I was 12 when my brother was born, and I moved by the time he was two. His father had been an abusive alcoholic (the reason I moved out) and my mother finally divorced him by the time he was in grade school. However, after a few years of living with my mom, he ended up living with his father by the time he was 11 or 12. My mother never continued a relationship with my brother after he left. I continued to reach out to him, and maintained a relationship with him. My husband and I would make a point to get him for a week each Summer. By the time he was in college, he announced that he was gay. I told him that I expected that, and it didn’t change my love for him.
On the heels of my baptism, right around the same time as my stand against my grandfather, my brother and I discovered we were living in the same city. We were super excited to meet up. I invited him to my son’s birthday party and he dropped by to get a hug, drop off a gift, and left me a letter to open later. This letter revealed that he was a practicing Wiccan. I spoke with him on the phone once or twice more, we had agreed to meet face to face, but he would only agree if it was at a Wiccan establishment. I declined, and he has never responded to any of my attempts over the last 10 years to reach out to him.
By 2003 my mom was still living in the garage apartment and began dating Jim . On the surface he seemed ok enough, he wasn’t abusive, and seemed to treat her well. I knew he read the Bible, and for years I would assume that he was a Christian. My mom started staying at Jim’s place more and more. Her father, and brother didn’t like this new guy at all, and the relationship between all of them began to deteriorate. Meanwhile, Jim allowed her to see her father through a different lens. The exposure of my grandfather’s offensive controlling behavior was hard for her to take. She had idolized her father, and in her 20’s had even legally changed her name to identify more closely with him. She became bitter, and avoided her childhood home at all cost. By 2004, my husband and I rented a U-haul and made the trip to pack up her things up, and move her belongings from the garage apartment to Jim’s place out of town.
Five years later, in 2009 I knew my grandfather was not doing well, and had been put in a nursing home. I pretty much thought my mom should make peace with her dad, and also should pay a visit to check on her disabled brother. He had been dealing with all of this on his own, with absolutely no skill or aptitude in knowing what steps to take. She did not want to go, but I persuaded her to make the trip with me and her grandbabies. Upon arriving, the house that I remembered looked run down, and sad. My uncle could not take care of it well, and he didn’t care nor have adequate funds to pay others to help. Many times over the years, I offered help to my uncle, but he always refused. It was clear that my uncle didn’t like me, and he certainly didn’t trust me because he had been victim of a father of lies and cruelty. I would continually defend him and his situation to my mom who couldn’t say a nice word about the brother she once loved. My uncle didn’t know better, he wasn’t wise to the world, he lived in a protected bubble of his childhood room. His life was lived by osmosis with fantasy lived through books, music, and video games. My mother refused to make peace, or say goodbye to her father in the nursing home. Within a month of our visit, my grandfather would die, and I would be notified of this news via Facebook. I reached out to my uncle, and he refused any help and chose to keep matters to himself. There would be no funeral for my grandfather.
Over the next several years my mom and I had some great times together. She and Jim would house and dog sit when we went on vacations, she would come visit just because, and enjoyed meeting us in the Texas hill country as often as possible. She taught her grandkids to sew, and spent lots of quality time outside sharing her love of nature with us. For years my husband and I had helped her financially and did not consider it a burden, but a gift we willingly gave. After many years of living together, my mother and Jim married. I watched him read the Bible and never had too much in-depth conversation.
By December of 2013 my mom revealed to me that she was following a cult. Of course, that is not what she called it, but after some research, lots of prayers ,and taking note of her words, actions, and attitudes it became apparent. By Easter of 2013 we pretty much stopped talking. In that last conversation, I began to cry and she did not. I quickly realized she was well rehearsed and ready for this expected interaction with me. She asked why I was crying, and I told her that her actions had eternal consequences. My heart broke that day, and when I realized how far gone she was, the Holy Spirit came over me like I experienced with my grandfather all those years before. My tears dried up. I had a boldness and strength to tell her that there was nothing she could say, or do would make me deny my faith in Jesus Christ. My husband and I would not tolerate her or Jim trying to influence us with their false prophet’s teachings. I told her I loved her, and that I would be praying for her.
John 14: 6 “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”
Back to November 9, 2014, and I see this hospital pic posted by my uncle from the previous day. I called my mom, and she knew nothing. Yes, she had seen the post and thought he was just seeking attention, and she wasn’t biting. My next call was to a cell number I had, and sure enough my uncle answered. He quickly handed the phone to a nurse and she informed me that he was being prepped for transport from his hometown to the Houston med center by air ambulance. After many moves to various places, my husband and I now live in a suburb of Houston. Some may say this was just a convenience, by luck, coincidence, or fate, but I believe God had me move here for such a season as this.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”