Yet another lesson in Humility this weekend, and I loved it! I can be stubborn, and it’s very hard for me to ask for forgiveness, whether I’m right or wrong in my stance, and admit it when I am truly wrong. But it doesn't matter who was right and who was wrong, or by how much each of us bears responsibility. I was willing to take it on, to bear the burden, in order to have peace in the family. If only I had known that by doing so, God instead took it on Himself for me. I think going to Reconciliation many times over the past few months prepared me; I have sinned greatly against the Lord during my life, and He has forgiven me and loved me. If the One I've hurt most by my mistakes can accept, love and forgive me, asking others who are human like I am isn't quite as difficult, but only with His Grace.
Things have been awkward with my in-laws for some time. I won’t get into the reasons why, but there has been friction. I accept my responsibility in that, and am blessed enough to have a supportive husband. I know it’s been hard for him. He had offered many times to talk to his family, but I didn’t want to create further tension, especially between him and them.
The tension has bothered me for a long time, and it hasn’t always been that way, but it has been that way for too long. I didn’t ever know how to fix it, even though I wanted to. I just avoided the situations, so as not to get hurt, or hurt my husband, or cause more tension. That was my solution for too long, but it was all I could manage at the time.
As you might see from a previous post, I had been praying for humility. I finally had the grace and opportunity this weekend to use it again. I was so nervous and scared. What do I say? What do I do? I talked to my husband about it, and he said he supported me in whatever I decided, even if it wasn’t to make up with his family. I visited the local Catholic bookstore, and found some St. Elizabeth Ann Seton medals, as well as prayer cards for her. I had googled while I was at the store, and she came up as the patron saint of in-law troubles. We also had some rosaries that had belonged to my mother-in-law, and I wanted to make sure that they also had some, and if they didn’t, offer the rosaries to them as well.
On the way to the family gathering, I prayed the Rosary, with the Joyful Mysteries. The recording on the Laudate app included scriptures and intentions for humility, love, peace. I finished the prayer right as I pulled into the parking lot. Deep breath! I felt the tension when I arrived; fortunately, there were many other family members there so it wasn’t so obvious. I waited until I thought I had the right moment. I asked to talk to his sisters alone. I had no idea what I was going to say, so I started out first by giving them the cards and medals. After that, I looked at them, and asked their forgiveness. I’m sure that they didn’t expect this at all. I didn’t want to rehash anything or point fingers; I was more than willing to take the blame, so long as we could move forward.
I was received with such love from my sisters-in-law, and forgiveness. I didn’t expect it, but they also offered their apologies to me, which of course I accepted. We had a great conversation for quite awhile, amidst tears and hugs. I don’t remember what I said, but He gave me the words I needed. Thank you Holy Spirit! God is so great! They also shared with me, which was amazing and unexpected. I’m happy to say that we have started to heal and move forward, which is good for all of us.
I still had some challenges left. My brother-in-law’s wife was more difficult for me to approach. She is an amazing person, but we might be too much alike in some ways, and too different in other ways, and friction results. Well, the Catholics in our family went onto Mass, and I prayed about how to talk to her. During Mass, He provided me with the answer: both me and my husband could talk to her and her husband (my husband’s brother). But when? Well, opportunity didn’t take long to present itself. They were taking things back to their hotel room, and I had the opportunity to help carry something. My husband came along, and I just dived right in at the first moment that was appropriate. I think I caught her 100% off guard. Even though she isn’t Catholic, she was thankful for the medal and card. We actually all hugged; again, I was shocked by how well it went. Again, I didn’t need or want an apology from her, but during her shock, she still managed to give it. It was only through the Grace of God all of this happened. I couldn’t have done this without Him. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Him. I’ve been a person who was without Him for too long, and this truly feels miraculous.
I still have one sister-in-law to go, and I don’t know when I’ll see her again. I’m figuring that one out, and I”ll let you know how it goes. Please keep us in your prayers. I will pray for you!
Thank you, Holy Spirit, Lord Jesus, our Father, for the Graces You gave me so that I could accomplish this with Your Help.