It was the hardest decision I had ever made.
I had to pack up and move to Europe in the midst of the most painful and unexpected conflict my family had ever faced. I had planned my European adventure for over a year. And as much as I wanted to go, I still found myself gripping the plastic arms of my airplane seat in an effort to keep myself from bolting back home.
That first year in a new country was the hardest year of my life. I felt like I wasn’t able to comfort my hurting family from so far away. Day after stressful day passed, and I dreaded hearing my phone ring, fearing more bad news from my family. And with my family distracted by their own heartache and anger, I didn’t have any emotional support as I adjusted to a new culture. I quickly reached my breaking point.
Although I had not personally contributed to the conflict we found ourselves in, I felt like I needed to fix it. I kept telling myself that if only I had stayed home, perhaps I would have discovered the perfect thing to say to ease everyone’s pain and sadness. I was restless, overwhelmed and emotionally drained.
There are few things more painful than a broken family or a broken home. We want our homes and families to be a place of refuge and peace from the chaos of the world around us. We want to feel safe and secure in the unconditional love and stability that a healthy family can provide. I felt like our family had experienced the beauty of that kind of life, but now it had been ripped out from under us.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by your family’s struggles? Maybe your family is struggling with the pain of a loved one’s addiction. Maybe you’re dealing with the death of a family member, and your family is struggling to cope and communicate their grief. Or maybe you don’t even know where or how the conflict began, but now it seems like the heartache will never end.
In my broken state over my family’s struggles, I turned to God’s Word for comfort. I knew that worrying about my family was consuming me and I wouldn’t be able to last much longer. It was at this desperate moment that I was reminded of Philippians 4:6-8, which says, Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus (GNTD). As I began to give my worries, my hurt and my fears over to God—knowing that he was the one who could heal my family—a peace that surpassed understanding filled me.
If you’re feeling anxious about a family conflict today, you can turn to the Bible and find comfort in these words:
1 Peter 5:7 (GNTD)
Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.
Psalm 62:8 (GNTD)
Trust in God at all times, my people. Tell him all your troubles, for he is our refuge.
Colossians 3:12-14 (GNTD)
You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with one another and forgive one another whenever any of you has a complaint against someone else. You must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven you. And to all these qualities add love, which binds all things together in perfect unity.
Jeremiah 32:27 (GNTD)
I am the Lord, the God of all people. Nothing is too difficult for me.
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