- Dana Epperly
Holy Family Reboot
The Holy Family: Joseph, Mary and Jesus. Wow. As I reflect on this holy trio, I wonder: “How in the world could we ever imagine living a life comparable to this model?” Impossible?
Is there hope for freedom and authentic holiness in our families?
I tossed back and forth, in and out of the lesbian lifestyle and alcoholism for nearly 15 years. I would get emotionally and sexually involved with a woman, then God would convict my heart. I would confess my sin then two weeks later be right back in the bar drinking and carousing with women again. I repeated this vicious cycle of destruction over and over again. I was tired of fighting a fight I seemed to be losing at every corner. I thought: “What am I even fighting for?” I caved into who everyone else said I was and embraced “gay” everything.
That decision affected the depths of my heart and life, especially my relationship with my parents. During my "lesbian-lived-lifestyle", relating to my parents became extremely difficult for everyone. We became extremely disconnected. We couldn't share anything without getting too personal so we always avoided the "elephant in the room". We were like oil and water trying to come together. It simply didn't work.
As I descended into sin and addiction, darkness overtook every part of my life. It separated me from God and from everyone I loved. John 10:10 reads: “The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy.” That was true for me and my parents. The enemy stole our closeness; he was killing my relationship with them and our family overall.
Matthew 9:26 describes Jairus falling at the feet of Jesus and begging Him to save his daughter who appeared to be dead. Jesus loved Jairus and did not hesitate to go with him to see her. Jesus is full of compassion: He feels the pain that His people feel. Jesus was pleased that Jairus had the faith to come to Him.
My mom and dad were like Jairus. They too fell at the feet of Jesus, begging him to come and save me from death. When all seemed hopeless, I believe they also heard the voice of Jesus saying to them: "Dana is not dead, she is only sleeping." Faith roused them to believe I was more than the sum of my dismal condition.
In truth, my parents would go through seasons of unbelief and doubt in God’s saving power. It makes sense: I was spiritually dead. They would strain to see light and hope for me then would struggle to keep looking.
Finally, I came to the end of myself through some extremely difficult circumstances. I gave up and surrendered to Jesus' merciful, relentless love for me. Through repentance, I realized that my parents love for me had NEVER MOVED. They didn't move and God’s love for me NEVER moved either.
It was His loving kindness that brought me to repentance. Although my parents were not perfect, I can honestly say they loved me well and suffered long for me. I believe their love has been a beautiful reflection of the Father’s (ABBA) love for me. True repentance from my heart has reconciled me to the Father and the blood of the Lamb has made us family once again. It is truly glorious!
I am in awe of how God makes all things new! God not only delivered me and brought me back to life; He made us ONE AGAIN as a family. He has healed and restored our relationship to its rightful order. My parents and I can now share the Word of God together in an intimate way. We worship God together. We pray and war in the Spirit and now stand in the gap for ones who are lost and broken in addictions.
We are closer now than before and are ONE IN THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD. That's what makes us one. His Love binds us together. We are one family again! There is FREEDOM and HOPE in my family again! The Lord has turned our mourning into dancing! Praise His Holy name!
Can we attain this kind of holiness in our own families? I believe it because I taste it now. I taste the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Regardless of how imperfect we are, I encourage each one of us to seek this kind of freedom in our family relationships. Let us look up to the "Holy Family" and pray for more in our own families. We can reach for the grace of holiness in our families. It is attainable because God’s mercy flows through us.
“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:26)