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Broken Family, Peaceful Heart

Broken Family, Peaceful Heart

By:  Erin Ganis February 7, 2021
#AmazingNation, #Faith, #Hope, #love, #Struggle

Blessed are the Peacemakers...

Growing up the 7th of 12 children, I always believed my family to be remarkably loyal and devoted to each other. All of that blew up when my mother was diagnosed with cancer and died 3 ½ years later. Her illness seemed to bring out rivalries I never knew existed, as well as manipulation for my father’s affection. When my father died 4 years later, Satan’s powers and subtle manipulation of communication made a destructive blow. My family split over interpretations of dying wishes and changes made to my parents’ will during my father’s last years. I often prayed, “Make me an instrument of Your peace” (St. Francis).

I learned over the next year that that prayer would be answered quite differently. My attempts as peacemaker were met with great hostility and vulgar attacks by some siblings. My closest sister and best friend then turned on me. I tried for 2 years to communicate with her. She would not speak to me and would give me no indication as to what I had done to hurt her and warrant her cutting off our relationship. I sought counsel from my husband, relatives, friends, and priests. I did not care about any inheritance, I just wanted my family to be kind to each other, listen with an open heart, and do what was right. I wanted my children to be able to know their cousins. I begged God for this. I felt my prayers were met with silence. Tears became an everyday event. I just wanted to check out. My foundation had fallen apart.

For they shall be called Children of God.
Then one weekend, I went on a retreat. I spoke at length with the spiritual director and brought it to the priest in confession. My director walked me through what forgiveness meant. She helped me see that forgiveness had to start with me. It does not require reconciliation. I needed to be honest with myself and any part that I played in the division. I needed to bring that to Jesus in confession. I needed to explore anything that I could do to begin repairing the relationships.

The priest at the retreat also walked me through laying each sibling and all the hurt at the foot of the cross.

Jesus would take it from me. (“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” ~Matthew 11:28.) I just needed to hand it over, and not pick it up again. So, this is what I did. God began to heal me that weekend. He took this very broken soul I had become and reminded me of His love for me and His desire that I trust in Him, that I accept His peace that He desires for me. Since that weekend, I have begun to heal. I have forged new friendships with siblings who desired the same. I have deeply desired Jesus in the Eucharist. I have felt His loving arms hold my aching heart. I have begun smiling again. I have felt so much peace in knowing that Our Lord knows my pain and struggles and loves me through it.

Thank you, Lord God!

I am so grateful for our Heavenly Father and His immense desire for our love. I am so grateful to Our Lord Jesus Christ for loving me back to joy. I am so grateful to the Holy Spirit keeping His shadow over me and healing me. I am so grateful for the part of my family that wants peace and am ever hopeful for more to come. Life is so good. I am grateful that I could eventually see His Beauty through the clouds.


Photo Credits:
"Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, VISION Vocation Guide" by VISION Vocation Guide is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

About the Author Erin Ganis


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