Friday, May 18, 2018

The Sins of my Father

This past year has put into focus something that I was a little fuzzy on for 26 years. February this year marked the 26th year after I had a dream that went like this: I was walking into the front room of a house and when I got inside I saw my mother standing there. She was in the blossom of health and looked to be about 35 years old. I was in shock as my mother had died 4 years prior at the age of 58 and was very ill from liver failure. I said to her, " Mom, how can you be here. I saw you dead in the casket!" She very solemnly said, "They tried to pierce my hands for the sins of my father but I said, 'No!' and rose up out of that casket." I was puzzled by her response but I then with great excitement told her I was getting married. Her face lit up, she hugged me and kissed me on my cheek and said, "I am so happy for you! Come see what I am going to wear to your wedding." We stepped into the next room and she was wearing a beautiful, floor length silver gown. I stared at her in awe and began to think to myself, "Since mom is wearing this silver dress, my wedding colors should be red with silver accents instead of red with gold accents." Then I stepped into the next room and my mom was gone and I was planning my wedding. I thought, "I have to make all the arrangements of the cake, flowers, and invitations and I only have 2 weeks!" When I woke up out of the dream, I was puzzled by it all except the part of me getting married as I was single and really wanted to be married and loved the part of mom being so happy for me!

As time unfolded it became clear to me that this truly was a prophetic dream given to me by God. I was puzzled by the wedding colors as I had never thought of using red and silver. When I would day dream of my future wedding, I would think about mixed Spring colors and daisies. The year before I met my husband, I came to the understanding that the wedding colors of red with silver was a Russian Wedding theme and in Russian royalty it was customary for the mother of the bride to wear a long silver dress. That year I knew it was the year I was to meet my husband. At the end of that year I went on a 2 week missions trip to Russia. In January I signed up to join with a group that was going in July. Two weeks after I signed up and put my money down, I began to get to know my future husband. He was not going on the trip but he was attending the church that I worked at. He worked for a party event planner. When an event was over, she would give him the left over flowers that were still beautiful and he would bring them into the church office for everyone to enjoy. When he would bring in the flowers , I would start to chat with him. In July of that year, 6 days before I left for Russia, he called me up and asked me out. We dated for a year and then got engaged the following July and were married December 14th. Our relationship started right before my 2 weeks missions trip and we were married 2 weeks into December, so the closing statement of the dream made sense of only having 2 weeks!

After all that was fulfilled I still puzzled over the meaning of the phrase, "they tried to pierce my hands for the sins of my father."

This year I have come to the conclusion that my mother was speaking of her father. How I came to this understanding was through 2 gifts of information. One, my sister gave me my parents letters that they wrote to each other when they were separated for a month, as she was visiting her father and other family, when they were dating shortly before they married. Two, my niece sent me some family history about my grandfather's father and grandparents. These 2 pieces of information filled in the gaps in what I already knew about my grandfather.

My grandfather was a very moral man and hard working, even called himself a Christian but according to the testimony of my mother, he did not know God. My grandparents on my mother's side were both dead by the time I was born. All I knew of them were what my mother told me and my siblings, through stories of her life. My mother was the youngest of 9 kids and a five year tag along at that, so her parents were in their 40s when she was born. She had the benefit of being the last child and spending time with her folks when life was much slower as they no longer lived on a farm and had a big family to take care of. Her mother had lots of time to tell her stories of her younger life when she was single, the events that lead to her marriage and her early days of child rearing and busy farm work.

My grandmother was a godly person and had spent time seeking God and wanting to know Him as a young person. She didn't want to just join the Brethern Church that they attended when she was 16 and say she was saved. She wanted to know God and know that she was saved. So she spent many nights praying by her bed. The night she gave up after not experiencing anything and told the Lord she would leave it in His hands, she layed across her bed and fell asleep. God gave her a vision of the wind blowing very hard and then she was on a sea of peace and she heard him say, "Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Those were the words that Jesus told his disciples before he was taken up into heaven to comfort them. He would be sending them the Holy Spirit to comfort and empower them. 

Through Grandma's life she was comforted and was empowered by the Holy Spirit. She experienced supernatural healing and protection at different times. She gave up her own plans to follow God's, except in her choice of a mate. She found herself attracted to a young man 4 years older than her in their little Brethern Church that her family attended. He was handsome and outgoing and had the attention of several girls. He liked grandma as a friend, but was infatuated with a beautiful, but shallow girl, who strung him along making him think she would be serious about him but was really looking for a rich man and grandpa was not rich. Grandma stood in the wings of this situation and would go out with Grandpa when he couldn't get a date with his favorite. Grandma's parents were godly people and they did not like Grandpa's behavior towards Grandma. They knew his family, as was common in small farming communities. They knew his father didn't treat him well, spoiling him one time and then harsh and cruel another. They knew he was raised in dysfunction. His mother was a sweet Christian lady but was an invalid due to an illness that left her weak and unable to completely recover. His father was harsh and abusive at times. Knowing all this and seeing how he was treating their daughter like a second string girl, made them give Grandma strong counsel not to get involved with him. They knew he had a problem that ran very deep and didn't want their daughter hurt by him. She didn't listen to the objective and honest counsel her parents gave her and continued on in the relationship. 

