The past couple of weeks have been pretty crazy. Christmas time is always busy, but more than the holidays has been happening. Our daughter-in-law's sister is in the hospital with bilateral pneumonia and is quite sick. My husband has been called on to pick up our grandkids from school today and take them to piano lessons. The daughter-in-law is torn and under a lot of stress because she and her sister are really close. Prayers are going up for all of them.
We've had an event in my family that put a lot of stress on us. At this moment, things appear to have smoothed out somewhat, but while it was going on, all of us were hurting. This will need a lot of prayer, too.
Families can seem to be blessings or curses. I had a mother-in-law at one time who nearly drove me crazy because she really was crazy. My sister-in-law had been the "boss" of the family for so long that she thought she could tell us how to live. When my husband and I separated, the best part was divorcing that family.
My dad's sisters were constantly fussing between the two of them and one of the sisters-in-law. My parents refused to get involved in the spats. Even when they knew the sisters were mad at my mother, they went right on and acted like nothing was wrong. My dad was a true peacemaker and my mother didn't believe in fighting with anyone.
Last week, in the midst of the termoil that was going on in my family, I read two statements that gave me pause. Both were in the Reader's Digest. The first was from a book excerpt called "Laugh, Pray, Love" by Kate Braestrup. Something she learned from Mother Teresa was "Help those whom God has placed in your path."
She writes, "I remembered thinking, I like it! I had a nice image of myself walking down a well-marked path in the sunshine. I came around a corner and--whoops--there she or he was: the person God placed in my path."
Since I read that, I've thought about the people I have run into in my life. Some of them were there for just an instant; others are still with me. If I really believe God has placed people in my path, I don't dare get mad at them and walk away, do I? If they do something that needs forgiving, what do I do? Easier said than done sometimes, but I forgive and look for God in the relationship.
The other quote that makes sense and fits with this is from Desmond Tutu's book, "God Has a Dream." He writes "You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them."
Wow! How many quarrels and divisons would end if we all believed these two statements. If I'd known this, how different I would have seen the crazy mother-in-law and her daughter. And my husband.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 16:9. "A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Steps that lead right in my path.
Family members are God's gift to us.
People we run into on the street, in the grocery store, at church--everywhere, are there because God has put them in our path.
Can you get your head around this? Will it change your life as it has mine?