Jan 18, 2010

where the rubber meets the road...

This is a saying well known in the Akron, Ohio area, the former rubber capitol of the world, and one that is still used in everyday conversation. It came from an old TV commercial first used back in the 1960's by The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. It was a jingle that went like this:

"Where ever wheels are rolling,
no matter what the load,
the name that's known is Firestone,
where the rubber meets the road."

In everyday usage, the phrase "where the rubber meets the road" has come to describe the gravity of a situation or the fact that there is no getting around a circumstance. In other words, something like "this is reality".

That is how I'm feeling today about the extended family situation that has pained me. There is no getting around what is happening. I can't pretend this is all going to go away anytime soon.

I'm taking a leap of faith here that I will not be judged too harshly by my friends in the blogosphere because of my beliefs. I know many of you are like-minded sisters in Christ and will stand by me. But I'm opening up because I really do need your prayers.

The facts are these: I have a 29 year old niece who has been living a lesbian lifestyle. Both she and her girlfriend are really very nice people, and fun to be around. I don't dislike them at all. I just dislike what they are doing. It would pain me enough if they just kept their lifestyle to themselves, but they are intent on being very in-your-face about it all. They have taken it to levels that is, for me, quite beyond belief.

So, this Saturday they are planning to go to Mexico where they can "legally" be "married". They've been publishing this on Facebook for quite some time now, yet no one bothered to sit down with my almost 81 year old mother to talk to her personally about this. Instead she, like the rest of the family, has received a printed invitation to a reception to celebrate their "union". May I say this really appalls me?

There has been a "bridal" shower given to my niece by her friends at work. I saw something about a "bachelorette" party. She's posted about her "wedding" dress.

If that weren't enough, they have already been to a lawyer to start procedures that will legally combine their surnames, which in effect corrupts my family name. It is not a given that this will actually happen, being as gay "marriage" is still illegal in Ohio.

Then there is the talk about someday having "cute lezzie kids". I have no idea if this is serious talk or not. But it wouldn't surprise me. So will there be baby showers and the like? Where does this all lead?

Now, I'm not opposed to love, happiness, and all of that. And please no speeches about this kind of thing is happening more and more and is becoming more accepted.

And all of you who have an understanding of where I'm coming from on this already know WHY I believe the way I do. I am a Bible-believing Christian who understands that marriage is a holy union that was ordained by God to be between one man and one woman, for life. Have many of us failed to achieve this standard? You bet. Are we forgiven, restored? Absolutely, many of us are, when we have turned our hearts to the cross and received wholeness in Christ. When we finally give up our self-serving attitudes and realize we do not exist to live to ourselves but for the One who died to save us from our sins.

I'm not writing here to expound on all the reasons why I believe gay "marriage" is wrong. I believe it is self-evident. But I am writing because I need to be honest with myself about what is happening in my family.

My son, who is a pastor, has told me not to take a victim's attitude. In other words, I do not need to hang my head in shame over what someone close to me has chosen to do. The only attitude that is appropriate for me to have is one of a broken spirit, remembering my own sins, and trying to show Christ's love in my dealings with them.

These two young women are not open to hearing about how what they are doing is dangerously against God's law. I would be wasting my breath and creating further distance in our relationships to try to talk to them about that.

Some of my family members are already making preparations to attend the reception. My conscience will not allow me to attend. I cannot celebrate something that I totally do not believe in. I'm feeling somewhat like I'm standing alone on an issue that should be such a no-brainer to my family. This has me a little confused, and dismayed.

I pray that I will not compromise on my beliefs, yet I also pray that I will not compromise on what is required of me in spite of my obvious dismay over the situation. I am commanded to love. Please pray for me, that I can show love. That's really where the rubber meets the road.

"Be holy, because I am holy." I Peter 1:16

"...as I have loved you, you must love one another..." John 13:34


Shirl said...

