Repairing Broken Relationships – Hebrews 12:12-15

Would you like broken relationships in your family to be restored? One way to see progress is by following the instructions outlined in Hebrews 12.

bridge building. free pixabay

I have been out of touch with some of my extended family for decades. Misunderstandings, indifference and hurts all played their part in dividing us, and since so many years have passed it wasn’t likely we would ever come together again.

“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble …” (Hebrews 12:12-15 ESV).

The first step: Strengthen and straighten 

I started by working on my “drooping hands” and “weak knees.” Where I’d given up, I renewed my commitment to love. And where the road linking me to my cousins had become twisted and full of obstacles, I added my prayers to my grandmother’s for unity in her family. Then I went to work.

Thank God for Facebook! I searched through family members’ pages and found links to others. It really motivated me follow through when I discovered my cousin Jerry’s grandchildren looked a lot like members of my family. Uploading a bunch of historical family photos got the ball rolling, and soon different relatives uploaded photos of their own.

The second step: Strive for peace

We had our first cousin reunion in John Day, OR, a year ago, and got along splendidly. Last week we had our second gathering, adding another previously out-of-touch cousin to the mix when we met at the Veterans Memorial Museum in Chehalis, WA. Remarkably, when she showed up I learned she lives right there in Chehalis!

The tricky part in building relationships is when the dialog goes places we may not like, for instance, with strongly held political or religious views. It’s encouraging to see others are working on strengthening and straightening things out, too. And so far, we’re all striving for that “peace with everyone” the scripture talks about.

Finally: Continually remove the bitter roots 

As I ate lunch with my formerly long lost cousin, her joy and excitement matching my own, I knew I’d gained a priceless relationship. It takes vigilance to keep bitterness from getting a foothold, but I sure enjoy the rewards for all the hard work.

Let love rule over all.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Longing for Home – Psalm 84

One of our foster daughters was Little Miss Sunshine. She bounced on her toes all day long with the joy of living, her curls dancing over her shoulders. But quieting down in her room at night, we’d hear her crying. I attempted to comfort and pray with her, but I couldn’t give her what she yearned for most. She moaned, “I want my mom.”

It didn’t seem to matter what they’d suffered there, or how much they enjoyed living with my family, my foster children expected some day they’d be home again and all would be well. And though our L.M.S. was a part of our family for most of her childhood, she didn’t outgrew the deep longing in her heart for home.

“How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you” (Psalm 84: 1-4 NIV).

Sleeping campers. JoshDavis 6-2015

The boys sleeping in their tent

Something’s Missing

I’ve noticed I continue to search for home. It seems I’m always interested in improving the one I have or moving to a different one. Or like others my age, we wish for our grown children to be nearby.

It’s more than just the grass being greener on the other side. I think it’s innate, that there’s something in us that recognizes things are not as they should be; we’re not home yet.

Last weekend Jerry and I went camping with my son’s family. My three young grandsons threw hundreds of rocks into the river and wet pairs of shoes multiplied by the tent door. We ate our camp food around the fire and explored waterfalls and lava beds. At the end of the day the boys collapsed, falling asleep in a heap.

God’s Open Door

Like my grandsons, I relish having adventures with the people I love. It’s great to come to the end of my day satisfied in my relationships and ready for rest. Is that what it will be like when I come to the end of my life? I think so.

The scripture says, “my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” If he has a place in his house for a swallow to build her nest, I know there’s room for me. And my response to his open door is extreme gratitude. “Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.”

Prayer

Thank you so much, Lord, for the promise of being with you forever. My song of joy and praise will be unending!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Keeping the Joy

My son and his wife and daughter from Florida are here this week, and we’re filling our days with all the touches of love that we can – from siblings, aunties and uncles, great-grandparents, and more.

We’ve played Frisbee on the beach at Florence, popped in to see old friends from church, visited family in Portland, and sat in the Oregon sunshine to eat BBQ. Three homes have felt the gyrations from all kinds of raucous noise.

Where my Joy Comes From

KD joyfulmom 10-1980

With my first two sons, Joshua and Aaron 1980.

When I asked God for children, I felt I understood the heartaches that would likely come with parenting. That’s why I chose to recognize him as the source of my joy. I am a “joyful mother of children” (Psalm 113:9 NIV), even when disappointing things happen, because of who he is and what he’s promised.

These Things are True

God made me a woman, and my desire for marriage and the capacity to have children was his idea. Therefore, I can find reasons to be thankful even in the middle of misunderstanding and schisms – when my world seems to be completely falling apart.

Here’s what Jesus said:

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:10-12 ESV).

He wants us to follow him, do stuff his way, and abide in his love. His purpose is to give us the fulfilling joy that comes from abiding in his love.

Note that he only asks us to do what he does. He wasn’t known for following the whims of folks around him, but rather, he kept his Father’s commands, staying close to his heart. He loved people, even to the point of severest agony, for those who misunderstood him (“for the joy set before him,” Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV).

Abiding in his love, I can do this, too.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis