Faith and Family

My mum’s coming to visit tomorrow.  I’m excited – but nervous too. I love my mum. I wouldn’t change her. Except for one thing: I wish, I wish that she was a Christian.

I became a Christian when I was 13.  It was a choice that placed me subtly, but firmly, outside of an uncomplicated family affinity. My parents, though sympathetic, were uncomprehending. And it changed our relationship and the way in which I viewed the world.  It called into question values that I had previously taken for granted.  And it raised (and answered) mysteries that even my Dad couldn’t solve.  Sin.  Death. Creation.

Up until then, my parents had all the answers.  But from this point, there was a kind of reversal, which is working itself out even today.  I’d met Jesus: the One for whom and through whom, the world and everything in it, was created.  For me, the universe was utterly changed; but for them, it stayed the same.  Despite my clumsy attempts at evangelism, they couldn’t see it. And I couldn’t go back.  We still loved each other with every fibre, but there was a gap I couldn’t bridge.

I long for my parents and my siblings to know the Lord.  I fear for them under His judgement and I yearn for them to experience His love.  We’re knit from the same stuff: they’re me – and without grace, I am lost.

My husband’s a full-time evangelist: but I still don’t know what Evangelism should look like and especially how one does it to one’s family.  This is the woman who fed me and taught me and changed my nappies.  Now I’m telling her that she’s got life seriously wrong.  These words carry the weight of Scripture as well as personal conviction, but that doesn’t make them any easier to say. Especially if I see conversion as my job: or evangelism as a matter of shouting ‘Turn or burn!’ before retreating for cover. No: sharing Jesus is sharing life – talking to mum about the gospel, but modelling it too.  Not as  the epitome of domesticity or morality, nor as the perfect daughter.  But as me: messy and flawed but known and loved by the Lord of the universe. The Lord who longs to know her too, as His daughter. And who loves her a million times more than I ever can.

That’s my Lord: my prayer is that He will be her Lord too.

6 thoughts on “Faith and Family

  1. I know what that is like. I became a Christian at 16 – and it really did change the dynamics in the family. As the only Christian in the family I felt such a pressure to evangelise to them – and then beat myself up for doing a rubbish job of it when none of them seemed to be interested! I eventually realised my example would speak far louder than words to them – so gave up trying to convert and tried to live out the Christian life as best I could. It’s a tough situation to be in isn’t it. My mum died a year ago – and although I have no idea where she stood with Christ – it gave me hope seeing one of my old Bibles in a draw in the lounge along with her crossword book (that she did every day!) Who knows.

  2. hi
    emma , i do long this for my mum and my family
    nice to read this . This is how I feel , you just put words to my feeling and prayer
    asha ( hope you remember me SGP )

  3. Hi Jo: this describes exactly how I felt growing up – like it was my job to convert them and I was rubbish at it! But as you’ve also pointed out, none of us know each other’s hearts – we pray and we speak and we try to live out our faith, but it’s God’s work. x

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