I know you must be in so much pain and turmoil. There is the side of you that loves family, but there is that within you that knows the choices they are making are not God's best and that with choices of that sort come consequences. It is God they are disobeying. There is a reason He calls it abominable behavior. Even so...in spite of their blatant disobedience, He still loves them and expects no less of us. However, there is a difference between loving someone and actively supporting their behavior. If someone we loved was having an affair, I don't believe we would drive them to the hotel where they were going to meet their lover, would we?

It's a difficult situation to be in...to love the person but not the sin. And, we have to remember that all sin, including our own, is equal in the eyes of God--it is all about disobedience to Him and what He declares to be best for us. That puts all of us on a pretty level playing field I think.

Hugs to you. Blessings to you. God's peace and strength to you!

Jacquelyn said...

Shirley, thank you so much for this thoughtful comment. (I'm typing through some tears here)
You said it all so much better than I could. I will read what you said over and over. You are so right. Bless you.

Jess said...

Oh Jacque,
Bless you for sharing something so very personal and painful.
I think the above comment from Shirl addresses the sin issue so well.
And the fact that your Pastor son encouraged you not to be the victim is true insight. And your response is precious.
In my case, I have a sibling that is transgender and I have seen the pain caused by that decision,and how it's affected the different members of my family. Those of us who have committed to loving "her" and praying for God's intervention and blessing in "her" life have been so much healthier. My mother on the other hand, always saw my sibling's actions as an affront to her. Instead of discerning that this deception and rebellion was between my sibling and God, my Mom took it personally. I understand how easily that happens, but it not only caused her to say mean things, but it ate her up emotionally.
I'm not insinuating that you are in a similar position, only reflecting on the variety of responses I've seen to the decisions of loved ones.
No, don't ever compromise on the truth, God's commands. Grieve that your niece is so deceived and is bolstered by a culture that has no moral compass. But ask God for ways to show love to your niece because indeed she IS loved by God and He longs to reach her through those who know Him.
There is a reason that "LOVE covers a multitude of sins."
LOVE is God's motivation for salvation.
May HE inspire you with loving ideas to navigate this whole mess and with the faith to believe that HE can bring good out of evil and deliverance out of rebellion.
Love you.

Rebecca said...

Having just studied the holiness of God in prep. for teaching Sunday School this past Sunday, my heart is even more pained to read about your situation. Oh, how the heart of God must break - and ours along with His. What a dangerous place to be in - such a public and deliberate decision to sin. I AM praying for you and many others who are affected by this situation.

(It was good to read your insights and synonym for "passion" just a minute ago. I definitely recommend a rebounder. I "luckily" found mine at a thrift store for $5! I've already gotten at least 10x the cost out of it.)

Jacquelyn said...

Jess, today is a day I had marked "MARGIN" on my calendar because I'm not babysitting and no errands for mom to do till tomorrow. My plans were to catch up around the house and some other things. But obviously God had other plans. He intended my faithful blogger friends to minister to my heart today. He is SO GOOD! Thank you for what you shared. I can't even imagine. But I can see the wisdom of what Andy told me, not to respond as "the victim". That alone will allow for a more loving response. I'm so sorry for how hard your situation was for your mother. How wise for you to share that outcome with me. If only we could always see others through the eyes of God! We must remember that He sees us through the lens of the cross, so we need to extend that kind of love to others.

I know your surgery is on Wednesday and you are not far from my thoughts and are in my prayers. I will be most anxious to hear how you are doing, precious friend!

Jacquelyn said...

Rebecca, thank you. I knew I could count on kind, supportive words from you. Our sermon yesterday was also on God's holiness, which I think bolstered me to write the post. Here I stand. I can do no other!

But to feel the love of the family of God around me is so precious...my own family is just entirely too close to the situation for now. It's like the proverbial elephant in the room. No one wants to talk about it!

I don't know if I ever wished you happy birthday at Christmas with all that was going on over here, but I was thinking of you! So are you, ahem, 61? I will be this month!

