A Battle Within – Turning Generational Curses Into Blessings…

by Michelle Acker on May 26, 2013

in Living is Learning

Welcome friends, both new and old!

Today I’m hosting Chapter 4 of our Online Book Study for Jan Greenwood’s fabulous new book: Women at War.

 

There are parts of life we just don’t like to face, or talk about.
Struggling in our relationships with friends or family is definitely one of those touchy areas where it would be easier to pretend that everything is rosy and not admit that hurt can exist between loved ones.

Sometimes it seems as though the worst battlefields
are within our own families.
~Jan Greenwood

If fact, I’ll be open and honest and admit that I completely balked at this topic from the very beginning of chapter 4.   “A battle with family?  I don’t have that issue, my parents and siblings are fantastic.  I even love my Mother – in-law!! What can I possibly learn from this chapter?”  

All apologies, Jan, but I wouldn’t have kept reading this chapter if I hadn’t volunteered to host the study this week, because the topic was both too painful and seemingly didn’t apply to me.

And you know what?  I would have been missing out.  Because by the end of the chapter, God had held my hand and opened my eyes to the struggles that really ARE present in my family. There has been a battle within, a struggle going on.  And it still exists today. On both sides of my family.

Women at War chapter 4

The contrast of Jan’s story going from ignoring the painful hurts in her life as a young woman, to confronting them and talking them through with her mother really touched a cord in me.

I want to wake up and recognize these generational patterns as well!

Jan goes on to say:

 “Once we recognized these patterns in our family line, we realized we could change them.  We had the power within ourselves to alter the course of our future.

The memories you have of how your family relates and the patterns of how they interact with one another is like a massive, deep river.  Your history can be a current of blessings or of curses.  

Either way, it has tremendous momentum.    

The only way to change the flow from curse to blessing is to build a dam that intersects the momentum and redirect its course.  The first person in a family line to do so will experience a tremendous amount of pressure.”          

This is where the study clicked for me.  I don’t have these issues directly. My parents, as I said, are fantastic.  I don’t have these same struggles, because Mom and Dad are both are first generation dam builders.  They have redirected my legacy in a way that I can never truly fathom, appreciate, or thank them for.  I can see everything I work for, stand for, and believe in, now comes directly as a result of those dams they’ve built.  My life could have gone a completely different direction if they hadn’t stood up to make a change, to fight for a different legacy.  Thank you, mom.  Thank you, dad.  I love you with all of my heart, and I’ll do my best to carry on your legacies.  Thank you for withstanding the tremendous amount of pressure it takes to make a positive change!

YOU can be the first person to change the tide of war within your own family.  Step into the river.  Stand in the gap.  Yield to forgiveness.  Fight for the truth.    ~Jan Greenwood

And if you’re like me, a second generation builder, you can have their back.  Support them.  Step into the river behind them.  Pray, pray, pray for them. Join the fight, and continue the path to a legacy of blessing that they’ve started to carve out for you and your children!

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What generational patterns have you observed in your own family?

  2. Ask God to help you identify some relationships in your family that might need some healing.  How are you involved in those relationships?  Are there some ways you might be able to begin to turn the tide in your own family?

  3. “You can be the first person to change the tide of war within your own family….”  Will you decide today to be that person in your family? What relationships can you take steps to repair that could have a long term and multi-generational impact?

 

Join us next week for Chapter 5, when we’ll be over at Mandy Scarr’s blog:  MandyScarr.com.   See you there!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Ellie May 27, 2013 at 10:42 AM

I just sit and think of my initial impression of the title of this book, thinking how women are fighting for our freedoms in military. How ironic is it that today is a day of remembrance for all those that have gone before us and some have died in battle defending and protecting our freedoms. And then now, we are discussing generational issue. God is good.

My ears were stung and my heart was pierced when I read the words … “But when the most painful people in our lives are close to us, we can’t just walk away if we don’t like them or if we’ve been hurt by them. Sometimes it seems as though the worst battlefields are within our own families.” How very true is this statement. I do believe we have a choice to walk away when we have given our every effort to stand up for what we believe is right especially when our hearts belong to Christ and we are seeking Him for direction and guidance. When we have asked for forgiveness and have acknowledged our own sin yet are still persecuted at every twist and turn, forgiveness is not granted from the other person or even acknowledge for that matter. I do not believe that Christ would have us be a door mat and continue to settle for anything or anyone less than His best. It is in these toxic relationships, we must press deeper into the Lord and have Him guide us in the direction to go. The truth is what makes us free and removes the bondage of generational curses. I like to say, if you make me pick, you will lose me. Love does cover a multitude of sins however it is neither blind nor dumb.

Kristin May 27, 2013 at 6:06 PM

I so appreciated this chapter. I feel like I need to read it a few more times. I am a second generation tide turner as well Michelle but there are also issues in my family that I hope to be a first generation dam builder for. If we are all honest we really need to work on our communication and letting go and forgiving past hurts. I have had to step up and start the process in some ways because hurt people hurt people and I have been hurt as a result of other family members past hurts. Realizing that those who have hurt me are walking wounded helps me to have so much grace for them though.

