Last summer, I went to visit my family in Washington State. I was so excited to see them and spend time with them and for them to really get to know my husband. I guess I could say this was the first time with all of them since I really fully committed my life to the Lord and it would be the first time a lot of them got to meet Luis. I had high expectations. In my head I knew I was going to have the opportunity to show the love of the Lord to them. I knew that they were going to receive me and honor the changes the Lord had done in my heart.
Unfortunately, that's not quite how it went. I grew up in a family where everything is fair game for a joke nothing is sacred (We've been known to photo bomb babies). In my BC (before Christ/pre-saved) days I could find a dirty joke in just about anything. Well needless to say not much had changed in my family that summer. I felt so out of place and at times even uncomfortable. I left there feeling discouraged because I felt that I wasn't equipped or worthy enough to tell them about how God had changed me and could do so in them. Instead they thought the reason for my change was my husband. Instead of seeing that the Lord had changed me they thought I had conformed for him and his pleasing. I was sad and frustrated.
On the 31 hour drive back to Texas, I had a lot of time to think and reflect on what had happened. At one point Luis woke up from the passenger seat and realized I was driving in complete silence. He must have noticed the somber look on my face because he instantly asked what was wrong. I knew that wrong was not the right adjective here, because nothing was necessarily wrong. I thought about it for a second before I replied and then I said, “I feel like I'm in mourning."
It felt like I had lost someone that I once loved. I instantly realized that person was myself. The person I once was had died. She no longer existed (Galatians 2:20). I then began to mourn the relationships that she had. The ones with my family and friends that no longer could be the same. It's not that I no longer have good relationships with them or that they can't be even better someday but I know the type of relationships they used to be, no longer exist.
After I had shared this with Luis, I remembered that Jesus Himself was only accepted as a carpenter's son when He visited His home town and they refused to honor Him (Luke 4:16-30; John 4:44). The thing is that we aren't called to remain the same; we are called to be set apart and be transformed through a renewed mind (Romans 12:2).
Maybe you have been through something similar? Maybe you're going through that right now? Maybe you haven't experienced that yet, but you may in the future. If you're in the process of changing and transforming, don't be discouraged. For you are choosing to spiritually mature and put away childish things of your past as you spiritually mature (1 Corinthians 13:11).
1 Peter 4:3-5 puts it this way;
"You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy, their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols. Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you."
Sometimes it's harder said than done. Especially when it comes from your family. But try and remember that God comes first and His desire for us is that we love him above all (Matthew 10:37)
"But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator."
I leave you with this. Put off your old self and remember that person was crucified with Christ. You have been renewed and are transformed. You do not have to live or act as you used to. Get rid of the behaviors of you past and grow into the full experience of salvation (1 Peter 2:1-2)