This post is very different from anything I’ve posted so far, but it is something I’ve been thinking about and praying about for the past two weeks. I feel I have received answers to some of my prayers, but they are in God’s way, not mine. Sometimes that can be difficult to accept, but it must always be God’s will and God’s way, not yours or mine.
Last week our church had a mission with a priest from California – Fr. Mike Barry. The whole mission was about Healing the Family Tree. For those of you who are not familiar with this concept, take your bible out and turn to Exodus 20:5 or Exodus 34:7 and/or Deut 5:9. If you read those verses you will realize that sin and problems pass through generations. If you go to Genesis 31:19, or Genesis 34:35 and /or Hosea 4:17 you will read that sin can skip a generation. To see how sin can travel through generations go to Mt 23:29-36.
The talk on the first night brought up questions for us to ponder such as:
- Were there/are there members who have been/are cut off?
- Are there family secrets that disable truth-telling?
- Are there rules and forms of acting in the family that interfere with the freedom to be mature?
- Is there a history of mental illness or emotional difficulties that influence family life?
- What major events marked the family’s history, such as war, natural disaster, ethnic strife, economic loss?
- Are there miscarriages, still-born babies or abortions that haven’t been resolved?
Father Barry also talked about the obstacles to healing which would encompass things such as:
Thoughts such as:
- God wouldn’t hear my prayers
- I’m not holy enough
Of course, it goes without saying that the starting point to healing your family tree is Jesus. Oh, I’m sure there are some people out there that will say this is bunk and try to prove with science that sin can’t pass from generation to generation. Unfortunately it can and the mind can cause the body to become ill. What you think, can and does have an effect on your body.
Some plain and simple facts are that every family is in need of healing – families have gifts, talents and accomplishments, but they also have sin, shame and disgrace. You don’t have to live with these burdens from the past, but healing is a process. Healing has to do with your/my relationship with the Lord, in my heart, in my mind, in my body and in the Body of Christ.
The process of healing life’s hurts begins with leading our hurts out of forgetfulness and into consciousness – opening up to Jesus.
Take a look at your ancestors. Do you have destructive patterns of behavior that you can also see in your relatives? If so, you should pray for your ancestors as well as yourself.
Following is a list of possible patterns your should look for in your family tree and yourself.
- Broken Relationships (divorce, loners, homosexuality, adultery, family members not speaking to each other etc.)
- Sexual Excesses (molestation, abuse, adultery, etc.)
- Violent Behavior (wife/husband beating, family anger, hate, excessive fighting)
- Addictions (alcoholic, pornography, gambling, overeating, other)
- Deception (lies in the family over serious things such as land, property, money secrets, shame etc.)
- Deaths (violent, sudden, accidental, suicidal, un-mourned deaths, war deaths, other)
- Abortions (miscarriages)
- Curses or false vows and promises
- Occult (witchcraft, black magic, Ouija boards, horoscopes, curanderos, other)
- Predominant diseases
Next ask yourself some of the following questions and answer them honestly:
- What emotional or personal unease or problems do you have?
- Do these involve a beloved person with whom you now have a wounded relationship?
- Do these involve a trauma you experienced?
- Are there patterns of failure in dealing with others, significant relationships, employment?…………..Do these patterns exist in the immediate family or the family history?
- Do you cultivate big or little addictions in order to cope?
- Do you feel bondage?
- Has there been sexual, physical or verbal abuse, acting out or mis-conduct?…………….Of which you are the victim or have perpetrated to some degree or the other?……Are there any patterns of this in the family and the family history? ………..Are any of these associated with acts you carried out or behaviors you exhibited?
- Do you know of stories or anecdotes in your family history that reveal where the past family problems or behaviors of significant people introduced difficulties still being worked out in the present.
Whew – pretty heavy stuff and not so easy to think about is it? The process itself goes like this
- develop a personal history
- make a road map of your family’s history to the best of your memory – a genogram is a great tool for this, or you can go on-line and download a family tree outline to put your family members on.
- search and locate significant patterns in your family’s history – a pattern is a condition that has recurred three or four times
- Go to confession then
- Bring these patterns to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
God himself promised us generational healing. If you don’t think that is true, just get your bible again and go to: Jer. 31:29-30. Ezekiel 18:1-3, Is 61:4. or 1Cor. 15:32. To know how God did it and healed the generations, go to the following books of the bible: Lev 28:39-40, Jn 6:25-28, Mt. 27:51-54, 1Cor 15:6 and Romans 8:36-38.
Healing your family tree can take more than one time. Some patterns may be healed immediately, while other may take longer. There trick is to never give up on yourself or God.
I did ask for a lot from the priest who gave the mission and from God. I believe he did answer one of my prayers by opening up an opportunity for me. I have been with RE/MAX for 7 years and they have been 7 good years. I made friends there and learned a lot. Our broker was an excellent mentor. Unfortunately, over the last three years I had quite a few setbacks and now the economy has sunk even lower than last year. I was fretting what to do, and prayed for a sign – should I stay with RE/MAX in spite of the fees, should I go to another real estate company or should I get out of real estate altogether. I prayed and prayed and on Friday, as I was going to the last evening of the mission, a broker from another company called me to ask me to come on board. I had my husband in the car, so I asked if he could call back the next day. He said yes, but I didn’t hear from him until Monday. When he did call I was very happy and he offered me an excellent split and was willing to help me learn the platform he provides his agents.
In spite of this good news I was hesitant because leaving RE/MAX meant leaving my comfort zone and starting all over again. Finally on Tuesday, I told my RE/MAX broker the news and he was very gracious and understanding. Some of my co-workers had watery eyes and they all gave me hugs and words of encouragement. I was told I could come back anytime – but that will be very difficult to do. By Friday I was completely moved out, turned in my key and headed for home with tears in my eyes. Seven years of files and books, seven years of stuff, seven years of building relationships and now I was leaving it all behind.
I can tell you this much, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders by not having to come up with the corporate and desk fees and I am already getting leads with his new system. This to me, was the answer to one of my most important prayers. What direction my life was going to take now?
One of my religious education teachers heard Father Mike Barry was coming back to Florida in the fall. He will be in the Tampa area – near where my daughter lives. I will be going back and hopefully take my daughter with me. Our family tree still has some bent branches that need to be straightened out and I for one am looking forward to more healing.