Tuesday, March 28, 2006

There Are Still Some Issues

So yesterday I wrote a letter to my aunt. For those who do not know about my aunt, this was not an easy task. My aunt used to live in San Antonio, babysat me and my brother when we were little, made the most amazing spagetti ever, and pretty much was the coolest person in my 5 year old eyes. At a young age I learned what it meant for people to disappoint you. You see, my aunt is a drug addict. She got into drugs at a young age (about the time she had run away from home at the age of 16), and she progressively stepped up the addictive ladder. By the time the family found out, our world was shattered. Her drug of choice became heroine- in any form that she could get her hands on. She did the whole rehab center and halfway house hopping, tried to get clean countless times. I will never forget the night my dad had to go pick her up at a 7eleven because she was high and had climbed out of the window of my Uncle Mike's apartment. Or the day we met her in the parking lot behind our church so that she could "hand over" her son to my parents for temporary custody. Or the time she checked herself into the rehab center at the hospital- she was in the midst of detoxing and I clearly remember her screaming at us from the elevator that we didn't love her and that she hated us. Through her life of drugs came other addictions and other dark places. Dealing, prostitution, homelessness, alcohol, stealing, etc. There are other stories, but I think you get the picture.

My aunt is currently serving a prison sentence for assault with intent to harm- a drug deal lure gone wrong. Our fears and worries were over- we at least know where she is and that she is safe (relatively speaking). Last year, God had placed it on my heart to begin writing to her. It took me awhile to actually obey that call. This is a woman who had literally torn our family apart, disrupted the lives of my immediate family, the woman whom I had not spoken to in several years. As hard as it was, I felt it was time she knew who I was, knew the person that I had become. So I did it- I wrote to her and I immediately received a letter back. It was such an amazing blessing! God had answered prayers of forgiveness and had begun the process of restoration. At least it seemed that way until I received her second letter. She said some pretty hateful, assuming, and untrue things that really made me angry.

Don't get me wrong, I have forgiven my aunt. Through the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, God has helped me forgive her. But after she wrote that second letter, I just couldn't write her back right away. I was too angry. I did not realize how much I had still stored away in my heart. And it's not even things she did to me. I can get over that. It's the things she did to everyone, the pain I watched my family go through, the tears I watched my mom cry. All of that just for her to blame the family for her actions. I was livid when I read those words. To make matters worse, she proceeded to tell me that I needed to learn to think for myself, not believe everything I hear, decide for myself. Who the heck was she to tell me what to do? And where did she get off assuming things about me? The woman doesn't even know me!

She wrote the letter back in early August. I finally wrote her back yesterday. I needed the time to cool off, to pray, and figure out how I was going to still show the love of Christ to her. Because, as God so kindly reminded me, that is the reason He asked me to start writing her in the first place. So yesterday was a bit of an emotional roller coaster. All over a silly 3-page letter. But God is faithful. God knows my heart. God will be the judge. God will work things out. God will be the one to stir her heart, not Erin. God will be the one to transform her life, not Erin's words. I need only to obey and do the best I can to show her the love that Christ has shown me. Because really...we're both the same. My sin is just as ugly and disgraceful as hers. God wants to love us the same. Hearing those words from God yesterday was hard. Talk about addressing some pride issues. So as of now, I continue praying, continue trusting, continue sharing my walk with her, continue writing...

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