Monday, June 23, 2008

Bridging the Gap

This has been a wonderful evening. Trevor's paternal grandmother has been visiting for about a week now, and we asked the family over for dinner tonight. I was off with the kids today, so it was no problem for me to cook dinner for everyone. I made a roasted pork loin, smoked Gouda potatoes Au gratin, green beans, butter beans and biscuits. I also had some fresh tomatoes that a patient gave me from his garden as well as fresh cucumbers.

Everyone enjoyed dinner as well as the Texas sheet cake I made for dessert. If I had been asked 6 weeks ago if I would truly enjoy spending an evening with my in laws, I would have responded very negatively. It would have been an evening to be suffered through and the source of stress and tension.

Enter God.

Trevor and I had noticed a growing distance between us and his parents for several years. Because of the distance, we took every single thing they did far more personally than we should have. We could never seem to bridge the gap between us, and it was causing serious problems with our relationship. My heart broke to see Trevor feeling so angry and hurt, and it made me angry that my children were not able to have a relationship with their grandparents.

Without rehashing things that make no difference now, we were barely on speaking terms with them. The straw that broke the camel's back came several months ago, and we had roughly 2 conversations with them since that incident. Looking back, I'm sure that they were not even aware that they had done anything to offend, thanks to our passive-aggressive approach.

We knew that something had to give. We knew that we could not continue on like we had been and still be walking the Christian walk. We knew that Trevor had to have a conversation with his parents, and we felt sure that it would not be easy or well received.

Lucky for me, we have what we call "The In-law Rule" in our family. This means that in laws are not responsible for having deep conversations about behavior or any other topic that might cause stress and tension. Those conversations are the responsibility of the natural child and other siblings if necessary. I had a conversation with my own father several years ago about some things that were bothering me, and Trevor and Ronna were outside the entire time. Patrick was the one who stayed with me for support.

So Trevor went out to their house a few Sunday afternoons ago. As soon as he left the house, I called Mama and Daddy and Amber and David. Patrick and Ronna already knew his plans, and were praying for him. I sat down in my arm chair and began to pray. I prayed that God would give him the right words to heal the relationship and to show them the depth of his pain and resentment. I prayed that they would be receptive to what he had to say and that the conversation would not be bitter.

As I prayed for Trevor, I also began to realize that I needed to pray for him to have an open mind himself. I prayed that he would be open to whatever response they had to him and that he would be gracious and forgiving. I prayed that God would have His hand over Trevor for the entire visit.

Praise God, He answers prayers! When Trevor got home 3 1/2 hours later, he was all smiles and had so much to tell me. His parents listened to what he had to say, and they had some things to get off their chests as well. They covered every single topic that had bothered Trevor, and they didn't hold anything back. They spoke to each other like loving adults, and were all willing to look at things objectively.

The bottom line was that pretty much all of our issues were due to miscommunication. Each time one of us was misunderstood, the gap widened between us until it became impossible to cross alone. I am convinced that God bridged the gap for my husband and his parents that Sunday. He made it possible to heal a relationship that I had all but given up on. That just goes to show how much I know! With God, anything is possible.


So, because of that beautiful reconciliation, we have been spending a lot of time with his family. Not just spending time with them, but truly enjoying ourselves with them. We've been able to let down the defensive wall that we had built around ourselves and get to know them all over again.

These are some pictures from Saturday. We had a fish fry out at their house and had a wonderful time. I just wish I had taken some pictures of all the Canasta playing that was going on!!

Click to play Fish Fry


Carol said...

I'm so happy for your reconciliation. And your menu is making me hungry. Yummmm!!

The Young's said...

Praise God! Those conversations are so hard...but when they take place...they are really good!! Sometimes my hubby has to help me out with my family. I get ganged up on and his authority helps me out GREATLY!!! Praise the Lord for it!!! And Yes...that menu looks YUMMY!!!! Gotta go fix breakfast!!
love ya,

Mocha with Linda said...

What a wonderful testimony! I'm so glad things have worked out so well.

I smiled when I read about your dinner last night. I can now picture it all. And taste those biscuits and homegrown tomatoes!!

Enjoy your days off!

Karen said...

This is a beautiful story of reconciliation. I'm happy for your family! I can relate to the passive-aggressive approach. My word, it can make mountains out of molehills and can do so much damage. This is a great lesson on how important it is to keep the lines of communication wide open.

Dave and Lisa Swinney said...

So glad you all worked through your differences. We also have the rule that conversations like that are to be dealt with by blood lines. It always works best that way.


luvmy4sons said...

I am so glad that God answered those prayers. It is such a wonderful feeling to get the air clear! I know God has done much in my life to clear the air with family and friends alike. So often we are simply miscommunicating and making wrong assumptions! Great praise report!

A Stone Gatherer said...

How wonderful! When we allow God to move and to guide he provides healing! How sweet for your husband to have a restored relationship with his parents!

Crystal said...

Butter Beans... sounds sooo good! haha... ok, I just had to get that out!
What an awesome story of reconciliation! And also what a great testimony of the work that God is doing in you and Trevor's life. You could have easily sat back and just continued on without doing anything about it! Thanks for sharing!

Lauren said...

So glad that things worked out!

Haha...just read your profile. Don't tell me there's something wrong with reading the cereal box! LOL

Irritable Mother said...

What a wonderful story of reconciliation!!! Life is so much better when your relationship with the in-laws is smooth, isn't it?
Glad things are going well for you. *grin*

Sue Cramer said...

That is wonderful!!
You are a woman after God's heart and it shows!

Andrea said...

So glad for the reconciliation! Communication is key!

Oh -- and your 'in law' rule...FABULOUS!!

Alana said...

That is such a beautiful story. God is so cool.

One thing I have learned over time is that many, many conflicts are based on miscommunication or mis-perception. So thankful you guys worked things out.

grey like snuffie said...

So glad I found your blog. We have a very negative family situation that while understood and in my flesh totally justified I keep looking for how God could change things. So far our attempts have met brick walls. But with God no one is too old or too stubborn of heart so we must keep trying. These were good words to hear. Praise God for your husband walking that godly path to reconciliation.

Becoming Me said...

What a beautiful story of God's reconciliation. That is marvelous. Thank you also for your sweet comment about my new design.

Linda said...

This is a wonderful testament to walking with Christ. We're not perfect, but his spirit helps us in these everyday moments that would be deeply damaging if we tried to handle them on our own. Good for you guys. Way to be "Grown-up" Christians!

Lauren said...

Ha! You had me chuckling at that comment about my nose.

We were just glad I didn't try to pick my teeth or anything.

Heather C said...

We do indeed serve a God of reconcilation, don't we?? I'm thrilled for you and praising God right alongside you. His faithfulness to you and Trevor has me giving thanks... but I'm also thanking Him for your obedience and willingness to see that something in your attitudes had to change if they were to be consistent with your Christian walk... beautiful!

Kathie said...

Wonderful post. Amazing how easily relationships can be damaged through miscommunication or misunderstanding. It is great that you got everything worked out.
Blessings from Costa Rica

The Small Scribbler said...

Such a hope giving post.