I am estranged from my parents. I cannot tell you how hard it was to write those words. It’s a painful secret that I try to keep to myself.
In the past six months I have learned more about Jesus than in the previous 57 years of my life. While my journey has been very painful, it has been a path that has proven to be good and right. I never would have chosen this path – but the path has caused me to grow in my relationship with the Lord. I believe it has made me a better person than I otherwise would have been. I have learned some life lessons that I may not have been able to learn on any other path.
I have learned to accept that my parents have a differing point of view. They were raised with different experiences and they have their own personal heartache and hurts that played a part in shaping who they are. I have come to realize that my parents did not intend to hurt me personally …but the hurts they carried spilled into my life.
I have learned to pray differently. I no longer pray that my parents will understand my point of view or that they would “get it”. Instead I pray that they would know how much Jesus loves them and that they would become so full of the Lord’s presence that it would overflow into the lives of others.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:17-20
I am no longer the victim. The wounded little 13 year old girl has left the building. When my parent’s names come up in conversation I am no longer filled with anxiety or anger. I am no longer consumed by my past hurts because I have settled it with the Lord. I have learned to be grateful for the good things they brought to my life. It no longer matters who is right and who is wrong…as long as I am right with the Lord.
Letting go of the relationship has allowed the Lord to move more freely in my life. When I was consumed by the relationship it controlled my heart and my mind. Giving the relationship less space in my life has allowed the Lord to fill the empty places of my soul.
“That which consumes you will control you”.
I am no longer tempted to chase after the relationship. I have learned that if I remain in an unhealthy relationship it steals from my healthy relationships. I have asked for a better relationship. I have suggested we sit down together in order to gain a better understanding of one another. True healing comes when all parties are willing to ask for and extend forgiveness. My heart remains soft to a true reconciliation.
It’s taken me awhile to get to the place where I do not feel the need to defend my position. I know where I stand before the Lord and that is enough. There are two sides to every story. I have seen that when I hold back from sharing my side of the story it opens the way for the Lord to work in my life.
“A posture of humility brings God’s presence to my problem” – Lynn Cowell
I have learned what happens when we forgive. Even though I am estranged from my parents I am still able to love them. When their names come up I feel a sort fondness towards them. When my aunt went into hospice my heart ached for them because I know how much they valued that relationship. This is nothing short of a miracle.
I have learned that Jesus sustains us in our darkest hours. I have truly experienced the fullness of the Lord’s presence as never before. I have changed. My heart is softer, my thoughts are kinder – even my personality has changed. When I came to the end of myself – the Lord met me there. There is more of Him and less of me.
I have learned that I am not in a battle with my parents.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:12
Satan seeks to destroy relationships. He’s getting a win in my family. This battle is not mine, but the Lord’s. I do not need to fight – plead – argue – reason – or wrestle. All I have to do is stand. And I am standing on the Word, on wise counsel, and on the Lord’s solid presence in my life.
Jackie , my heart aches for you . As you said the battle is the Lord’s. I praise God for the perspective he has given you– peace in the storm. Hugs my sweet friend.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Lori. It’s hard to speak up on some of these tender topics. I also enjoy reading your blog. What a wonderful ministry you have 🙂 …We really should have coffee sometime when you are in town!