Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Make Room For Love

If we listen long enough to what people say about us we can begin to think we are nothing more than the words being spewed at us. Egg shells were never meant to be walked on and glass shatters easily with just a little weight. If it's heated it'll just burst. Why can't we just be real? You know, unafraid to be ourselves and share from our hearts? Sometimes it's for the reason that if we overstep our boundaries, boundaries that aren't always known, we hear the words, "I'm done". We live terrified that our relationships will be broken if we overstep or make a mistake. 

If our relationships are so vulnerable that a disagreement or a mistake shatters everything between us then our relationship wasn't as strong as we thought. We will not always agree. You know what? Sometimes we may even disagree much more than we agree, but shouldn't love be enough to hold us together? It's in those disagreements that we learn and grow with one another. A disagreement shouldn't destroy a relationship. Coming together on what we can agree on should in fact strengthen our relationship. 

A family's foundation should be built upon love. That's a love filled with forgiveness and gentleness. It's a love that recognizes we are imperfect and we cannot be everything for everyone. Shouldn't we be ready and willing to embrace our family? Most importantly shouldn't we be ready to forgive? 

What we expect from others, we too must be willing to give. If we are asking for truth, then truth must be on all sides. If we are asking for honesty may we share in love without judgement and condemnation. How is it so easy to throw a family member to the wolves, but forgive friends who come and go? It seems our priorities are all mixed up. 

A family is where you invest time. It's what you treasure. It's lasting. It's where you go for truth, for honesty, for love, for encouragement, and for inspiration. It's inviting parents to share advice. It's listening to children as they share. It's giving room to get to truly know one another. Most of all family is the place where respect is given. 

One can become angry at the drop of a hat. But no one wants to pick up that hat and have a conversation. A conversation can't just be one sided. And let me share that when we have issues with our family it should be able to stay within the family and not spread like wild fire to every single person we speak to.

No family is perfect. We have to give each other room to be imperfect. We are all different. We see things different. I'm not the same girl of Christ I was twenty years ago. Not even five years ago. I'm learning that nothing comes from arguing and I refuse to allow anger to shatter the joy in my heart. 

There is nothing good than comes from sharing hurts and confusion about our family with our co-workers and friends. For one thing, they don't know everyone involved and second, they certainly don't know the entire story. They make assumptions and give advice on things they have nothing invested. They are only hearing one side of a story. A story that is construed from untruths that are hurled out of anger. Here's a good rule: If you are not a part of the problem or the solution you have no need to be a part of something that you're not involved in. Now, I'm not saying we can't confide in a trusted friend for prayer and advice. But let it not be every person that's in our daily path. 

We make things so much harder than they have to be. Everyone is going to be offended by something. Family is a mixture of unique people that are all connected in love. One of our problems is that we expect so much from one another and much of the time what's expected isn't even realized by the other. We grow angry at a family member and that person has no idea why until all is blown up in their face. We shout and scream and accuse instead of sitting down and simply sharing in love. Gosh, why is it we forget the love part? We get angry and we simply want our way not thinking of the other person or what our words are doing to them. Family is messy. But you know what? Grace is bigger!!

It breaks my heart to hear about children and parents not getting along. When I was forty I wrote my mom a letter. I penned that letter on my birthday. I poured my heart out to my mom. I shared my love for my mom and shared with her an apology for all that I had ever done to bring hurt to her. Oh, I wasn't a bad kid, but I was a kid who did a lot of dumb things. It didn't matter how big or small I listed everything I could think of and shared with her how sorry I was for the things I wasn't even aware of that hurt her.

My mom read that letter with tears and a heart of joy. She still has that letter today. Maybe it was having children of my own. Maybe it was growing older too. I realized in helping to raise five children just how difficult it was for my mom and dad. My dad died when I was nineteen. I wish I'd had a chance to pen my dad a letter. That's the thing. We wait too long. We get mad. We say were done and that's it. We give up too easily. Then that day comes when we no longer have time to make up. I don't want to live that way.

I love my children and grandchildren so very much. I'm so proud of my children. It isn't anything that they do that makes me super proud. It's simply the fact that they are my children and grandchildren. My kids could do anything and I wouldn't ever love them any less. Nothing they could do would make me love them any more than I do today. A momma's love is mighty. A daddy is protective.

I would love to share a Sunday dinner once a month with our family. I'd love to share with my kids and have them share with me. You know, a conversation that goes way below the surface. Heart to heart talks that give us room to really know one another. Why is it so hard for us to make time for our family?

We can get so angry at one another. You know my mother has brothers she hasn't spoken to in years. I have my dad's entire side of the family and I have had no connect with them in over twenty something years. I have no idea of where to begin looking for them. I'm disconnected from my mother's side of the family for the most part. I wasn't blessed to have grandparents. That's why I try my best, my very best, to be everything I can to my grandchildren. With all of my health issues it isn't always easy, but that's a whole other topic on chronic illness.

I guess what I'm trying to say is let the small stuff go. I'm not saying the small stuff doesn't matter, but in the broad scheme of life, a life that we have no idea what can happen in the next second, does it really matter? Do we always have to put our foot down and be right? Do we always have to make a point? We spend way too much time attacking one another than spending time overlooking the small stuff and enjoying all the other stuff we love about one another.

For each chair that isn't filled at dinner makes a difference. That's one child missing. One grand that isn't there to fill the home with laughter. Friends, say, "I'm sorry", and start fresh. Give each other room to make mistakes and when mistakes are made give room for grace.

Simply put..just love one another!

"And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13
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