This past weekend, the Hubs and I traveled “out to west Texas to the town of El Paso where I fell in love with a”….nope…not much love there. Kidding. We love our family but the area is a bit sad to say the least. The plan was to attend the family reunion for my husband’s family. Apparently they have it every 2 years (I think more like every 7 years since we have been married for 7 years and this is the first year we were invited to attend).
Much of the Hub’s family live in El Paso or in California in the L.A. region. It’s a very large family. Which means, I had not met many of the them. They were basically strangers.
I wasn’t exactly excited about the trip. Not because of the family reunion but because of the family reunion. Let me explain. It wasn’t the strangers that I wasn’t sure about meeting. It was our immediate family. We have issues (who doesn’t?). Over the past few years, any time we visit, it has been exhausting. Some drama has played out or some uncomfortable incident has occurred. For example, last year when visiting for my brother-in-law’s graduation, I had to keep a very close eye on my children because my father-in-law was allowing a felon (not related to us) to live in his house. It was stressful. We have had situations in which the Hubs and I end coming off as being “the bad guys” even though we were actually being the hero they need….not the hero they wanted but the one they needed (It’s a Batman quote). Let’s just say that before we ever left for this trip the situation was bathed in prayer.
The day before we left to travel to El Paso we received a text message telling us my father-in-law was in the hospital being observed for some heart issues. I think your dad being hospitalized warrants a call but … Once we arrived and visited him, I teasingly told him he was trying to “get out” of attending the reunion. There may have been some truth there. One of my sister-in-laws has fallen into some very bad things and made some poor choices. His fear…that people would be talking about it.
Families are funny…not in a “haha” way. We hide the truth from the people who love us and who would be willing to help. My family has done the same things over the years. I have one cousin who has been in and out of jail for an ongoing drug issue. We definitely would have helped my aunt but she was so ashamed she didn’t tell us what was going on. Shame is so binding.
The reunion was nice. My father-in-law attended and had a nice time with his family. I had the opportunity to meet some of the Hubs’ cousins who I had not met yet. They were so sweet. There were games. The food was good. They had prizes. The only thing that could have made it better was if it was at the beach.
In reality, my father-in-law is the youngest sibling in his family so his kids are the youngest and we were the family with the youngest kids. Which means we spent the majority of our time chasing our 1 year old and niece and nephew around. But it was fun.
I’m not one to miss church on Sunday. It doesn’t feel like Sunday if I haven’t been to church…throws off my whole week. In the past, when we have visited El Paso, we have attended a Spanish speaking church. Which I admittedly do not get much out of since I do not speak Spanish…I try sometimes but no. I understand a little but not much. This time, the rest of the family opted out so they could sleep in. We decided to attend the church Dennis attended when he was growing up. They have English and Spanish Services. I enjoyed the service…great music and a good message that was both Biblical and relevant. The church is Living Water Christian Center.
When we walked in, many people recognized the Hubs and stopped to talk to him and meet us.
It was also a family reunion.
The Hubs and I have been walking through the healing process and the whole “Freedom” thing for the past few years. Part of that healing has been understanding that perception isn’t truth and admitting that sometimes our perception of a series of events isn’t entirely accurate. At times, it is accurate but we still have to forgive and love.
I’ve also learned that there have been times when I have held offense against someone for a perceived wound by a family member. In other words, if you hurt my family, you are the devil. Yes, I have my own brand “drama”. WE HAVE TO BE HEALED OF THOSE THINGS TOO. I once had to forgive someone for a snarky comment on Facebook that my sister took offense to…I was being supportive of her. It’s kind of funny, healing, deliverance, and freedom are hard enough for ourselves but then we also take offense for others. It is too much. But don’t mess with my kids because that will cause issues…for both of us. I still have a ways to go.
Everyone at the church was unbelievable kind and even asked after the Hubs’ dad and said they wanted to pray for him (as he has been sick). They reached out.
Although, I am all about looking ahead to what God has for you there are times when you need to go back and visit a past.
My friend, Charlie used to describe churches as tribes (like the children of Israel). We are all a part of a tribe…the church you grew up in is your tribe..it’s your family. That’s why when churches fail or fall short of expectation or even worse intentionally hurt you it’s devastating and can shake your faith. There comes a time when you have to return to your tribe.
I feel that visiting the church brought more healing and more freedom to the Hubs. He is freeing himself from bad definitions, from offenses he held because of his family, he is realizing that these people are not the devil, just people who are imperfect but they love Jesus.
We enjoyed our trip although we are still trying to catch up on our sleep…1 year olds do not sleep well away form home. Our time with family was relatively drama free. We were able to love on our niece and nephews. The Boy got to know his cousins a little. We ate some Chico’s Tacos.
I’m undecided about which reunion I liked better…the bio family or the church family. I had fun at the family reunion but there is something about being in the house of the Lord that ignites me.