When someone says that to you, what comes to mind? Perhaps some of you got lucky and he’s the brother you never had and always wanted. Good for you. For others, on the opposite end of the spectrum, he’s the bane of your existence and you tolerate him at best, at mandatory family gatherings. And to that I offer my deepest condolences. For me? He’s the brother I never had and…well…he’s…Kevin. If you saw us interacting with each other you would assume we really were brother and sister. We fight like siblings. We call each other names. We mock each other at the others expense. When we say to the other to stop doing something we just do it more, simply because we know it annoys the other. But, at the end of the day we’re there for each other because that’s what family does, right? i.e; he fixes my car when it’s needed (the sworn duty of every family mechanic) and I take in his kids for 3 months. Fair trade, yes?
Last week we were all at my parents place. I was in the kitchen talking with my parents and my sister when Kevin decided it was a good idea to sneak up behind me and yell really loud in my ear. Let me just make something very clear before I continue. I hate…I mean HATE when someone sneaks up on me and scares me. I loathe it. I don’t like being scared. Period. So someone sneaking up from behind and yelling brings out the not so “Christian” side of me and I turn into a horrible person for the minute or so that follows. I swung around and clocked him…hard. Followed by a hardy ”take off!” at the top of my lungs. Only, I didn’t necessarily use the word “take”. He got the message. And I can almost guarantee that he’ll do it again at some point. Because that’s what brother and sister duos do.
I tell you all of this to say that this scenario got me thinking. That life can sometimes be that annoying brother in law that sneaks up on you and scares the living daylights out of you. You don’t see it coming, it makes you angry, you wanna fight back and hope that it never happens again. (Although we know that it ultimately will because, well, that’s life.)
The past few years for me it seems like it’s been one thing after another. From my car accident, to my flooded apartment, to friendships falling to the wayside. As if that isn’t enough, the situation with my children being taken out from under me the way they were and the financial strain that put on me, the fact that my own children seem to want nothing to do with me anymore (according to their father), going through the long court process with my ex husband and the financial situation that brings. Having to even deal with my ex husband at all. Period.
I didn’t see any of this coming. I didn’t plan on it. I didn’t ask for it. I can remember as a teenager, what I envisioned for my life at this age and if I think about it too much it makes me angry all over again that I allowed myself to end up here like this in the first place. But even though certain things that have happened were a surprise to me or from my own choices that I never would have made if I would have known better, God knew. My life wasn’t a surprise to Him. Nothing gets past Him. You can’t sneak up on God and he doesn’t scare, at all. And even though He knows it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly parts that you don’t tell anybody, He still chooses us. He still loves us. He still calls us and has a plan for our lives, regardless of the detours; whether they are from of our own making or the choices of others.
Over the past few years I’ve probably felt every kind of emotion you can think of. Especially the past year in dealing with my children and ex husband. I’ve been numb, hurt, depressed, anxious, lonely, betrayed, confused, utterly brokenhearted when it comes to my children. You never realize how much you love someone until they’re no longer there. And as far as my ex husband is concerned, the one emotion I have felt over all others is anger. Absolute and total “Mama Bear” type rage. Like that scene from the movie “The Revenant” when Leonardo DiCaprio crosses paths with the mama bear and her two cubs and she does what any mama bear protecting her children would do, she fights back. Only this isn’t a movie, this is real life and that’s not “what Jesus would do.”
And the thing is, He gets it. Jesus understands my anger, my rage, my broken heart, the feeling of betrayal. He knows what it feels like to be betrayed by those he loved. He knows the heavy weight of loneliness and extreme stress. In those times, Jesus himself did the only thing he knew how to do…pray. He could have fought back but that’s not how he fought his battles. He fought them on His knees. And it’s the same thing for me, for all of us. We don’t fight the same way the world fights. We are strongest when we’re brought to tears, alone in our room, crying out to God for help. We throw our hardest punches when we’re on our knees. And the thing is, regardless of what the outcome is, what does end up happening is that it inevitably changes YOU. You find yourself more at peace, with more joy and ultimately it pushes you that much closer, under the loving and protective wings of our Heavenly Father; who has already stopped at nothing and spared no expense to fight for you and I.