If It Were That Simple; Everyone Would Do It

Anyone who’s known my blog for awhile may have noticed I don’t mention parents, in-laws or extended family.  I always affirm others in those relationships, but haven’t shared my own story.

Lately, I have felt prompted about simple obedience.  No matter that the world around me is having a full on revolution of selfish self-seeking rude violent lawlessness.  What leads to happiness is what always has.

“Trust and Obey, for there’s no other way to be happy…”

Elisabeth Eliot, once teaching on finding rest, said,”The happiest students on any college campus are the athletes and musicians, because they have voluntarily come under discipline.”

We’ve had a lot of change going on.  Change can bring discomfort.  If you want to know about trusting God, I can’t tell you, because the minute we got a little money in the house, I started having trouble listening to Him.  I know what I ought to do.  I would prefer to do something else.  So, I am living the philosophy that I have always hated most

“It’s easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.”

Um, no.  It isn’t.

At any rate, along with EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE UNIVERSE, the topic of extended family relationships began to nag at me.  What is my role? Do I want to lose them forever?

Two years ago, my dad’s stepdaughter publicly eviscerated me on facebook.  I promptly called him to say I didn’t say anything that warranted that response and in the course of the conversation said, “I understand that you may have found your second family and might not need a relationship with me, but…”

And while I paused to search for the right words to ask that I not be bawled out by people who don’t know me for things I have never expressed or implied, he said, “Yep.”

He didn’t clarify and ended the conversation by saying he’d talk to me in a few days.

I never heard his voice again.

And no one else’s in the family either.

Based on the thinking of the last couple of weeks, which coincide exactly with the original event, I moved forward, tentatively; with an email to the cousin closest to me in age. My cousin responded to my email by saying:

“I don’t know about it, or want to take sides.   I just think it is sad for all involved.”

If they don’t know, how can they think it’s sad.  Isn’t it taking sides to not hear both and not speak to the person whose side you haven’t heard?

To my blame, writing this has made me realize, if I’ve been having a hard time listening to God, I shouldn’t initiate processes without His approval.  Will all things work together for good?  Sure.  Did it have to be this way? No. This is uncomfortable.  I can explain my side, but if they didn’t care about it last week, it’s difficult to imagine they’d change now.  I don’t feel ashamed of the way I have handled it up to now. The Bible does say, “Seek peace and pursue it.”  It doesn’t follow up with, “because it’s your job to make it happen.”

I don’t have to be the one to pursue God, My Father.  He pursues me, crazy, rebellious, black sheep that I am. And all I have to do to seek peace is obey Him.








  1. Family sucks.

    We have this issue going on in my step-family right now. We don’t know what the deal is, but that there is discontent with one segment of the family. I’m not allowed to say anything because “that won’t make it better.” What I really want to do is call them out and ask, “what’s the deal?” But I’m not sure there is a deal. It just is what it is.

  2. Hate to hear of this going on. Sad, sad.

    I wish I knew what to say to ease the frustrations a bit because goodness knows…I’m sure they’re there.

    Your last paragraph up there? Perfection. Probably the one thing I needed to read for 2 weeks now. Somehow you always come through for me even when you don’t realize it.


  3. Ah, family. So relaxing…so soothing…so FUN. [ahem]

    I hope it helps a tiny bit to know that you are not alone in your family struggles. Not by a long shot.

    Hang in there and keep laughing! It’s saved me on more than one occasion.

    🙂 Anna

  4. Oh boy do I understand! My mom passed away from cancer and my lovely extended family that lives 2500 miles away made my life miserable. They made me feel guilty that I couldn’t travel after having a baby 9 days before (and a c-section). I have learned to let go of a lot of things, so that I can live a happy and productive life. It’s not easy though! I wish you luck with all the problems your having with your family.

  5. I’m so sorry your dad was hurtful to you. How awful.

    I love that you still recognize the connection with your Heavenly Father and find strength in Him. I hope you are able to find a relationship of peace with your family, whatever that may look like.

    I’m working on that with my family right now and it’s tough. It does help knowing God is pleased with me and my efforts even when they aren’t.

  6. Ah, the old chestnut comes to mind: ‘you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family!’ Seriously I;m not making light of your plight, it sounds horrendous; I had problems with my dad when I was becoming a teenager; before that things were fine, and when a hit my late 20’s things were better and then fine again. But there was trauma for a while; I think it happens to many people.

    Of course, in your case, it’s not quite the same. Your dad has just stopped talking to you and this must be painful for you to have to deal with. Life can be hard and sometimes we want to hit back and hurt because we are hurting quite frankly; but then our commitment to Jesus, our turning the other cheek must kick in, so to speak, we try and do what He wants us to do, rather than just hitting out in some way.

    I’ve struggled with depression, hopelessness, long spells of unemployment, throughout my adult life, and yet, with Jesus at the helm of my life now, I see hope on the horizon, the beginnings of a new start; I have good relations with my immediate family (although for one reason and another we have no extended family) and am relatively happy at this time. I have my faith in the Lord that He will see me through the storms of life and bring me to calm waters.

    Perhaps, in a little time, things will get better for you; perhaps you can write a long letter to a number of your estranged family telling, nicely and politely, how you feel and what resolution you are hoping for; it’s just a suggestion mind! Hope things get better for you.

    • Thanks for stopping by Tim. In the next post after this one, I tell about reaching out through a phone call. I haven’t really hit back. I will really have to work on my writing in order to communicate better. Thanks, again.

I love it when you sass me. Please leave a comment.

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