil on earth. He badgered me all day long as I was trying to do a job of running a storm pipe from the gutter to the water tank before the rain starts. He put rocks under my feet, tangled the power cord many times, he even hid my spirit level at one time, phew what a day! But, I did ask for the Lord to help me so the job did get done and now I am listening to the rain with a grin on my face. Thank you Lord for the help tody.

  6. Jennifer JIll Schwirzer Reply

    John it sounds like a brutal day for sure. And the enemy does indeed stalk about like a roaring lion. And you’re right, without Jesus, life itself is a major disappointment.

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