This past weekend, we attended a memorial service for my husband’s mom.
A handful of family and friends came from all parts of the country to celebrate her life. And as we all gathered at their home, everyone took turns sharing all the good things they remembered about her.
And I began to panic.
Because nothing came to mind.
A little back story?
Shortly after Wayne and I were married, our relationship with his parents became strained. Instead of gaining a daughter, they felt as if they’d lost a son instead.
And it was an obvious mindset. Oh it was messy.
I certainly didn’t handle their rejection well. For most of my life, I had struggled with feelings of worthlessness. So their decision not to embrace me… triggered me. Big time.
Coming into the marriage with my own set of baggage, I was such a wounded soul. And so my tendency was to lash out in anger at those “you’re-not-good-enough” messages.
… Honestly, I just wanted them to love me.
My poor husband was caught in the middle, and ultimately decided to support and protect me and our marriage. Oh I just love him for that.
And in the end, that allegiance proved to be a deal-breaker with his parents. And without warning, they ended their relationship with us.
It about killed my husband.
There’s much to this story, details that don’t need to be shared, but it was a game-changing event for Wayne.
How do you makes sense of things when those who have always loved, protected and encouraged you… walk away?
It deeply rocked my man and almost destroyed our marriage. And for nine very difficult years, we were estranged from his parents.
… But God was about to shake things up.
So Wayne prayed about it, we talked about it, and he finally drove to their home and knocked on their door.
The reunion was sweet (with a little sour sprinkled here and there). We made a conscious decision to let the past stay in the past, and agreed to only look to the future.
And after nine years apart, our family was able to spend last Christmas with his parents.
Who knew it would be our last.
Six months after the reunion, Wayne’s mom died.
Fast forward to last weekend.
As I listened to everyone share stories of how wonderful and loving his mom had been, a sense of sadness overwhelmed me.
She sounded like an amazing woman who impacted the lives of so many people. They loved her laugh. They admired her courage and resilience. She had sweet signature phrases. She’d been a surrogate mom to a few. And everyone in that room deeply loved her and missed her.
But I never saw any of it. Neither did Sam and Sara… her only grandkids.
I’m so glad we were there that day. So grateful for the stories my kids got to hear about their grandmother, even if I wasn’t able to add to them. Since they’d only really known her a few short months, those stories gave them a peek into who she was.
I’m glad Wayne’s father felt love and support from those who mattered the most to them.
But more than anything, I’m thankful (and proud) that Wayne listened to God’s prompting… and trusted Him enough to reach out to his parents and reconnect.
Oh how that must have filled his mom’s heart with joy as she took her last breath.
Relationships are crunchy. They are hard and take great patience. People are infuriating and circumstances overwhelming. But God created community on purpose.
And knowing how messy it can be, God is always ready to restore those broken relationships.
When we can’t fix it, He can.
And if we ask Him, He will.
“I am the Lord God of all humanity. Nothing is too hard for me.” (Jeremiah 32:27)
©2013 Carey Scott