Peace in the family at the cost of peace in her heart

familySometimes the journey of walking with the Lord is not always a straight or smooth path. And when the difficult choices affect our children and other family members, we often find ourselves agonizing over the best way forward. Marthe,* a Creole woman in Haiti, shared a part of her journey with us.

Marthe had come to understand the gospel many years previously. But she had little support for her faith. Her husband belonged to a Christian cult; her parents and other relatives were entrenched in a different belief system that was not welcoming toward the biblical worldview.

Each choice she tried to make in following the Lord brought criticism and a great deal of pressure from those she loved. After a while, it seemed easier for her to simply keep the peace and “not stir the waters to change things.” So, for several years, Marthe shoved her Christian beliefs to one side to remove the conflict from her life. But while her relationships within her family eased, her heart was not at peace.

As Marthe’s three sons grew and learned more about life, Marthe began to find herself reawakening to the gospel message. She saw that in her efforts to keep conflict out of her life, her boys were growing up ignorant of the life-saving message of the Bible.

She began to study her Bible more and asked the Lord to guide her about what she should do.

The next day her devotions were entitled “Pleasing God,” based on Galatians 1:10 (ESV): “For am I now seeking the approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men? For if I were still trying to please men, I would not be the servant of Christ.”

“When I saw this, I took it as the sign and the assurance I was looking for,” Marthe shared, “and I decided that I wanted to please God.”

When Marthe shared with her husband her desire to please God, he was open to her wishes. He told her that, whether she wanted to stay with her family’s traditions or make the change to follow God, he would support her choice. The decision was entirely up to her.

Marthe knew her change in heart would result in upheaval for her children, as it would affect which courses they took in school, where they went to church, the traditions they followed and what milestones and holidays they celebrated. Marthe knew her sons needed to somehow understand her beliefs, since those beliefs would bring about life-altering changes to their own lives and likely result in conflict with their extended family.

A friend had given Marthe a copy of L’Agneau (The Lamb in French). She saw that it contained a clear gospel explanation so, over the course of the next 10 days, she began reading one chapter of the book with her sons each night.

“Sometimes, I read and other days I let the CD play and I asked the questions at the end. They liked it and even asked if I had other books like it when we got to chapter 10.” The truths laid out in the book became the basis for talking about the departure their mother wanted to make from their previous religious practices.

The Lord worked in her children’s hearts and they agreed to go along with their mom on this new path she was taking.

Communicating her decision with her mother was as difficult as she thought it would be. Her mother didn’t understand Marthe’s new way of thinking. However, Marthe has chosen to leave that strained relationship with the Lord. She wisely stated, “I’d rather be wrong by trying to please God than [be wrong by trying to please my family]. I know that God is big enough to take care of my children and my Mom (and any other members in my family) on the level they are spiritually, so I leave whatever else regarding them to Him.”

Marthe continues to journey in her faith, revelling in her newfound realization that true peace comes from God, not from seemingly peaceful circumstances.

Marthe concluded her testimony with a verse she’d recently read during one of her Bible study sessions: “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28 NKJV).

“That [verse] gave me the sense of peace I was waiting for.”

(* All names changed as per GoodSeed policy.)

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