so i just listened to a sermon online and it was talking about the prodigal son and that whole story... i need to share something else before i get back to the rest of what this prodigal son story was speaking to my heart about.
so...about two and a half years ago my sister and i went to europe together. before we left i had a dream that she was the prodigal son and lost everything she had. at the time i had the dream she was married to her husband of almost ten years and had four kids ages 10, 8, 5, and 18 months. the moment we arrived in europe together i found out my sister had been struggling in her marriage for quite some time. she had at least two "boy-friends" she had met online and told me she was going to get a divorce when she got home. she got home from europe and... two weeks later she moved out of state leaving her husband and four daughters. she had made a verbal agreement with her husband that in a year she would get custody of the girls. needless to say, the state had a different view of the situation and granted full custody of the girls to my now ex brother in law and considered that she chose to abandon her family giving her very limited rights to her girls. the eldest of her daughters was born of a different father but raised by the other girls' dad for those almost ten years of marriage. her eldest daughters father (and grandparents) found out she had left the state and marched over and ripped my niece away from the family she had known all of her life. so my sis has gone back and forth from the state away from her girls back to where they live a few times in the past two and a half years.
she has now been living in the same city with the three younger girls for more than six months.
my mom talks to my sister multiple times a day. my sister doesn't even call me on my birthday or if i am in the hospital anymore. she knows how i feel about the choices she has made and knows i will have a hard time believing anything she says to me because the trust is not there.
two weeks ago my sister found out that the father of the three younger girls is moving to another state and taking the girls with him and his new wife. this move is meant to sever the relationships between my sis and her girls. two days ago my sis found out that the father of her eldest daughter is taking her to court again and that the state is considering her an unfit mother and that they are most likely going to grant him full custody. my sis is broken right now. i am having a really hard time with this. i have no idea what that would feel like as a mother to have your children taken away from you... and then again she chose to leave her girls behind just two and a half years ago.
after listening to the story of the prodigal son i am struggling not only with the facts that i thought my sister had lost everything and yet it seems as if she is losing even more right now... i am also struggling with the understanding of who the brother of that prodigal son is. my mom is certainly running toward my sis with outstretched arms and preparing the fatted calf and calling for a party to get started because she believes my sis is changing. i on the other hand still am struggling with trusting what she is saying and even thinking she brought this upon herself. she chose this.
why can't i embrace her like my mom? why is it so hard to trust and even to show sympathy to my own sister? i feel as if i am the brother in this story and not able to join the party. did the father in this story have any proof of the lost sons change? had he seen it in action other than those few words of repentance? he was so excited for his son to be home that he was calling to the servants as his son was apologizing to him. why can't i give that kind of love and grace to my sister? why must i expect proof of a change in her before i can show her sympathy or try and trust again?
my sister will be in town in five days. she will be going to court to testify and try to fight for custody of her eldest daughter. i am not sure what i am supposed to do. well, i know i am called to love.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever (1 cor 13:4-8)
God help me. i certainly don't feel like i can embrace my sister right now. please show me how you see her. Lord give me a heart of compassion to be able to at least understand her pain. Lord help me to be able to look at her and speak to her in love without all of the pain of the past. Lord help me to not keep those records. Lord help me to be hopeful. Lord help me not to be irritated or rude. Lord give me your strength to never give up, to never lose faith, and to always hope for YOUR best for my sister no matter what her choices have been. Thank you Lord that your love endures through every circumstance. I know I have needed your Outrageous Love to light the way through some of the hardest times of my life and to bring truth to the areas in my life that needed cleaning up. God I just pray that you will show me how you want me to Outrageously Love my sister.
Please pray for my sister and niece this week. And please pray for me as i try to do what feels so impossible at the moment. ok Lord, I know this is going to be a process. have mercy on me as you continue to burn away the parts of me that need refining.