Difficult Family Relationships – Agnieszka

This is a story about a special event which still has impact on my life.

I grew up among women. Since I was born, there has been no father in my life. I didn’t know why my father had left us and started a new family. My mother didn’t talk with me about it so I felt that not having a father made me worse than other children. As a result, I was shy, taciturn, afraid of others and very reserved. I kept away from my peers, thinking that I didn’t deserve their attention, their friendship. At home I had everything a child might need, except for one thing – a father’s love. Escaping into a world of dreams, I longed for being loved and important. I looked at life in a quite unrealistic way.

When I was growing up, my mother didn’t talk with me about life, and my view of the world and other people didn’t meet her expectations. So when I was young, I naively looked for love and acceptance and made a lot of mistakes in that field. When getting married, I believed that I was going to build a family I had always dreamt of. Disappointment came very quickly. I couldn’t understand why two people in love would hurt one another and couldn’t live in peace and happiness. My world of dreams collapsed. Suddenly my life had no future or sense; I felt deep pain, I was lost and in despair. I saw happiness of other people and became more and more convinced that no good was ever going to happen to me. When my daughter was born, I thought about this event in a very special way. For a person like me who had such a low self-esteem and still remembered her past mistakes, giving birth to a child was like being blessed with something good she didn’t deserve. When I was reading the Bible, I realized I was a sinful person, and Jesus Christ, out of love for me and other people, had paid the price for my sins. I prayed to God, confessing my sins and thanking for forgiveness through death and resurrection of Christ. I believed Jesus was God whom I wanted to trust, and at that moment I accepted Him as the Lord of my life.

How did it change my life? I was able to forgive, I had peace, and first of all I believed there was somebody – God himself – who cared for me and who loved me. My circumstances didn’t change but I began to change. Reading the Word of God and praying, I learned to live by new, godly standards. Was it easy? No. I learned to be sorry when I did something wrong, regardless of the other person’s behavior; I learned to forgive without expecting forgiveness; I learned to thank God despite the difficult circumstances; I learned to respect others, separating them from their sins; I learned not to judge anyone. For many years, choosing obedience to God, I waited for changes in my family life. I expected changes in those persons who I couldn’t get on with. I felt loved by God but still not by people. It caused me a great pain, keeping me in slavery. For years I was afraid of making decisions, I was afraid of loosing something or someone if I expressed any objection. Despite all of the suffering, I was still passive. I had no courage. I prayed and asked God to change it but nothing happened. Eventually I understood that it was me who was supposed to make decisions about my life. I began to learn taking responsibility for my life, to define what I was due and what I wasn’t. I began to reflect on what was good for me, what was the right choice, what was God’s truth on a subject.

My thinking slowly changed and I began to acknowledge and respect other people’s choices, even if they weren’t right. I agreed with God’s truth that I was responsible only for myself and should let others have their own choices. Human love doesn’t las, but God will love me eternally. Because people are sinful and God is holy.

Today I know that my situation depends largely on me, on my decisions and choices. The process of our transformation begins when we choose life directed by Jesus Christ. I understand that we cannot reconcile an existing way of thinking with the new one taught in the Word of God. It requires a renouncement of our value system and acceptance of the new one offered by God.

Several years had passed until I saw changes in my relationship with my mother. It wasn’t a bad relationship but there were some deeply hidden unresolved problems and misunderstandings, unforgiven hurts and erroneous thoughts about each other. A path to change led through many difficult talks which often cost us much pain and tears. Many times I wanted to run away but I knew in my heart that there was no other way for the pain, shame and uncertainty to disappear. That painful path of explaining things led us to forgiveness – forgiveness that we get from God. Today, when I think of my mother, I have joy in my heart and I can say she’s my friend.

I’m also deeply thankful for a recent opportunity to see my father. I needed it very much; I wanted to meet him, to know what he was doing and how he was living. I also wanted to let him know that I forgave him for his absence in my life, forgave him the fact that he had abandoned me. Now I know that our past, regardless of how difficult and painful it was, doesn’t have to limit our present and our future. I‘m grateful to God that the past is behind me and I can live my life discovering all of the good things God prepared for me.

God prepared good things also for you! There is no place for evil in His plan – only for forgiveness and love. He invites each of us: Come to me all of you who are weary and tired and I will give you rest.

But the question is: Do we want to come to Him?