Sounds bad huh? This event, or the mere mention of it may send shivers of the spines of some married men. Well, to be perfectly honey, I shared such a sentiment for a time.
After first being married my relationship with my mother-in-law was fine. We got along swimmingly, and she lived two doors down! My wife and I, and Terri (my mother-in-law) and her husband went through much together. Our birth of three children, her hip replacement, work on the house, dealing with neighbors, and the death of her husband to lung cancer. Then, after 10 years of marriage there was a family incident that brought some separation. It was tragic, tragically misunderstood by many, and relations became strained.
It’s been 5 years since I have spoken to my mother-in-law, and last week, completely unexpectedly she walked (literally) back into our lives.
We were at church, I in the back of the room, my wife sitting with the congregants. As I normally do, I waited for stragglers to come in (there are typically many), and hand out bulletins and greeting, and shake hands with regulars, and greet the newcomers (typically there are few). Without any foreknowledge whatsoever, in walks this woman who looks just like Terri. Couldn’t be her, she’s in Colorado. I was wrong, and it took a couple of seconds to sink in, but it was her. She smiled, I smiled, and I hugged with gusto and sincerity. My only words at the moment were, “It is so good to see you.” And I meant it.
God is so good in His healing. My wife tells a much better story of her experience to this event, and what the surprise was like, but more importantly how the Lord had prepared her for her mother’s arrival. When Terri walked in, there was no time to think. Only time to react. Therefore, I had to react from my heart, and not from my head; from my spirit, and not from my intellect or flesh. I reacted from my heart, and I was glad I did. Much has happened and much time has passed, but God’s power to heal is above any wrong or hurt that anyone might have. We hear often that, “God is bigger than…”, and you can put anything you want in there because God IS bigger than it, no matter what ‘it’ is. But God truly is bigger than our hurts and concerns that draw us away from Him.
I have preached often that with regards to being hurt, we have a choice. Whether that hurt comes from someone or some ‘thing’ in the secular world, or even worse, from another believer, when an offense is made, we have a choice to be offended, or give it to God and move on. Not having thought about this situation for some time, I did not really know it until Terri showed up at church, but god had already allowed me to move on. What a blessing it is.
I thank the Lord for His goodness and mercy. That He allows us the ability to just forgive and move on. His grace upon us was a gift. And the fact that He has shown such grace means that we must, by Christian design, allow that grace to work in our life, so that we might pass it on to others and give them that same gift. I’m happy to do so.