“I know you well; you aren’t strong, but you have tried to obey and have not denied my Name. Therefore I have opened a door to you that no one can shut.” – Revelation 3:8 TLB
Two days before Christmas, I got a call from my husband’s aunt. I hadn’t talked to her in about four years. I saw her name on my phone screen and my heart started pounding. She only calls with bad news.
It was bad news. Keith’s mom is declining. Memory issues and feeling like she has nothing to live for have taken a toll. She is down to 80 pounds and has no interest in eating.
My sons and I need to go see her…even though she may not know us.
And we know it is going to be hard…on several levels.
I am not sure what it is like with your in-laws, sisters, but I don’t have the same relationship with them that I did when Keith was alive. Maybe it is because he took the lead, talking to his parents on the phone, finding out what they needed and how they were. Maybe it’s because seeing me brings back the pain of yet another loss (Keith’s sister had passed away ten years earlier, and his dad four years after that). Maybe it’s because we need that sinew of connectivity between us that Keith provided. Maybe it’s simply because I am an overworked single mom of four boys, trying to make it through each day.
Regardless, I mourn what I once had with them.
Once upon a time, I felt like a daughter in Keith’s family. But over time, things changed. Keith’s dad died, and the strain of that additional death (she lost both her parents shortly after her daughter) changed my mother-in-law. Hard times.
Then Keith became ill. I did the best I could to manage the illness, including his family when possible, but they had different expectations of how things would go and were not local. And at a time when we should have been focusing on Keith and what he needed, there was some stress between us.
Today, even though the apologies have been made, those words still sit there. I think we have all forgiven each other. I know I have spoken often with the Lord on the matter, and feel at peace that I have cleared the negative junk out of my own heart. I pray the rest of the family has done the same.
Yet, the damage was done. The rift is there and I am not sure how to mend it.
But God does.
He has been here before, walked with others on this path:
- He was there to guide Jacob in mending the rift with Esau (see Genesis 32-33)
- He brought Miriam and Aaron back into faith with their brother Moses (see Numbers 12)
- He showed Paul how to accept Mark after conflict (see Acts 13 and 15 and 2 Timothy 4)
As I proceed through 2015, I am praying for His guidance and wisdom on how to include Keith’s family in our lives, how to mend that rift and move forward. I am not sure how it will all turn out, but I hold to the promise of the verse above…God will make a way for healing, and no one can change that. He knows my heart on this.
Making these decisions is not easy, sisters. But, with God’s good guidance, it is possible. I pray we can all turn to Him as we seek to deal with imperfect people as we ourselves are imperfect people…especially in our families.
Father, I know I am not perfect in the way that I deal with my husband’s family. I know I have sinned and fallen short. We all do. It is our nature. Please help me to forgive where I should and help me to have the strength to go forward with them, loving them as he loved them, warts and all. Help them to do the same for me and my children. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.