If you came over from Encouragement for Today, welcome!

My mom just turned 74 this month. Isn’t she beautiful? That’s my sister on the right, my son-in-law, grandson, and daughter on the left. I’m the one peeking over mom’s shoulder.

We are not a perfect family, but we are a family who has experienced God’s healing. It is a family that I love like crazy.

I share our story in my book, The Mom I Want to Be, because there are others who are in the same place who desire to find wholeness. It’s hard when your family is fractured by dysfunction, addiction, or abuse.

But it’s also amazing to see how God can give you and I a fresh start.

But what about me, you might ask. Is there a fresh start for me when the people in me past are still broken? There is, when you. . .

Grow even if others are not willing or ready

How many times do we remain stuck. Mired in anger. Stopped by hurt. We point to the person who hurt us and say, “God, I’ll let go of this when she changes.”

But what if she doesn’t? Are you willing to spend the rest of your life waiting for her transformation, only to miss your own?

I love the story when Jesus asked the man, “Do you want to get well?”. I imagine what my response would be. It would be yes, right? Except there have been too many times when I, like the man in the story (John 5:2-9) offered up an excuse instead.

God, there are things in the way. That obstacle is too large. That person gets in my way.

God was offering this man wholeness, and he failed to see it.

God is offering you wholeness. Don’t let the brokenness of others or the past keep you from all that God is offering you.

Set boundaries, as needed

Don’t you hate that word? It sounds like punishment, or harsh actions. It’s none of those. Instead it simply means: doing what is in our power to have as healthy a relationship as possible. It looks like this:

If your family member is an addict, you won’t keep them from natural consequences (which means you won’t lie for them, you won’t provide a way out of their consequences, you won’t invest more in them then they are willing to invest in themselves). But you will love them. You will pray.

If your family member is abusive verbally to you or your family, you will share your needs. Not in anger. With clarity. With clear consequences. You might say: Dad, when you lash out like that it makes me feel sad, and it confuses the kids. Unfortunately, we’ll have to leave when that happens. I do want to spend time with you, but it can’t be in those times.

And then you follow through. It won’t be easy at first because there is a pattern in place. It’s like a dance. He lashes out. You react. He guilts you for your reaction. You retreat. You apologize. No one wins. No one changes.

Setting boundaries removes the anger (yours) from the situation, the manipulation (theirs), and leaves room for everyone to grow, if they are willing.

You get out of the sick crowd

When Jesus approached the sick man (John 5:2-9), he asked him to walk out of the crowd. It had to be hard. He had been stuck in the sick crowd for a long time. It was familiar. All he knew.

Standing meant that he would see a new perspective. He would go in a new direction.

We can get trapped in fighting. In endless drama. In enabling. In a sick crowd mentality that says that you harbor bitterness, or unforgiveness, or retaliate with words or actions because someone hurt you.

Are you willing to change the way you think? The way you respond. Are you expanding beyond the crowd of sick people to view life a different way?


You give grace as they change

I love moments like these. To point out who my mom has become and is still becoming. She is more than my mom. She’s my friend.

Are you willing to acknowledge the steps they have taken? The victories that might seem small in light of the past, but that are huge in light of grace?

Do you need a little extra support as you live intentionally free? Please join me daily in the FB community Live Free. Five days a week I share a brief Live Free encouragement, a scripture, and one small step we can take that day to live it out.