Jess said...

"Through the eyes of God" and with your very thoughtful heart, you WILL make a positive difference in your loved ones'lives.
Sometimes it is easy to confuse anger at sin and selfishness with anger at those who are causing us pain.
Here are some other lessons I've learned: Often our anger and frustration stem from fear of the pain they are bringing on themselves.
Concentrate on what is good, continually build bridges while maintaining healthy boundaries (a challenge).
Do everything IN Love and others will see Jesus in you.
Thank you for your prayers sweet friend.

Jacquelyn said...

Jess, thanks again. You have traveled a much more difficult road than I have and I know I'm going to be counting on you in the days ahead to give me Godly advice, as you said, in building bridges while keeping healthy boundaries. For right now, a specific prayer request would be for guidance as I write my brother and sis-in-law a note to tell them we aren't attending, as well as my niece and her girlfriend. THANKS

Wanda said...

What would you do if it were your child or grandchild...make the decision based on that, as well as God!

Rose said...

Jacquelyn, your story is brutally honest and I know it must have caused you considerable pain to write it out there for the whole world to see.
I am going old school here with my comment. There was a time when unacceptable behavior (whatever went against a persons beliefs and standards) was not tolerated in the home and those who would not abide by it were not welcomed until it changed.
Somewhere in all this PC mess everyone has relaxed their standards but one....GOD. It doesn't mean you don't love the person, it just means you stand for what you believe in.
We have a dear friend whose sister choose to have an affair, left her husband (a very godly young man) and is now living with the lover. Her brother, our friend, has banned her from his home. It pains him deeply but he said he would not condone or give approval for what she has done because it is a sin and he is not OK with it.
I am with you on not attending because it lends support to something you don't believe is morally right. Light has no fellowship with darkness. Love her, pray for her but don't compromise your beliefs.
You are right, this is where the rubber meets the road.

The Cordial Churchman said...


Praying for you.

I think there's another angle to all this that might help us think and pray and act appropriately. She's not just in the "family" category; she's in the "non-Christian" category.

I was just talking with a friend yesterday who said he had to confront his sister about her sleeping with her boyfriend. He told her that he didn't approve, and that he wouldn't perform their wedding for them when he gets ordained. They needed, he insisted, to join a church and quit sleeping together.

In this instance, I think my friend is treating his sister only like a sister, and not like a non-Christian (which she seems to be). We have to think through what it means for people to be apart from Christ, his promises, his hope, his church, and all the rest. And then I think we have to remember to reckon such folks not so much as family members who have been black sheep, but as those who don't know what it's like to have the grip of grace upon them.

Viewing things this way doesn't make it easier, though.

Love you,

Jacquelyn said...

Actually Andy, viewing it the way you said, as folks who have not known the grip of grace on their lives, does help me feel more compassion. (Yes! GRACE! remember GRACE!) I have long said we can't expect non-believers to act how we expect believers to act. I'm considering writing a "feel-felt-found" letter: "I think I can understand how you feel...I once felt that way too...I have found..." Perhaps even going so far as revealing some of my own sinful past, and what I came to learn. I love what my friend Shirley has said here "in spite of their blatant disobedience, He still loves them and expects no less of us." The biggest miracle in all of this would be for me to rid me of myself and truly love them with the eyes of God. Thanks so much for your continued perspective. I really appreciate it.

Jacquelyn said...

Wanda, it would be heartbreaking, but I know a mother's love or grandmother's love would still be there. I really appreciate that you and my other blogging friends are helping me work through this. It is such a process, and I do think I'm making progress every day.

Jacquelyn said...

Rose, we really think so much alike! Man has always had a rebellious nature, but all these PC excuses are just too much. You are so right in saying God has not relaxed His standards.

I'm beginning to see that He wants to transform ME through this situation, since most likely it is not going to go away.

He definitely is working on me, and for that I am thankful