How do you handle your “in-laws”? Perhaps, we should think on how do our “in-laws” handle us? This story stirs in my heart while thinking of Mom and Mrs. Willa…two women who watched me marry their sons; Angel and Jamie…two women I watched marry my sons. Therefore, I am daughter-in-law and mother-in-law all rolled into one package, often pondering how to handle things that can make or break our relationships.
Anyone reading this who wears the title of “in-law” with much love and respect for those who married into your family and for those who accepted you into their families, share a gift that is precious and profound.
God has tendered my heart to teach a series on the heartaches and happiness of in-laws. There is way too little space in my column to cover the blessings and burdens one incurs in becoming and being a “Good In-Law”! I am working on a seminar God has laid on my heart about this subject which affects every family. Many people tend to shun or sweep under the rug issues that signal in-law distress! Others try too hard to fix things, resulting in overcorrecting and causing even more situations to be handled…one way or another! Often, it only takes openly communicating and sincerely sharing from the depths of in-laws’ hearts to see sunshine on the horizon.
Check Tim’sGiftInc.Clinton website and facebook pages for these teachings… coming soon. I will be happy to come to your church, community event, or host a seminar for a small group at Tim’s Gift Inc. Sam Gore, Jennifer Brewer, myself, and our devoted Board of Directors are dedicated to the cause of Tim’s Gift as we seek God’s will and way of sharing His love while giving Help and Hope to people in need. And people who do not know how to handle in-laws are definitely in need! I can only imagine the echo of AMENs among readers fortunate to enjoy close relationships with in-laws and those sad and saddled in situations where hope for good relationships looks bleak.
Do not be confused or confounded. Look to God’s Word where He promises: all things are possible with Him, healing for the brokenhearted, help to bind up wounds, and hope for those who trust and obey. I look forward to sharing these teachings wherever He leads. I believe this series, “How to Handle In-Laws” can bring beauty and blessings to all families, including those where tears and troubles have prevailed and those who can testify to the precious joy of living in one accord. It’s all in how we handle it that makes the difference.
Sharing a recent in-law situation brings sunshine to my soul as I type with joy deep down in my heart on Labor Day at Topsail Island. My grandson reads on the couch with me counting my blessings of having family to stick with me as God restores sunshine in my life. His Holy Spirit is in this very room, where I have watched Tim rest on that couch while playing video games, James rest on that couch while watching golf on television, and Connor resting there now with video game in hand. Seasons bring changes to our lives. How we handle those tough times of adversity propels us to happiness or plummets us to never ending heartache with little hope of healing.
As I rest and write on Labor Day, I am thankful God continues to walk with me through seasons of heartbreak and happiness. What about you? Let’s take time right now to praise Him for helping us all move forward and make things right in our hearts with Him and ‘them’…people who have hurt us or hindered happiness from happening. Again, the choice is ours on how to handle things that affect our relationship with our Father, family, and friends.
James’ mother, my stepmother-in-law, a precious Christian woman and prayer warrior, deals with loneliness and health issues. Her heart was broken twice in 2014 when her husband, Mr. Earl, and her son, James, were called Home to Heaven. Then, her sons decided it was best for her to stop driving. Losing her loved ones and the freedom to drive herself places she needed to go was devastating. Knowing how to handle this situation was hard. When I knocked at her door, I never knew what her mood would be. When her sad eyes shed tears and her frail body didn’t work just right, we all wanted to fix things in her life. Not knowing exactly how to do that causes frustration for loved ones who need the help and those who are helping.
Each Tuesday, I take Mrs. Willa a hot meal from Circle of Blessings. Sometimes, I am able to sit down and eat with her. She loves that; so do I. Other times, I still have plates to deliver and work left to do before heading home. Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” portrays what most of us deal with daily: …having places to go and things to do before we sleep. Finding time to visit parents – grandparents, eat dinner together as a family, play together, check on neighbors, care for the elderly, enjoy quiet time with God can become endangered if we do not protect it. I realize just how much a visit to Tim’s mother and James’ mother means to them because I look forward to those visits from my family, also.
Next week, I will share how God worked out in minutes what I had been praying about for months with one little in-law situation. What was raining sadness on Mrs. Willa – and on me when I visited her – now showers us both with sunshine that is bringing joy to our healing hearts. We might not know how to handle things with loved ones but God does. He knows just what we need, what they need, and how to work it out according to His plans however we faithfully make choices to trust, obey…and not get in God’s way.
Becky Spell Vann is a long-time columnist for the Sampson Independent’s Faith & Family section and owner of the outreach ministry Tim’s Gift.