Breaking Promises

When we make a promise with someone, we do everything in our power to keep that promise, don’t we? And if we or the other individual break the promise, it is hard to forgive the other person. Right? Have you ever thought about the different promises we make throughout our lives? Marriage, Baptism, Finishing school, etc? But the reality is that often in our society, we break promises! People get divorced etc.

At the last congregation I served, one of the biggest blessings I got to see was in our Confirmation program. In their 8th grade year, they came with a parent. Parent and child were learners together. We had divorced families that would come together for that one hour a week. They would put aside their differences to bless the child. It was an incredible thing to watch. But I know this not the norm.

In fact, more children than not are in split households. I am one of those children. My parents divorced my sophomore year of high school; my sister’s 7th grade year. It was not easy for either of us, but it was particularly hard for my sister who was in Jr. High at the time. I can remember that day as vividly as it was yesterday. I know it took a lot of guts for our dad to say the words he did to us. That night, tears streaming down his face, he said “I am divorcing your mom. It is not that I don’t love your Mom anymore. It is that I cannot handle this illness anymore.” It was hard to hear those words, but I also know how much truth there was in those words as well. They were words of God’s grace given to us that day and that day those words of God’s grace tasted more bitter than sweet.

After the divorce, it was sometimes hard to find God’s grace in the midst of it. It was one of those times I questioned God “Why our family?” Yet looking back now, I see God’s grace scattered throughout that season of our lives. God’s grace came in our church family who often provided for Mom when she couldn’t always provide for herself. God’s grace came in our family who continually surrounded us in their love. God’s grace came in a little house for Mom so she could still live in our hometown. God’s grace came in spending time with Mom every Wednesday, every other weekend, and one entire month in the summer.

There was a time immediately after the divorce when Mom went back to Nebraska to live with her parents. At the time, I think she felt that was the best move for her, but in the end, she moved back. It was too far away from her girls (my sister and I). Having her in our community was a huge blessing too. When I was busy with school stuff and Dad was farming, my sister often would go hang out at Mom’s house because she did not want to be home alone. As I look back, I know that was God’s grace for my sister.

God’s grace continually surrounded all of us during this time. I remember a time when Mom was living in the house by herself and she didn’t have us for the weekend. She went to bed and apparently forgot to lock the door which in a small town isn’t a huge deal. Yet while she was sleeping, a drunk man walked right into the house. Luckily she wasn’t hurt or anything, but I know she had the living daylights scared out of her. I would have had them scared out of me too!!! Indeed God’s grace was sufficient and kept Mom safe that night.

God calls us to keep the promises we make. Yet the reality is that we are going to break promises in our lives. But the truth is, that even when we break those promises whether it be through divorce or whatever, God’s daily grace is sufficient for us all. God’s power is made perfect through our weaknesses.