Jan Greenwood May 28, 2013 at 6:52 AM

Hello friends,

Michelle – thanks so much for hosting this week’s study. I can really appreciate the initial hesitation over this chapter and I thank God for the turning of the tide in my own family and in yours. Unfortunately, for many they have not yet experienced the transition in perspective or pain that we are talking about. I hope this discussion helps to create a ray of hope for those who might be experiencing “the battle within.”

Ellie – I appreciate you bringing up this issue of walking away. I would not encourage people to just keep coming back and “taking it on the chin.” There are clearly times when disengagement is the best strategy. It seems to me there are two extremes. Some people walk away too easily – unwilling to fight for a generational blessing that could be theirs. Others are so trapped in a cycle of dysfunction that they don’t know when to draw a line in the sand and find themselves continually experiencing the pain and devastation of negative family dynamics. I guess I’m hoping for some wisdom and strength to set healthy boundaries and that by exposing some of our patterns and ways of thinking, we can begin to find both boundaries and grace.

Kristin – you are a wise woman. How true it is that we hurt one another out of our own hurts. This is why we must do the work of forgiveness and restoration in our own hearts before we can expect to see change in the hearts of those around us. Someone always goes first. I hope I have the strength and the maturity to be willing to step out and change the tide.

Ellie May 28, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Jan,
This chapter really hit home for me. It is something that has been heavy on my heart for two years now. There have been so many countless hours I have spent at the feet of Jesus in prayer over this very subject. In times past I was always taught “If I didn’t know what to do -do nothing”, so for many years I was trapped in the dysfunctional way of thinking. Wondering around in my earthly Egypt thinking when would I escape. I just praise The Lord here because he has taught me in this journey that I needed to cross over into the promise land and walk in victory.

The instant that I did that – I could feel all the bondage and hurt disappear an instantly Jesus healed those deeply embedded wounds.

And I thank you deeply for addressing this issue.

Ami Evans May 28, 2013 at 1:06 PM

I think it is important to address the issue of fear when we discuss generation sin and patterns. How many of us walk around in the mine fields, hoping nothing blows in our families? The enemy wants us to believe it is better to keep our hurts to ourselves, because he knows healing and intimacy will occur in our relationships. He even twists Gods word about being peace makers to peace keepers. We have to expose him and claim peace in our families, sometimes with confrontation. As Jan mentioned, her and her mothers relationship became more intimate and love was expressed. I always like to use the word carefrontation to highlight the positive outcome, instead of the fearful outcome. What I appreciate about carefrontation is we usually discover a clearer perspective of what occurred and we get rid of the assumption thinking about a persons motives, which is where the pain survives. Prayer to discern if and how to confront is vital. We can trust
Him to guide the way.

Kristin May 29, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Yes Ami, this is SO true! I love the way you describe it and your word carefrontation. 🙂

Thank you for sharing!
Blessings,
Kristin

Tomi Jarrellt May 29, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Fear isolates. Growing up, I observed the impact of fear and the way it isolated hearts, lives, friendships and even marriages; the greatest fear of knowing and being known, and yet that is the greatest longing of our heart, to know and be known. I was so impacted by this way of life that I remember the moment in time when the door to my heart was shut and I allowed my fears to isolate me against both men and women. A young man who captured my heart helped me to get past my fears and was willing to know me and love me inspite of all that I was (a total mess!!). He became Jesus with some skin on for me to learn to trust, love and be loved by.

As time marched on, I have had some of the most precious and awe inspiring friendships, women who have believed in me, challenged me, encouraged me and created hope in me. Some friendships have lasted the years, some are new and fresh but either way they have all challenged me to set aside my fears and allow my heart to embrace our differences as well as our sameness!! I love that my girlfriends are all on the same page with me as we challenge each other to dig deep into God, cultivate strength in our marriages, and encourage each other to take some beautiful risks in our parenting, ministires and personal lives.

My family still walks in a measure of dysfunction, but I have learned the power of boundaries, the strength of agreement (with my husband & with the Word) when the decision is hard and the hope that comes with love to believe the best about someone in spite of what you see. Even though there are some relationships that may never change this side of Heaven and others might only change through prayer, my girls have watched me walk out forgiveness, love and hope no matter what the end results and are learning it is okay to cry, to feel, to hope and to forgive, all as a part of the process of having any kind of relationship, even their relationship with God!!

Kristin May 29, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Tomi,

Love this:
“my girls have watched me walk out forgiveness, love and hope no matter what the end results and are learning it is okay to cry, to feel, to hope and to forgive, all as a part of the process of having any kind of relationship, even their relationship with God!!”

So good and so true!!

Blessings, Kristin

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