my sister’s keeper
It is easy to say what you would do if faced with a certain situation until you are actual in that situation. It is easier to know the exact solution to someone else’s problems before finding one to your own. One of my good friends of 15 years was faced with a problem of depression many years ago when her daughter was a toddler. While I want go into explicit detail, I can say that her situation reached the point that she ended up leaving her daughter on several occasions, attempting to reach out and regroup. The daughter has truly had great resentment and has been unyielding over the years to her apologies and amends. My friend has remained supportive of her, now grown-up, daughter but the daughter has been, hateful and down right vicious at times. As time past, my friend was rescued by God from her depression and began to come back to herself. She is faithful with her commitment to Christ and Christ has given healing in so many areas and has loved her. She has been married and divorced and is currently on husband number four. She has a set of twins by one of her previous husband’s that her current husband had adopted as his own. He has given them the best and has even set up a trust fund for them to ensure that they will be cared for. Meanwhile the older daughter has hated the new husband but not so much as to try to get every dime out of him that she can. He has bailed her out of so many tight spots and still she is ungrateful. Last year alone he paid over $20,000.00 for a reposed car which ended up repo’d a second time; out of her mismanagement of money after she didn’t pay her rent for over eight months; he paid for food for her children, school clothes and supplies through out the year; bought new furniture for her new place of which he put down the deposit. When she visits her mom at the house that he is paying, wearing the clothes on her back that he has provided; she doesn’t so much as speak or even look at him. Her beef is with her mom, but she reflects it onto him. She is extremely jealous of the fact that he adopted the two younger children and even more so at the fact that he set up a trust fund for them. Now this daughter, we will call her Collette was not in the picture when this last husband (Jerry) came into her mom’s life. She had lived in another state for a while and when she arrived back home she knew her mom (Tish) had remarried. Collette wants Tish to suffer for what she did to her. Tish has paid and repaid the price over and over again and last year she thought she had come to a point where she could finally move on even if her daughter never forgave her.
Jerry had also been previously married and had grown children that he loved and was still taking care of. When Tish came into his life she put a stop to all of that, but she didn’t do the same where Collette was concerned. It was somewhat of a double standard. She didn’t want Jerry’s grown kids taking advantage of them but she would constantly give in to Collette when she needed or wanted or something. This past year Collette was removed from her place after being almost a year delinquent. She had destroyed the place while she lived there. She took no pride in cleaning or caring for the place that she and her children lived and made no consideration that the place did not belong to her. Upon leaving her place, her mom Tish gave in and offered her room and board at their place while she saved money for new place. Bad move. How do you move someone into your home that hates your husband? If there were a word stronger than hate I would use it right now. But Jerry is fun loving, he always wears a smile, doesn’t seem to fuss, or get bothered about much, even the fact that Tish didn’t want his own children to move in until they were on their feet. He just allowed her to have her wave as not to cause waves. Well Collette and her 4 kids moved in, they gave her a year deadline to work and save money but she would also need to pay them a little for her stay there. When I say a little I mean $180.00 a month. It was unbelievable all of those people under one roof. The electric, water, gas, food and gasoline bills increased. It was a bit of a strain and primarily Jerry was the only one working in the group. Collette had a full time job with a local toy store but she didn’t make much nor help much but she sure found time to give Jerry a lot of lip. She would constantly bad mouth him to Tish as well. Tish home schooled her other children and therefore was home most of the day. She would become frustrated with Collette for a short while only to forgive her to the point of enabling her so that she could start over again with her mouth. Is my understanding wrong to think that if you move in my house and you are not paying a bill or even contributing to a point that could be felt, that you should feel entitled to have anything negative to say? But the battle although Jerry was many times stuck in the middle of it, was not his issue; it was truly between Tish, Collette and their past. So one day Tish leaves to go to the grocery store (by the way it was Jerry’s money that paid for food for everyone in the household but moving forward). While Tish was away Jerry arrived home to find Collette engaged in a sexual act in his house, with the kids present (her kids and his that he had adopted—Tish’s biological children). Jerry was out raged and it takes a lot for him to become upset but he had tried working with Collette over and over and over again. She was disrespected and would use profanity at will. Jerry had finally had enough. Collette had only been living there of 5 months but was told that she would need to pack her things and leave. She packed all of her clothing items and the small tidbits that she had brought along with her and walked out. Collette forgot that she came to their house with four children; she just decided to leave them behind while Jerry had been out in the back yard cooling off.
