"Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, ‘How can I help.'"
Romans 15:4, 5, The Message
"Acceptance" - Willingly received. Approved.
"Bless our family, Father …
…may we discover each other and enjoy each other for what we are, while we have time."
"Acceptance of Our Family"
"The family - that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to."
I just got off the phone with my sister. She's started a new project at work and wanted to tell me about it. She's so excited - and I'm excited for her.
But to be honest, things haven't always been like this. After living apart for years during college and then marriage, we hadn't been around each other very much. And one day we ended up moving within a few miles of each other. Strangers who were related.
From my perspective we had little in common. Our tastes in everything from clothes to music was completely different. I didn't like her friends and she didn't like mine. Nothing in our relationship seemed to work.
Finally in desperation, and unknown to my sister and me, my mom invited us to go out to dinner with her. On the way home, she pulled the car over near a beautiful park. She looked at us with one of those "pained" Mom looks and said something I've never forgotten: "It hurts me to see the two of you so estranged. You know - you only have each other. You are the only sister each of you will ever have. Don't let anyone or anything come between you."
It took awhile. Change rarely happens overnight. But little by little my sister and I decided to get "reacquainted." We "made" time to spend with each other - shopping or going to lunch. What we found was that all those little things that made us different became the things we enjoyed the most about each other. They became the unique qualities that defined us and made us special. Now, rather than trying to get my sister to dress "funky" and "weird" like I do, I help her pick out those more subdued outfits she likes. And she keeps her eyes out for those offbeat items she knows bring a smile to my face. We've even found music we both like - and we go to concerts we both enjoy. The fact is that as the years have passed, I can't imagine a Friday night going by without a call being made to my sister. We both have often thought how we let little things keep us apart - and what a waste that was.
Not long ago a family friend died of cancer. Before he passed away, he reconciled with a brother from whom he had been estranged for years. Something had driven a wedge between them and time only served to widen the gulf.
Then one day, something bigger than what had damaged their relationship came into their lives - cancer. When you are faced with death - so much of living changes. Now, looking into each others' faces - recognizing that time lost could not be made up - these brothers found they couldn't even remember exactly what it was that drove them apart in the first place.
The famous author May Sarton wrote, "Family life! The United Nations is child's play, compared to the tugs and splits. How we need to understand and forgive in any family." I believe this is why Jesus talked so much about the wonder of forgiveness. He even encouraged us to forgive "seventy times seven" or in other words, He asked us to keep forgiving so many times we would stop keeping track of how much or how often we have forgiven.
In her book, Families, Jane Howard wrote, "Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one." This is why, one of the greatest gifts our Heavenly Father has given us, is the circle we call our family.
By reaching out to accept and heal, you and I have the wonderful opportunity of expressing God's love to those who are nearest and dearest to us.
In the beautiful words of Placid Riccard "May God pour down ever blessing on you, your family, your children. He who emptied Himself with such generosity to enrich us and comfort us in every need will not do less for one who loves and serves from the depths of their being."
"Sometimes I can't find words
to tell my loved ones
how much they mean to me
or what's important.
So I keep still,
Is that why others too keep still?
Lord, we need each other.
Please help us see communication
as an act of faith -
faith in you
and in each other."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00.
If you would like to purchase When A Woman Meets Jesus at discount for your Women's Ministry Program or for Bible Study Groups, please call: 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.