I thought this message might be fitting for many of us who celebrate the Holidays with family members, some who may not be our ‘first choice’ on the list of favorite people. (Didn’t I say that nicely?)
As you go about your plans to enjoy and embrace all the festivities with those you love, there may be a few or ten beloved family members you’d rather, ahem, not be around at all. Perhaps you dream of setting a table outside in the back for some chosen people so that you could actually enjoy your time despite them being there?
I have a little thing I do with my kids that might help.
Cassidy was 11 and Cade was 8 when I started this intervention. These were the ages they started to fight like crazy and to this day still continue to banter and battle often. And as many siblings do, they also laugh uncontrollably together and I catch them having fun once in a while. So despite their incessant need to claim who’s right- they love each other more than they know.
Literally, much more than they know. 🙂
Cassidy isn’t into hugging or showing any affection to her brother at this point. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for Cade. He’s a lover by nature, always needing an embrace and will do just about anything to get it. (Obviously, physical touch is his love language) Cade feels neglected by his older sister often, and his sister thinks he is needy and annoying. It’s been an ongoing struggle to help these two get along, understand one another, and lean toward each other, instead of picking at every little raw nerve that’s exposed.
Do you have siblings? Yeah, then you probably get this.
So years ago, one day, I had had enough. Cade just wanted a hug from Cassidy and was elevating his whining pitch to meet the yelling revolt of his sister.
I said “ENOUGH!! Cassidy, you will hold your brother for a full MINUTE right NOW!”
That was years ago, and Cade ate it UP- despite Cassidy’s resistance and disgust at this idea. I still make them do it, but not as much as I should.
Here’s a snapshot of them years ago doing this very thing.
Oh, the joy!
Aren’t they adorable?
I mean, just look at her face!
Oh, the love.
I can’t even.
So here’s the message for you during this holiday season, because sometimes- It takes someone else to push people together when they have lost the ability to recognize their love.
For those who are gearing up to withstand one or two or ten people in your life who are not your favorite people. For those of you who are polishing your armor, planning to preserve and protect those vulnerable places that might get pinched. For those of you who are dreading the damage that may be done, when surrounded by loved ones who aren’t so, um, loving.
You have to step boldly forward and love the one you’re with. Force yourself to hold them, even when you clearly have no desire. Embrace them, even when they chomp on every last nerve buzzing through your seething bits.
This is my challenge to you:
That family member you would prefer never came? That one individual who triggers twitches and needless woes?
Be ‘that person’, who gives more than you thought you could ever give. Be the one who loves more than you thought you could love. Be the one who embraces grace and pours it plenty. Be the one who rises higher than those who dive low. Be the one who shines a light that is impenetrable and strong enough to warm the coldest of hearts.
Be that person.
Love them anyway.
Love them despite.
Love them because…
He first loved you.
“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 NIV
And no matter the outcome, you will have peace in knowing you leaned in and loved…
Despite and because.
*If you feel threatened by a family member in any way or if you are at risk of any emotional, physical, or sexual abuse by anyone in your company- DISREGARD THIS AND REACH OUT FOR HELP. Don’t ever believe that God would want you to accept any kind of abuse in the name of love. THIS IS NOT LOVE. If you read this and you don’t know where to go or who to talk to, please email me at Chris@TheMomCafe.com and I can help.*