My mother’s family has some struggles, as all of our families do. She comes from a large family of 10 children. Her father died when she was 22, then her brother died in a motorcycle accident when she was 25 and then her mother struggled with alcoholism. I don’t have the best memories of this grandmother, but my mother always took up for this lady, no matter how miserable she made my mother’s life. I have to hand it to all of my mother’s sisters—they all rose above what they grew up under and did wonderful things with their lives. They are all amazing woman, and I applaud them because they didn’t use their childhood as a crutch instead they became the cream of the crop!
My grandmother had a large family as well, and many of them struggled with alcoholism. I didn’t know many of them very well, but one of them had a big influence in my life. She was more like my grandmother, than my biological one. I love this lady, and still do. She’s a great woman, and still spoils me to this day!
When I was planning to go back to work after my first born, this lady volunteered to babysit my son. I was thrilled. In my books, this woman was the next best thing to my mother. I loved her to the moon and back, and she treated me like a princess all my life, I knew our son would be in wonderful hands. We had the plans all under way, and she was making visits to get to know our son better, and his face would light up when he saw her, just as he did with my own mother.
My husband and I made plans to go out one evening, and decided to see if my great-aunt would be available to babysit. My thinking was, it would be good for the two of them to be alone with each other and she could get used to putting him down for sleeps and such.
We were excited to get out and join our friends for a night of laughs and relaxation. Some alone time, the way it was before our lives got shifted into this other dimension after the birth of this miniature human being. I was pumped.
This lady pulls into our driveway, and comes into our home, and I could smell liquor off of her breath. She was a bit thick tongued and definitely not herself. My heart raced. What was I going to do? I was a new mom, on her first venture out into the world without my infant child for one of the first times, and my babysitter shows up drunk. I was devastated. How did I approach this wonderful lady that was just tempted by her love for liquor? I did as every young mother does—I called my mother.
Frantically, I asked my mother what to do. How do I handle this? I was not used to confronting intoxicated people, especially those who I was trusting to leave my most precious cargo with. As always, my mother guided me with what to say and do. It wasn’t as confrontational as I thought it would be. My drunken friend was a tad bit upset, and in denial that she was under the influence. My husband offered to drive her home, but she was adamant that she wasn’t drinking.
I could have let this really fester inside of me, get bitter about her behavior, and hold a grudge, but I didn’t. Instead I tried to show her more love. I tried to continue to include her in my child’s life. It was extremely hard, because it was a trust I had with her that her involvement with alcohol broke. My mother is such an angel, and kept explaining that it isn’t them acting in that way, it is the hold the alcohol has over them.
This lady has a son, and he has totally cut himself and his children off from her due to this dependency. She tries hard and goes to AA, but like all of us, she gives into her inner demons once and a while. She has such a huge heart and so much love to give. It breaks my heart that her son does this to her. I am sure she has disappointed him like she did me that night, but I am such a forgiving person that I try to look at the best in people, thanks to my mothers gentle guidance. Not everyone is like this, and her son isn’t one of them.
Matthew 6:14-15 instructs us, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
I am a sinner. Are you a sinner? Yes! So, what gives? Why are we such bitter, grudge holding people? Why do we have to let anger seep into our hearts, and not forgive people who wronged us?
I might not be struck down with alcoholism, but I have my own demons I deal with, like every human being on the planet. I have to forgive her, if I expect others to forgive me. The most important other being God. I pray and ask forgiveness for my sins but I know he’s not going to forgive me if I have anger I’m holding in my heart towards anyone. Family included.
Are you harboring a grudge? Bitter towards someone? Are you holding resentment in your heart for something someone did to you? Do you have a family member that you distanced yourself from due to a circumstance like I’ve been through? Try reaching out to this person and explain how you feel, but reassure them that you forgive them. Are you not up to talking to them? Write a letter and send it. Whatever way you feel the best at approaching this very delicate and sensitive situation, do it! It will be amazing the way you feel after you let it go.
If you know the Bible at all, you know in Matthew 22, it tells us the second most important commandment is to love your neighbor like you love yourself—your neighbor being everyone you have contact with. Sure, you might not like what they do to you, but we are still commanded to love them. Show those people love and see if it makes a difference. I’m confident it will!