Tish immediately decided to move in with the guy that she was with although she had only known him a couple of days. Against his better judgment he allow her to stay but told her it would only be for two months and hopefully she would be able to find a place by then. Jerry and Tish have been taking care of the four children for the past eight months and Collette has made no attempt to come back for her children. Tish continues to defend her actions indicating that she is great mother and person but just feels lost. How can one be a great mother but the refuse to mother their own children? My dear friend is in denial about herself, her daughter and their relationship. She doesn’t need a friendship that will sugar coat the behavior, but someone who will help her get back to the point of taking accountability / responsibility. We all need someone who will speak the truth to in love and give us a good swift kick, sometimes. She feels bad about leaving her daughter and her daughter takes advantage of that everyday. She is now in a position where she is picking her Collette over her husband and that it not the will of God. Yes, Collette is her flesh and blood but she has a vow with her husband. She agreed to leave all and cleave to him as one. Jerry has been good to her and she admits that but her mind and heart are at war concerning how to respond to her daughter. Collette is a grown up and Tish cannot allow her to continue with this power trip. She has apologized and she is unable to change the past, but she has made steps to change the future. There isn’t anything that Tish can do or say that will make Collette accept her apologize. Collette want her to continue to pay for her neglect. I for one do not believe that God is holding that sin against Tish. We all fall short. We all run out on something or someone at least once in our lives. We all people who were in our lives that we didn’t measure up to their standards or vice versa. And just because we make amends for our wrongs does not mean that the person involved in that will forgive us, but we cannot stop living. We cannot allow destruction to come to us, our family or our health because of it. Tish has been there for Collette and can continue but she is straddling the fence of enabling and that is unhealthy. She is doing this because she still has a bit of guilt and shame for what she did. I get that and understand intricately, but it is more than time to stop allowing Collette to say ugly words to the one man who has tried helping her every time that she is in trouble. He has been more than kind to her and has tried unbelievably hard to love her, pray for her, speak encouragement into her, support her (even monetarily) and give her not just those things that she wants but what she needs. Collette has to receive healing. It cannot be forced on her. She has to make a decision that she wants to release the past, let go of the fact that her aunt had to take care of her for 4 years of her young life or she can choose to hold unto to bitterness that is a cancer to every part of her life. God says that He lays before us (everyday) Life and Death; Blessing and Courses and He has asked us to choose life. We have to choose to live this life while we have it. We have to make the most of everyday so that we won’t have to hold unto regrets later on. It is up to us to make choices everyday, sometimes every second. Collette is currently 30 years old and has to know that she now has responsibility of her own in this situation. She must know that she is now allowing the cycle to continue on a much grander scale by leaving all of her children and not bothering to so much as even call. She believes that she is punishing Tish. She is not thinking of the children at this point. What makes her any better if she just decides to do the same thing? When will she decide to end the cycle and release it from her bloodline for good? I only pray that love will find them all soon before it is too late. That they will be acquainted, on an intimate level, with forgiveness and realize that life is shorter than we realize. Once we know that we are carrying around the spirit of offense, it is up to us to take it captive and choose to let go. Healing and bitterness cannot live in the same house. Tish will need to be the bigger one. She has to give the kids back to Collette and love her where she is. She has to stop trying to do this in her own power which is causing her to mess up her own life. Tish, at some point, must allow Collette to bump her own head on a few walls; to make her on decisions and be accountable for the outcome. I don’t recommend her leaving Collette all alone, but I do agree that sometimes we must love from afar especially is a person is too toxic to have around on a daily basis. After she marks off every excuse as to why she is enabling Collette, Tish must begin to live life (not with regrets but with the hope that God will change it). She must live with the hope that He will not fail her or Collette and He doesn’t require going over board as she has been doing. It is causing more harm than good and Collette doesn’t feel that she has to be accountable for her actions. God is a gentle and loving God whom I believe will direct them to that place of healing.
Tish if you are reading this; please know that I love you. You are one of my dearest friends and I don’t want anyone in your family to suffer any more pain, especially at your own hands. Not only do I believe that you are going to do the right thing I believe that you will begin right now. This is not your battle. You made a mistake. We all do. You’ve asked forgiveness and taken responsibility for your actions. You cannot keep beating yourself up or allowing someone else to (especially through mind game and verbal abuse). I believe that it will be ok for you take her children and leave them with her. They are her responsibility. Walk! You are not walking away from your grandchildren or your daughter, but allowing God to step in to do His job. You are not the Savior. You’ve given it your best shot. Do not allow her to introduce a wedge into your marriage because you believe that you can repair her. She doesn’t want to be healed right now. I know that because there is not evidence of her trying to help herself. There is only blame. Nothing (Absolutely Nothing) can be done until she is prepared to release her own control of being the victim and accept victory. Yes, she is your flesh and blood but do not allow her to be a ball and chain around your ankles. It may not be easy for you but you must allow her to stand on her own two feet. Take a step back, stand still and release. It is not my desire to tell you something wrong. How many more thousands of dollars a year must you spend to show your sincere apology? How many more cuss out will it take for her to degrade and cut you down about the past? You were only out of her life for four years. Four years is a long time, but you been paying the price for over 20 years. Everyone is affected by the choices that you are making (that she is making) which is causing unrest. Cut the strings! It will not stop you from being her mother. You get mad at her behavior and take it out on the rest of your family. Direct your anger to the correct place. Choose to be angry with who you are angry with. Don’t allow the sun to go down on your anger. Enough is enough. Let it go. When you feel that you are drowning or feel yourself drifting back to the old mindset, call. We have had many cries, laughs, disappointments, walks and talks etc. together until the breakthrough came. This is no different, breakthrough will come. You are going to make it. She will make it as well but not with you enabling her. It is time to let go.
*May the voice that God has given me be used to for love, hope, to build up, for healing, and help and never to tear down down another or offend. For in the same manner that I pray and love myself I pray for and love you.
“The most important,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29 -31