My family was invited to a celebration with some extended family members I had not seen in many years. I was uncertain about extending the olive branch. The hurt from the past started to surface like debris brought up by the ocean's waves. Hurts that belonged to other family members, hurts that I had heard of or witnessed, began to rupture the wounds I thought were healed years ago.
I relegated myself to carrying the yoke of my past, acknowledging the weight but not knowing how to reduce it. Different scenarios played out in my head:
How would I be perceived? How would my husband be received? What about my kids? Would they be warm towards my children or would they pay the price for the distance that had formed over the years?
I grappled with additional anxiety because my mom, who often helps us navigate these particular family dynamics, was away in Mexico at my grandmother’s bedside. My siblings and I follow my mom’s lead when we interact with these family members. She shields us from the tension as we make our rounds with cordial greetings to family members. Now she was not here to buffer the tension.
While my heart raced as I strategized worse-case scenarios, my kids were incredibly excited to meet family they had never met before. Their joy was no match for the unease I felt.
Ignoring the invitation was not an option, even though the apprehension consumed me. I knew this offering of peace was from the Lord and I wanted to humbly obey. I felt Jesus ask me to trust Him and remain in His peace.
There were not many words exchanged at the celebration, other than, "How have you been?" and, "I'm so happy you are here.” The kids played happily with dogs they had never met before. They giggled with delight as their faces were licked repeatedly.
I imagined so much pain, yet none of it manifested in the worst-case scenarios I envisioned. My sleepless nights resulted from my refusal to acknowledge that I missed these family members and so deeply yearned for them to be in my life.
My good name may have been swept up in the inheritance of family dysfunction, but in that moment, the past became a vibrant rainbow after a severe thunderstorm. I remained in the moment, which passed all too quickly.
Jesus makes all things new, even the ruptures in our families that cause us intense pain. Today, I invite you to welcome the olive branches in your own life and families that will lead you to a greater freedom.
// Are you being asked to foster familial bonds even though there has been pain in the past?
// How is Jesus inviting you to surrender any wounds by remaining with Him in the pain, trusting Him to heal?
P.S. Grab this free wallpaper for your phone or computer to remind you of your focus during this summer series (and beyond)!