by Janet Lynn Garcia
We just returned from a ten-day vacation and headed on America’s freeways to Chicago, IL. It had been four years since my family and I hopped in our van and traveled north. Since serving in the United States Marine Corps we have been on quite a journey, we moving from the west coast to the east coast and settled in this beautiful area. There was a time we traveled for four consecutive years with my small children in tow to go and visit my family and friends. However, the traveling began to take a toll. I decided to take a travel strike. I told my immediate family, “I would not travel north until someone came to visit us.” Low and behold, it was Thanksgiving and I had eighteen people in our new home visiting from far off areas such as Connecticut and Buffalo. I was so blessed by there visit some of us hadn’t seen each other in twelve years. So here we are eight months later on the road again. Only this time the number one priority for this visit North was to go and see my mother in a mental assisted living nursing home. The last several years her health has been deteriorating and I wanted to go and see her. She suffered from a very hard life and the effects of her addictions have landed her in these types of facilities. It is one of the hardest things to deal with a distance.
MIRACLES SOMETIMES ARE UNEXPECTED
Despite the distance and the past, I witnessed miracle, signs, and wonders. We want some type of big bang fire fall from heaven and lick up everything at the altar like the Prophet Elijah at Mount Carmel. However, I witnessed an unexpected miracle to see my parents back together. What I witnessed was love, grace, and mercy in action. My father moved to VA from IL three years ago and he took this trip with us. I have never spent more than several hours with them together. For two different days, we took her out of the facility to take her out to eat, shopping, take her to a hair salon, and visit with family. During this visit, I was able to witness love, grace, and mercy in action.
On another visit, we took her out for ice cream and a visit to a local park quarry. It was at the park my mother tells me how sorry she was for the pain she caused me from her neglect and abandonment. With joy in my heart, I told her, “Jesus has healed my heart and I am free”. I encouraged her I have forgiven her for all those years of pain. The sad part is does she know this? Does the person who has remorse know they are forgiven by the other person? She didn’t know and maybe she didn’t remember. I was able to lay hands on my mother to pray for her. It was her turn to release people who had hurt her. I explained she could be free from her past. We prayed a simple prayer of forgiveness and I know the Lord touched her heart.
IN THIS MOMENT
I realized the love of Jesus is NOW, people need the NOW love and NOW forgiveness.
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” 1 Peter 4:8. This reminds me of the story of the Tower of Babel. What are we doing? What tower are we building in pride and selfishness? What tower are we building because we are not paying attention to the Lord’s commands and seeking our own? In the account of the Tower of Babel, “Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth” Genesis 11:1-9.
In this biblical historical true story, we know the people possessed one language but today though we have nations of various tongues we know the universal language of the earth despite differences in language and nationalities is love. It is so true we must love all people and show mercy this is what people hunger for and cry out for. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” John 15:12.
I can love my past now only for the simple fact that it has brought people back into my life because I chose to. Looking back at my life when I thought I was alone, I really wasn’t. People will see more in you than you could ever see for yourself. I think that is amazing. Finally, you can see it and believe but the Lord calls us to believe without seeing. When I was lost now I am found and now called for such a time as this I can help people be drawn to the ultimate love of Christ. The unconditional, agape love can flow through us as the conduits He chooses to send.
Now I know how much family I have. When I was abandoned by one parent the Lord turned it all around now I have my immediate family, my husband and children, my in-law family, my stepfamily, my foster family and coming back home we return to our church family. Though some of us live far from us and it’s hard to love physically but I know despite difference we do love one another we just can’t show it with time spent together.
We need to look around. So many people are hurt from the past, hurt from words or actions and my heart cries out for humility and forgiveness. The saying goes, “Time heals all wounds”. No, it doesn’t it only divides and every day that goes by we lose precious time we don’t have to waste. This makes me think of the prayers Jesus prayed to the Lord before He went to the cross in John 17 starting at verse 20. He prayed for you “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” We know first God gave us His Son the Savior of the world and now He asks us to love and be peacemakers in this world. Believers, labor into the harvest the Lord sends you to go in love. Go and Love! Love unconditionally, love your neighbor, love your family despite former differences, love despite the past words or actions. Love, send forth love.