Family

Praying For Family Through a Hardened Heart

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For the last few years, particularly after my family and I lost my mother who was very much the spiritual glue in the family, I’ve watched my family spiral out of control. Losing touch with God and my mother’s memory, I have seen how that has created a situation where my family has lost touch with one another. Every time I come home, I am reminded how self-centered, individualistic, uncompassionate, hypocritical and cold so many of my loved ones have become. I see how callous and dismissive they can be to my beloved grandmother and it truly breaks my heart. They ridicule her for getting old, and they ridicule me for accommodating her aging frame. It forces me to wonder what deep rooted pain must be buried in their hearts that have conditioned them to be this way. It pushes me to wonder how I was born into a family that is so different from who I am and who my mother was. But more than anything, it forces me to be the illustration of God’s love in my family all the more. I am consistently tapping into my mother’s spirit and memory for strength, guidance, and patience in dealing with the sandpaper people in my kin. I am constantly trying to talk someone down, build someone up, carry someone over, that it leaves me running to God and my friends (my chosen family) empty and swollen with tears, hurt, and frustration.

Last Friday while taking my grandmother for a nice stroll in the park as I promised, she decided to sit down on her walker that also converts into a rolling chair. As we rolled, she kept grabbing my arm as if thinking she may fall. I smiled and gently said, “Meme…you are never going to fall with me. I got you.” Nearly seconds later, my 82 year old grandmother fell back on her chair straight to the ground after the wheel of the walker got caught into something on the ground. I also fell trying with everything in me to break her fall. My two young God-Daughters were also with us. As I tried to constrain my cries and my fears, I looked up for help and saw absolutely no one in my vicinity. Seeing how my grandmother fell, I placed my hands under my Meme’s head and prepared my mind and heart for the absolute worst. Within seconds, God sent over a savior that literally seemed to appear from thin air. He helped to pick up my shell-shocked grandmother. He and another God-sent lady helped to get my grandmother together. Only by God’s Grace, was my grandmother not only not bleeding but completely fine from the fall. Shaken up, two minor scratches, but she was fine.

After my family became aware of the fall, many dismissed and diminished it. Others lightly snickered at the fact that Meme fell. Jokes ensued and it took everything in me to keep my composure and to keep my dignity and my God given Grace. They could not see the significance of an 82 year old woman with a pacemaker, diabetes, high cholesterol, thyroid and blood pressure issues, alongside typical elderly pain, falling to the concrete. In my anger and hardened heart, I knew that all I could and should do was pray for the people in my family that have become so void of God that they cannot find it in their hearts to adequately love the woman who has literally given them life. Before I began praying, God loudly spoke to me and said: “Sophia, this prayer is not only for your family, it’s for many others…”

In Meme’s fall, God reminded me that no matter how much we mean well and how much we try; we cannot always be the ones to catch our loved ones. At times we are simply not equipped to. Sometimes God does allow our families to seem as though they are falling. Our purpose is not always to catch them. Our job is not to try to be God, many times it is to simply be there, be comfort, and be a demonstration of God’s revitalizing love in the midst of people who are not well acquainted with authentic love. As I cried for days remembering how traumatic seeing my grandmother’s fall was and how overwhelmed my position in my family makes me feel, God placed peace on my heart when he kept reverberating in my spirit, “…but my Grace is sufficient.” Even on the ground, God somehow covered my Grandmother and proved to me that He will always catch us, protect us and have our back—literally.

I was burdened to write this piece as a reminder to you and to me that no matter if we are anomalies in our family; we must continue to be who God called us to be. Through your hurt, I challenge you to lift up this prayer for yourself and your loved ones:

“Dear God, in spite of who they are, I thank you for my family. Thank you that you think so highly of me that you would call me to be who I am for the family that you have bestowed upon me. When they reject your love through their actions and words, please use me to illustrate your kindness, patience, understanding, wisdom, grace, and love. Cover us– and though we are falling, please catch us with your unfailing arms and restore our unity and connection. Give me a heart to pray for them even when my heart wants to become hardened by their deeds. Fill me up so I can pour into them. Let them see You whenever I am around. I pray for peace and forgiveness to shower us. Continue to use me. I am available to You. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.”

Sophia Vilceus

Sophia Vilceus

Visit her at sophia-sunshine.com
Sophia is the author of “Late Conversations with my Late Mother” and “The Last Pew: Journeying Back to God’s Will After an Affair.” She currently serves as an English Professor at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
Sophia Vilceus

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