I became a Christian when I was 13. It was a choice that placed me subtly, but firmly, outside of an uncomplicated family affinity. My parents, though sympathetic, were uncomprehending. And it changed our relationship and the way in which I viewed the world. It called into question values that I had previously taken for granted. And it raised (and answered) mysteries that even my Dad couldn’t solve. Sin. Death. Creation.
Up until then, my parents had all the answers. But from this point, there was a kind of reversal, which is working itself out even today. I’d met Jesus: the One for whom and through whom, the world and everything in it, was created. For me, the universe was utterly changed; but for them, it stayed the same. Despite my clumsy attempts at evangelism, they couldn’t see it. And I couldn’t go back. We still loved each other with every fibre, but there was a gap I couldn’t bridge.
I long for my parents and my siblings to know the Lord. I fear for them under His judgement and I yearn for them to experience His love. We’re knit from the same stuff: they’re me – and without grace, I am lost.
My husband’s a full-time evangelist: but I still don’t know what Evangelism should look like and especially how one does it to one’s family. This is the woman who fed me and taught me and changed my nappies. Now I’m telling her that she’s got life seriously wrong. These words carry the weight of Scripture as well as personal conviction, but that doesn’t make them any easier to say. Especially if I see conversion as my job: or evangelism as a matter of shouting ‘Turn or burn!’ before retreating for cover. No: sharing Jesus is sharing life – talking to mum about the gospel, but modelling it too. Not as the epitome of domesticity or morality, nor as the perfect daughter. But as me: messy and flawed but known and loved by the Lord of the universe. The Lord who longs to know her too, as His daughter. And who loves her a million times more than I ever can.
That’s my Lord: my prayer is that He will be her Lord too.