Through a series of events Grandpa married Grandma. His favorite girl got engaged to someone else and grandma, his second string, started ignoring him too and started going out with other guys. He got to feeling really bad and losing control of the situation so his fix was to propose to Grandma. Grandma was beside herself with joy, because she had set her heart on him long ago and she was going to prove her parents wrong about him and she would be that influence that would change him and he would be free of his troubles. 

Part of Grandpa's trouble was that he felt intimidated by Grandma, not in her social standing or looks but in her relationship to God. Grandma's best friend, Libby, had had some heartfelt talks with Grandpa and he opened up and said that he was troubled because Grandma had had a deeper religious experience than he. The truth of it was that Grandma had a close walk with God and he did not. She had experienced super natural power in her life and he had not. God and what He thought and desired, was more important to her. What God thought and desired was much lower on the list for him. Grandma thought that all Grandpa needed was some love and encouragement and they would be blissfully happy, both on the same page spiritually.

Grandpa's spiritual state was a choice that he made and could not be made by anyone else, no matter how nice or spiritual they were. He had to come to that choice all on his own. Because he knew about God, but did not know or have fellowship with God, he became powerless to over come sin. He had deep seated, generational sin of anger and in his anger he sinned. When he became angry he hurt people really, really bad. He would sling cruel insults, destroy treasured things, cause physical pain and injury. This was so bad that he told his children as they got older if they seen him get mad to run away from him as far as they could get. When he would cool down, he would feel bad about what he did. The first time Grandma saw this happen in their marriage, even before children, she said something died inside her. Her romantic dream that her love and their marriage could make him change. She realized that she had disregarded sound counsel and was going to pay for it the rest of her life. Thank goodness Grandpa was a moral man and was financially responsible but he would always be at odds with her on spiritual matters. There house was divided. He would attend church, but he didn't want the truths of God's kingdom to come against his choices. If he wanted to hate someone and wouldn't forgive them, better not tell him that God said that He would not forgive those who would not forgive others. Or better not tell him if he borrowed money from his kids and then kept it when he had it later and would not give it back, was stealing. When the conviction of his sin came upon him, he became angry and did not change.

Grandpa's father was an angry and cruel man. I did not know the source of his anger until now. I knew of Grandma's stories of her father-in-law and they were not good. He was very cruel at times and could be selfish and very harsh. Now, I know thanks to my niece's family research. Our great, great grandfather was physically abusive and his wife had problems with sexual immorality and they split up when he was young. So he grew up with pain and dysfunction and he just passed his anger onto his son by unfair punishment and feeling bad and over indulging him later. He was not good to his invalid wife as he should of been. This caused terrible conflict in my grandfather growing up and it made him angry. He had an insane temper that he could not shake.

My mother grew up with this situation in her father, but she did have a godly mother. When mom was a young teenager her mom told her. Don't do what I did. I do love your father and love you children very much. You were innocent in this choice of mine and I tell you these things to save you the grief I have endured. Grandmother was unequally yoked. She wanted mom to marry a man who was making choices to obey God and wanted to know God personally not just attend church and say he is a Christian. A person that was a Christian in name only does not have the power of the Holy Spirit and they are left ineffective to overcome deep seated sin and cannot be used as a conduit of His Spirit to bring godly influence on those around them. Grandma also told mom to listen to her family, that loved her and loved God concerning who she was choosing to marry. Mom took this adivice to heart and did marry someone like that. She strove to obey God by being honest, admitting sin when it happened, humbling herself as her mother did and admitting her mistakes. She also strove to confront others of their sin to try and help them find repentance and a lasting and effective relationship with God. Some people responded with repentance and were benefited. Other times, she was met with anger from people who did not want to repent from practicing sin and they were in the churches being Christians in name only. She was hurt by them and persecuted at times, with cold shoulders, mean looks, and putting her in a bad light when talking about her behind her back, but she never let that stop her. 

After Grandma died, Grandpa lived another 8 years. My folks went to live near Grandpa is his later years. Mom followed in her mother's steps of being honest with her dad even if it meant his wrath. She knew his very salvation depended on it. Grandpa hated someone and he had hated them for years. Mom told him the truth that if he did not forgive this person, he would not be forgiven and he would not go to heaven, even though he was going to church and saying he was saved. In the last few months of Grandpa's life he let his hatred go and he found right relationship with God. Mom woke from a dream one morning that ended with "To be absent from the body, is to be present with the Lord" She jumped up to check on her dad and he had fallen outside on the lawn from stroke that took his life 2 days later.

So my mother's words in the dream that I spoke of at the beginning was from God. She said "They tried to pierce my hands for the sins of my father but I told them, 'No!' and I rose up out of that casket." It told me that the sins of her father, being a Christian in name only, is rendering a person ineffective by not having the power of the Holy Spirit in their life and a person has to say, No, to that and do what God commands, no matter the cost and they will have the power of the resurrected Lord in their life and because of that they will be in the resurrection unto eternal life and be with Him in heaven forever. 

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 16:25 

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