I sat in a small group of women and confessed that I have been grieving the Holy Spirit. It was hard to acknowledge and admit, but God made me so very aware as we’ve been going through the book of Ephesians. Ephesians 4:30-31 explains how we can grieve the spirit through bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander, and malice.
Bitterness and rage have been at the core of my relationship with my mother. I’ve battled it with counseling, persistent forgiveness, and occasional bouts of slander, and honestly, holidays are the worst as I prepare for the visit.
In the past, I’ve consumed enough alcohol that my soul will be completely disengaged for the few hours of dinner and conversation. But I’m becoming aware that as a woman of God, it comes down to how I handle myself in these situations. As we’ve been planning our trip, I’ve felt the distant bitterness and anger well up and God has been convicting me on my disobedience and lack of love.
Holidays can be difficult, but dear love let me encourage you that how we approach these tense, broken relationships absolutely speaks volumes of who we are as women of God. We either act on what we say we believe or we don’t, there is no in between.
Here’s how I prepped for and made it through the holidays:
Staying in the Word – one verse I’m constantly repeating is: You are the vine, I am the branch, apart from You I can do nothing (John 15). I can’t do this on my own successfully, but I can as long as I’m rooted in God my defender – so my mornings must start with Him.
Praying a lot – the morning I wrote this I was up at 3:45 praying because I couldn’t sleep and my heart was extremely anxious and heavy over this. God promises “Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11).
And I’m remembering the lyrics of Reckless Love “Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine” Those lyrics may be true for us, but they are also true for the ones that you and I are struggling to forgive and love.