Welcome to Songs of Salvation! Each Sunday I will feature a Christian author sharing a "Song of Salvation" to uplift and encourage believers and glorify God.
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. Revelation 12:11 NLT
Authors, find out how to share your Song of Salvation here.
Reconciliation is one of my favorite words in the Bible – the truth mentioned in Colossians 1:20-22 of how I was separated from God and He chose to reconcile me to Himself through his son Jesus.
So, with such an intense gratitude for the reconciliation that God accomplished in my life, it’s odd … disconcerting, really, that I’ve been estranged from my family of origin for the past six years.
Reconciliation. Estrangement. Yes, both are part of my life.
It was never my intent to turn my back on my parents and siblings – two brothers and two sisters, including a fraternal twin sister. They might see it differently, since I was the one who sent the e-mail letter – the catalyst that caused an emotional explosion that still has relational repercussions years later.
My motivation for the letter? To establish a much-needed healthier boundary between me and my family. I was trying to say, “I want a relationship with you – but not this one. I can’t continue like this.” Instead, sending the letter was like throwing a match on kerosene-soaked charcoal. Anger and accusations flared – and I retreated, refusing to respond.
At the time, I was writing my novel Somebody Like You, which contains the plotline of two identical twin brothers who’ve been estranged for more than a decade. This was a very carefully planned out plot point. I never thought I’d become estranged from my family while I wrote that book.
But God knew.
There were days I struggled to write my imaginary characters’ story because what was going on in my life was too real. Too painful. There I was, figuring out ways to make things work on the pages of my novel, and feeling like a failure because I couldn’t fix the relationships with my family.
And then I realized that God understood estrangement. That’s what biblical reconciliation is all about – God healing spiritual estrangement between Him and mankind. The book I was writing? It’s a modern-day retelling of Jacob and Esau, two brothers whose relationship broke down over a pot of stew and a birthright. And no, I didn’t realize that fact until I was deep into editing, while struggling with the heartache of being separated from my family of origin.
Romans 12:18 (NASB) says: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men …” I remind myself of this verse multiple times a week – sometimes multiple times a day. I’ve come to realize I can’t resolve this estrangement. The verse clearly states you aren’t always going to be able to achieve peace with other people. You do what you can … and then sometimes, the only thing you can do, is realize that a relationship with someone else is not possible.
Does this mean that I’m happily estranged from my parents and siblings? Of course not. Look closely at the word again: eSTRANGEment. It’s a strange, peculiar, wrong state of being. Holidays are hard. Birthdays are hard. To be honest, there are moments each day that hurt.
But peace … reconciliation … cannot be forced. Or faked.
Which brings me back to where we started: to believing in a God of reconciliation. A God who is still working in my life and who isn’t finished with my story yet. (Philippians 1:6). I put my hope and my trust in Him – and I know that even when it looks like nothing is changing, when I find myself in a place I never imagined, He is still accomplishing His purposes in my life – and in others’ lives, too.