About five years ago there was a family squabble that caused my husband’s younger brother to disconnect from his parents.  This was a devastating time, and my family was there to support and pick up the pieces.  See before this event my family was the bottom of the totem pole.  My husband is the middle child and all of the clichés that go along with that title.  His younger brother was most definitely the  “golden child” and his family wore that suit as well.  His oldest sister being the only girl, has her own special place in the nest.  This was the way it was,  I was used to it.  I didn’t like it, but I accepted it.  My children were after thoughts and often it felt as if we were outsiders.  We never really fit in with the family dynamics.  The favoritism was felt like an earthquake at every gathering.  I would be sad for my children, but tried to keep it out of their view.  I never wanted them to feel what I felt.  Then it all changed in a blink when the squabble happened.  Suddenly WE were the “golden family”, and my kids were visible!! They were given so much love and attention it was awesome.  It was what I had always dreamed of.  Our family got so close.  Instead of me being an outsider, for once I was in.  I felt like we belonged. It was so sad that the family had this horrible rift, but it was also nice to see my children finally being treated as they deserved.  It’s a shame that it couldn’t happen any other way.  We were there to listen and be supportive to a mother grieving her relationship with her son and his family.  We were there to love and help bring some normalcy to holidays.  I thought we were there because we were wanted.  We weren’t.  We were there to fulfill a need that really had nothing to do with us at all.  It had nothing to do with my kids lovable personalities or their happy smiles.  It had nothing to do with love.  See, we were used.

One day out of the blue the feud was over.  It was just over and swept under the rug never to be talked about again.  We were to just pretend that the last five years never even happened.  I am all for moving on and forgiveness, but we are humans.  As humans, sometimes we need a little more explanation.  We need to talk through things to really forgive and move on.  We need time to understand our feelings and work through them.  It is the only way to make the relationship stronger when moving forward.  In our case this did not happen.  The “golden child” had returned to his status, as did his family.  Within a day, my kids were demoted and put out with the trash.  The preferred grandkids had returned, so there was no need for mine to be there.  The void was filled with the only thing that could do it.  I was demoted. I went from fitting in one day to losing my name the next.  I had always been called my sister in law’s name instead of my own.  For the last five years I had my own name!!!  In one day, it was forgotten.  I’ve never felt that way since middle school when the new girl came, and I got dropped by the mean girls.  In a flash I was back to being the outcast.  I can handle that, but my kids were also the outcasts.  They had grown a lot in five years, and it couldn’t be hidden to them this time around. At a gathering my six year old would not come out of the bedroom and was fighting back tears.  I asked him what was wrong and all he said what that his feelings were hurt.  “Nobody even cares if I’m here Mom.  They only care about those other kids. They like them better. Except Grandpa, he still likes me.”.  How can you look at your kid and tell them that’s not true when you know he’s right.  After comforting him I had to go outside by myself to cry.  I cried because my sweet little boy and his brother had been used, and it was apparent.  I cried because this is the kind of thing that happens in the school yard, not at Grandma’s house.  I cried because I realized it too at that time.  We were all used. We served our purpose and now it was done.  It doesn’t feel good.

As Christians we want to be used by God.  We want to be used for good.  What is the difference between God using us and  other humans?  The answer is intention.  When God uses us, it is to His will to better ourselves and someone else.  The act is selfless on our part, and equally selfless on the receiver’s end.  There is gratitude and joy.  God’s using changes us for the better.  It allows us to see something in ourselves that we haven’t seen before.  Him.  The other main difference is we aren’t thrown out after the service is done.  No, we are held in high esteem to our Father.  He loves us all equally, no favoritism there.  He will never discard of us once He is done using us.  He will keep finding other ways to challenge us and help us to grow.  He will keep changing our heart until He is ready to bring us home.  We feel good when we are used by our Heavenly Father.  We see purpose and true growth in our spirituality.  It feels good.

When human’s use us, it hurts and the pain in palpable.  It is important for us to remember that this too is part of God’s will for our lives.  He has put us through this for growth as well.  We may not know what we are being prepared for, but you can be most certain that there is a reason.  Maybe it is so that we recognize the difference between selfless users and selfish users.  It could be just because that person needed us and God knew it.  He knows what we can handle and how much we can take.  He knew that I could handle the job, but maybe my kids couldn’t.  That’s why it had to end when it did.  Who knows for sure.  Maybe my kids are going to be used in much bigger plans and needed this experience for training.  I like to think that.  It is important to take these instances and put them into the God perspective.  It’s easy to get upset and bitter, but we can’t allow that to happen.  Never let someone else’s disfunction get in your way.  As for me, I am happy to see true colors shining through.  It was all a ruse, and hopefully I will have learned to guard my heart a bit better in the future.  This is definitely one of my downfalls.  I tend to let the armor down without much thought.  Maybe God needs me to get better at that, and this was a safe way to teach me.  Bottom line is:  Being used by selfish people hurts.  Trust is God that you did not go through it for nothing.  Ask Him to use you instead. Being used by God helps.

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