I visited my great aunt twice in the past couple weeks (the second and third time I've ever seen her). In that time I discovered more about my father's side of the family than I ever knew. We come from a long line of brokenness.
It all began with an American Indian husband (my great, great, great grandpa) who killed his own wife, leaving their three little girls to fend for themselves. More recent, my grandfather married 3 or 4 times, eventually dying alone from cancer caused by one of his many addictions. This is the man who left my father at an early age, leaving his mother to marry an abusive alcoholic.
Then there's my dad. My dad also has a lot of stored up bitterness involving his mother's death. She continually told him God would heal her of her cancer, but she ended up dying. It's as if he blames Him for her death. Along with that he got a girl pregnant and married her right out of high school. They had two kids, a few abortions, and a lot of heartache before they finally divorced. Years later he met and eventually married my mom.
My mom's immediate family had its own problems. My grandpa, who began adult life desiring to become a priest, became a teacher, married my grandma and had 4 kids. Eventually he had an affair with a student and divorced my grandma to marry her. My step-grandma had her own kids and then another son with my grandpa.
Thankfully, despite all the drinking, frustrations, and baggage, my parents have stayed together. Though my brothers and I can testify to the pain of having an alcoholic and broken father, two of the three are following in his footsteps. My dad loves us the best he know how, but it hasn't always been easy to remember that.
Calling a sibling a half-brother or a half-sister is a true testament to their family relationship...it's broken. My father doesn't talk to his half brother or sister and has no interest in seeing his father's sister. My mom's half brother and step-siblings aren't anywhere near as close to her as her whole siblings and for years there has been an elephant in the room whenever my step-grandma is around.
By God's grace, through the years there has been a lot of healing on my mother's side. While my grandma was dying my grandpa visited her. Soon after the visit she passed away. It was as if she was holding out to see him...as if she still loved him and needed the closure. Along that line, my step-grandma has made huge leaps in breaching the gap between her and her step-children. She's also the only grandma I have and I've been blessed to have her take that role in our wedding and everyday life.
My family is a huge contrast to my husband's family. His parents have been happily married for over 30 years and both of his grandparents kept their vows, "'til death do we part." They all have a good relationship with the Lord and with each other and I'm beyond blessed to be a part of it.
In thinking of my kids, I fear the legacy my side of the family has, but hold firm to my husband and all his family promises. I WILL break the generational curse of brokenness and divorce. My kids WON'T have to suffer from a broken family, but will know their parents love each other. My kids WILL know the Lord and follow His ways. The Lord WILL answer my prayers. They WILL be whole.