It has been such a whirlwind the past few months. I am looking forward to us getting moved, settled, and back in rhythm. This past two months has been incredible, awesome, painful, grueling, and so many other words I could use. I am tired physically and emotionally but I am on fire for Jesus, so I will take it! This past weekend we attended Ransomed Heart Ministries, The Home Coming 2019. It was the first ever gathering of the saints that have been a part of their ministry for the past 20 years. Hubby and I were so excited to go and be a part of it but we had no idea what a privilege it was going to be. I felt more blessed to be a part of that audience than I may have ever felt. Isn’t it beautiful how God works? Among all of the pain and suffering I had to experience a short five weeks ago and of course, the residuals, He throws in a weekend to Florida to play and then a homecoming to remind me that I am a part of a family — the family of God. And Ransomed Heart Ministries.
Going to Restoration of the Soul a few weeks ago was a big risk for me. I knew once I let myself stop long enough and ask God to bring in memories that I was going to have to let my family of origin go. That took a lot of courage on my part. I really only have a dad and two brothers still living but they haven’t ever really felt like family. I’ve gone years without hearing from any of them in seasons, and then when they decide they want to know what’s going on in my life, or need me, they call. I was in the hospital for two months back in 2009, it was harder than most can even imagine and I was only 39 years old. My mom had passed two years before and I imagine that is what led to my gut shutting down, I was afraid to do life without her. I spent a week of that two months on life support. My dad came to see me one time in the first hospital where I spent 10 days having tests run. Though he called a few times, I didn’t see him again. In 2015 I spent 224 days with a tube in my gut and enduring (that was my word for the year, by the way) seven more surgeries. I don’t think I saw any of them that year. I tell you this to say, it should have been easy for me to separate from them but the truth is, it wasn’t.
I don’t know why my family had a hold on me. It’s not like they have ever been there for me. My sweet in-laws, however, were at my hospital bed side every single day I was in there. Some days I would wake up to them sitting there quietly, watching me and I am quite sure praying for me. They have never gotten me, I am wildly different than them. But they know I love their son beyond belief and that I love them. They have definitely been a blessing when I have needed them most.
After I renewed my vows to Hubby in March 2016, our 25th anniversary, I dropped my maiden name from my Facebook page. I think it was the place I had to begin and they made it easy. My dad left the party early, and without saying goodbye. It hurt that day, but I got a message from his wife telling me how beautiful I looked and that them leaving was not my fault. Something unintentional did happen, but mostly my dad didn’t get my attention, and he hated that. I’m not sure why he thought he deserved any of it on my day with my Hubby, but I assume he did. The reason I assume he thought he deserved attention goes back to our first wedding when he cut in on my first “husband and wife” dance with Hubby. I was mortified but had no idea how to change it. Leaving early was his way of letting me know he wasn’t happy with me, but her text said it all, he was throwing a fit. He could have been upset because I had my step dad give the toast, too. Bill Buffington, said step dad, is a man who knows me and loves me, and I couldn’t think of anyone better to offer that toast. My oldest brother didn’t show up for the celebration, I wasn’t surprised. I chose to un-invite my middle brother because of things that were going on in his life. I wanted to stay focused on Hubby, and he could have pulled me out. It should have been an easier choice to let them go, I know.
I am so not sure why it has been such a tough choice to sit still and let those memories flow other than I hate pain. My counselor said she was always excited to see a Enneagram Seven come to intensives, for us pain is kryptonite. I can admit that I attempt to avoid pain constantly but this pain was so necessary to the healing in my family. I don’t see healing going up to my family of origin, that would indeed take a miracle. I don’t put it past God, but we humans have to be willing and invite Him in, I don’t see that happening at this time but I continue to pray. I am referring to the healing in MY family, Hubby, Coree, Connor, and Caylee. I even pray for healing in my in-law family, that somehow our lives would so co-mingle that God’s love and light spreads to everyone and love overflows. The week at intensive was about MY family and I was willing to face the pain and let go of people who don’t know how to love well. I’ve always felt that is what God created me to do, break those chains. Jesus is coming and a wave of saints will be added to the family. I was assured of that this past weekend, and I am fully aware that I am a part of the saints to usher that in. Do you recall the Jesus Movement in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s? I was young, but I do recall the energy of that movement. People were loving others into the family of God, not judging them. That is what is coming in our world, and me and MINE, we will serve the Lord in this WAVE FOR JESUS!
In Luke 12:51 Jesus says, “Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other!”. I know that sounds crazy to most of us, isn’t God the God of Peace? We all get to choose to love God and let Him love others through us but it is definitely a choice and that is where we brothers and sisters find peace. Two verses later He tells us that “Father will be divided against son and son against father; mother against daughter and daughter against mother; and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” I don’t want that to have to happen to any of us. I want for us all to choose Jesus and learn how to love like Him. But, we all get the right to choose. I’ve heard from Spiritual leaders in my life that many people will lose out because of the 12 inches between their head and their heart. Many people know what the Bible says, they work diligently to appear to not break any of the commandments in there. But do they know Jesus? I was saved at the age of nine and I have no doubt Jesus was in me from that time. That being said, I didn’t know His voice until 2013 when a beautiful woman from Ransomed Heart Ministries, Stasi Eldredge, stood on a stage in front of me and said that Jesus would come for me. Guess what? He has. And He will come for you too. That is when my true relationship with Jesus came into view and He began to mend the broken pieces inside of me. That is when I began to read the Bible for myself and learned verses like those I mentioned above. That is when I began to learn how to love others with grace and mercy because I know that my God gave me that by giving up His only Son to die for me.
It was time to let go. I don’t hate anyone I don’t think, not even my family of origin. In fact, I think that is why it has taken me so long to let go, I love them. But, I had to choose for myself what love looks like, and when I weighed the actions of another against that, sadly they lost. I pray for my family consistently, and I know if they can find humility and grace that we may be able to mend the wounds. But I also know that I have a calling on my life and in my marriage and with my kids, and focusing on the lies the enemy feeds me about my value and worth through my dad and brothers isn’t welcome here. I asked God at that first women’s retreat how I could forgive my dad while I was still being abused in the ways that he has done that. This year, my year of the word Blessed, I found my answer in letting them go and focusing on my sweet dear Hubby and our kids, and the call on my life for Jesus.
Father, I thank you for the husband and the children that You have so graciously given to me. They are the most precious gifts I have in this world and I do not ever want to take them for granted. Give me to strength and courage to obey your will so that I can go forward in this life and shine You brighter than ever before. In Jesus precious name I pray, Amen.
My biggest change in life was to begin to find gratitude for what I had rather than anger for what I did not have. I couldn’t change that on my own, but God (my favorite two words) wants that for everyone, and I pray all of my readers will find that in their own hearts and lives.
“Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)