Never Give Up

by | Nov 29, 2015

One of the greatest heartbreaks a parent can experience is to be estranged from an adult child … which usually means losing contact with beloved grandchildren as well.

That’s what happened to Karen when she offended her daughter, Debra, with a few careless words during her granddaughter’s soccer game three years ago. A frozen silence descended on their relationship. Calls, letters, emails were all ignored.

Karen’s heart was broken at the prospect of never seeing her daughter or granddaughter again.

But she didn’t give up. She turned to her husband and friends for advice, opening herself to their observations about how her words and actions may have eroded her relationship with Debra. Corlette and I were invited into the conversation and were privileged to listen, grieve, pray and offer a few words of advice.

Since Debra still refused to talk in person or by phone, Karen composed a letter of apology. But the silence continued. So she prayed … and she prayed … and she prayed.

And then a few days ago, she was swept away by God’s stunning answer to her prayers. Here is what Karen wrote to me (with all names changed, of course).

Thank you for your prayers and for walking alongside of us through this painful time. Praise be to God, Debra and Ben asked to come by our house yesterday. They came with open hearts. Debra started off by apologizing and asking for forgiveness for judging my character and for the other things she said to me after the blowup at Kim’s soccer game. We gladly forgave.

They talked about the difficulties they had had in the last year and how they had grown closer to God and each other and how they wanted to wipe the slate clean and start anew with us. They desire a good relationship with us and want us to be part of their family and their children’s lives!

I expressed my sorrow over the additional things the Lord had brought to my mind to apologize for. (I had been under growing conviction recently to share these things. God was clearly aligning us.) They forgave as willingly as we forgave them. It was a sweet, life-changing moment of reconciliation.

None of us knows exactly what things will look like going forward but we are all committed to working on making our relationships healthier and closer than ever before.

We then spent precious time just catching up on three years of life. We have all missed much and want to make up for it. They have invited us to their home for lunch on Saturday to hang out with the kids. We can hardly wait to see our grandchildren again.

Thanks again for your prayers, love and advice. Please continue to pray that we will experience complete healing and restoration in these relationships, as well as others in our family.

To God be the glory, great things He has done!

I hope you will be encouraged by Karen’s example. She never gave up. She kept asking God to show her the logs in her own eye (Matt. 7:3-4), and as she discovered them she humbly confessed them (James 5:16). She kept reaching out, imitating Jesus’ tireless pursuit of those he loves (Matt. 18:12-14). Knowing how much God has forgiven her, she was eager to forgive (Eph. 4:32). And when her daughter walked through that door, Karen was ready to respond like the father of the prodigal son, running forward to embrace and kiss the child she loves so dearly (Luke 15:20-24).

Of all the gifts you can give and receive this Christmas season, nothing can compare with sharing the forgiveness and reconciliation secured for all of us through the gospel of Christ.

– Ken Sande

Reflection Questions

  • Are you estranged from someone? How earnestly have you sought to be reconciled? Are you imitating the lavish love and grace that God has extended to you through the gospel?
  • Do you know of other people who are estranged from each other? Might this be a good time to share this post with one of them and to offer your prayers and assistance for their reconciliation?
  • Please pray for the many people who are lonely this holiday season due to broken relationships or the death of people they loved. Open your arms, your home and your heart to them, that they might experience the love and acceptance of God through you.

Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.

© 2015 Ken Sande

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