Today I have the pleasure of sharing my friend, Natalie with you. She is beautiful, kind and a wonderful picture of a godly woman. Although we’ve never met in person, God has knit our hearts together. I know you will love her as much as I do!
About a year ago I was put into a predicament that I never imagined would take place.
It caused me so much emotional trauma I distinctly remember thinking that I had no idea how I would recover. Our seemingly indestructible family was shattered into a million pieces by the act of a close relative. When I say family, I don’t mean just immediate…extended as well.
Just like that, our family dynamic was radically changed.
One Big Happy Family
Growing up as a child, my family was a solid unit and something I could always rely on. They were my safe haven from a world that too often felt like it was trying to take me out.
Ours was a household that hosted many get-togethers.
Weekends were for birthday parties and huge barbecues. Many a time we would jump into trucks to make the evening drive-in show. Aunts and uncles would sit with our parents and talk for hours, and cousins were more like siblings.
Laughter could be heard for blocks.
As a child I recall thinking that our family was indestructible and forever bonded.
But like anything else, good times don’t last forever. The devil seeks to steal all that we hold dear to our hearts.
Sadly, happy families can be ruined.
When Family Hurts
While I’ll need to spare you the details of the turning point in our family, I’m sure you can all relate. Events happen that conjure up buried hurts and cut open deep wounds. Satan prowls around looking for whom he may devour and when he finds one…he pounces.
Before you know it, things that are better left unsaid get spoken. Words are spewed and feelings are hurt. The tornado of emotions are unleashed and it doesn’t discriminate. It pummels everyone in it’s path.
That unfortunate event eventually turns into the blame game with each person wanting to stand their ground and plead their case. Yet, no one is listening because everyone is eager to be heard.
Family squabbles seem to hurt the worst because there is so much love and trust vested. Who do you think knows that the best?
You guessed it! Satan.
He has been destroying families since he entered the scene. Cain and Abel…ring any bells?
Why the Pain?
As I’ve grown older I’ve realized that adult hurts are much different than the ones we experience during childhood. We are more likely to hold grudges as adults and stick to our guns. We are no longer capable of getting over it in one afternoon like in the days of yesteryear.
I began to ask the Lord why we had to go through this pain and came to some conclusions while in deep prayer and in-depth bible study.
He experienced pain
Our Lord paid the price for our sins on the cross and this was a painful experience. He was scorned, hated, spit on, beaten, accused, and ridiculed. People cheered as He felt excruciating pain. We too will be hated and stand accused for no reason other than belonging to Him.
He was betrayed
Judas was one of the 12 Apostles and was chosen to be with Jesus during His ministry. I imagine the kind words exchanged and the trust that was between them as all being chosen for such a call. I can also imagine the hurt Jesus felt when Judas betrayed Him for a bag of silver coins.
He felt alone
On the last night that Jesus was with the disciples He asks them to pray with Him and instead they fell asleep. Jesus was facing death, and knew that Peter would deny Him 3 times. When He died on the cross He asked the Father “why have you forsaken me?”.
I believe this had to happen so that Jesus would feel the loneliness that we feel at times. As it is said, He has experienced what we have and yet He didn’t sin.
“For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his footsteps. He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.” 1 Peter 2: 21-23 NLT
Leaving the hurt in His hands
The example that Jesus gives us to follow when we are suffering is to not sin, not deceive anyone, not retaliate, and not to threaten but to leave our case in God’s hands. This goes against everything that is ingrained in us by society’s standards. We are taught in this valuable scripture that even though we get hurt, it should not lead us to sin.
God first in family
These verses were instrumental in my getting over the hurt in my family. The Lord didn’t cause the hurt, but he did allow. This situation allowed me to recognize the error of putting my family before God. No matter how tight the bond, it can be broken, because people themselves are broken. Pride, jealousy, stubbornness, quarreling, and deception are all acts of the flesh and if allowed to rule, will destroy families…including mine.
But God is still bigger than all that.
When I allow Him to be the first one I trust, my reliance on the fragile feelings of relationships on earth don’t threaten to destroy me.
The Lord has shown me that forgiveness and love are what He desires from each of us when experiencing pain.
We are to let go of the past, just as He let go of ours.
Forgive others, just as He forgave us.
Extend grace and mercy, just as He is merciful to us.
It is by allowing His love to mend relationships that family hurts can be remedied. I’ve had to let go of my pride, and move forward in love.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Matthew 6: 14-15 NLT
Forgiveness isn’t an option. It’s a command. I thank the Lord He has been merciful to me so I can extend that mercy.
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