Robbed of So Much :: By Candy Austin

When we become a Christian, we are no longer a friend of the world but are now in enemy territory. The enemy comes to steal, kill, and to destroy. Satan has robbed us of so much in our lives. This article is dedicated to my niece and nephew and the life we have been robbed of having together. Robbed of the excitement of seeing their mom pregnant, the anticipation of their impending births, getting to hold them in the hospital when they were born, of buying them outfits and gifts, basically robbed of getting the chance to be their Aunt and Uncle.

The devil has stolen a lot of joy from our lives. Satan wreaks havoc on families and lives every day. My estranged sibling has been a tool of the Devil for a very long time. He has ultimately turned her into the most cold-hearted person we have ever known. Not only did she pretend not to see me and other family members at her wedding shower, she shunned all of us at her wedding when she got married, did not let anyone know each time she was pregnant, did not notify anyone of her children’s births, basically has treated us all like we were already dead.

On the flip side, for what it is worth, I did not rob said sibling from any of my major life events. She got to be my maid of honor at my wedding, got to see me pregnant both times, and got the precious opportunity to hold my babies when they were born in the hospital despite the beginning periods at the time of on and off estrangement.

To add insult to injury, when our oldest became a prodigal, said estranged sibling wasted no time jumping onto her bandwagon. It was as if she wanted a ‘front row seat’ to our family’s downfall. Needless to say, said sibling was very instrumental in encouraging our prodigal to shun our family for her wedding as well. All the while claiming to be a Christian, she has supported our prodigal in her social media bashing of us, her marching in gay pride parades, her picketing for abortion, basically has supported her in treating us like garbage.

Birds of a feather really do flock together.

The pain from all of this has been surreal, almost more than we can bear sometimes. There is no doubt that we are in the last minutes of the last days. We know we are in the last of the last when there is so much ‘lack of natural affection’ for family members and kin. When said sibling hit rock bottom about 12 years ago, I was there reaching out to help her to get back on her feet.

At the time, her family was at poverty level, basically living on handouts and welfare with no jobs or real income. Not only did we send her money every month, we gave her a couch because hers was ratted and torn (she unthankfully let the kids destroy the one we gave her within 6 months), we gave her needed food and toiletries, I ultimately got her a job where I worked for several months until she found one that she had her degree in.

Within the year and a half of our ‘revived relationship only because she hit rock bottom,’ and despite 15 years of prior estrangement, we helped her get out of an abusive marriage, babysat her kids, helped her move, and the list goes on. True to form, once she got back onto her feet and my usefulness to her apparently waned, she decided to forsake me and my family yet again. Never did she clean our house, give us money, or help me get a job, but somehow everything I did to help her and her family was not good enough in her eyes. Satan, unfortunately, has been successful at destroying our relationship.

Back to being robbed of knowing my niece and nephew. Even though we did not get a chance to know them very well and it has been 10 years since that ‘short relationship window when they were toddlers’ ended, we still miss them. Sadly, I only get to see how much they have grown through social media pictures or by seeing them walk by at restaurants as of late.

Seeing how my cards and letters sent to them go perpetually unanswered, I hope one day they will somehow read this and know that their Aunt Candy and Uncle Doug did care about them, despite what they might have been told. That we wanted to know them, spend time with them, and that we will always love them no matter what.

Yesterday, I stood up at Pastor Richard Ellis’ Reunion Church in Dallas and gave a ‘tearful testimony’ on asking for prayers for our Prodigals, testifying to the long and painful 8 years, and how hard it is during the holidays. Can I just say that Pastor Ellis is awesome! Not only did he offer solace and comfort in our plight, he prayed for us and for all the testimonies that were given; on top of that, his preaching was ‘spot on’ about Thanksgiving.

How that Jesus gave ‘Thanks in Faith’ before he fed the 5,000, how Jonah gave ‘Thanksgiving in Faith’ from the belly of the fish, and how Jesus gave ‘Thanks in Faith’ at the Last Supper concerning the ‘Bitter Cup he was about to drink’ in going to the Cross to die for the sins of the whole world.

“Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:42-44; all scripture KJV).

The pastor said, basically, that until we can ‘Thank God in Faith for our Bitter Cup’ that we are to drink, we will not have the fortitude to make it through the trials in our lives. Again, Pastor Richard Ellis is awesome, but not only that, he is a True Shepherd to the Flock. His church is a remnant church that preaches the whole counsel of God ‘unapologetically.’ If only it were closer, we would go there more often. May God richly Bless this True Shepherd.

As if giving my testimony was not emotional enough, at the restaurant right after church is when we saw said estranged sibling, niece, and nephew for the 2nd time in 3 months. Apparently, we like the same restaurant on Sundays. The first time we saw them, said estranged sibling and I made eye contact, and all I saw were eyes full of hate. The second time, said sibling did not make eye contact but rudely had the waitress move their table that was 2 tables down from ours to one on the other side of the restaurant.

Needless to say, seeing estranged family members like this no doubt stirs up an ‘ocean of emotions.’ This time, it reminded us of that never-ending Bitter Cup that we are to continually be ‘Thankful for in Faith while we partake in Christ’s sufferings’ and drink.

Even though we apparently have the ‘plague,’ the ‘real plague’ is the spiritual battle that is raging within families all over the world. Not that the Devil would have her care or anything, but we pray for her and her kids often. Like Pastor Ellis’ sermon exhorted us to do, we are going to give ‘Thanks this Thanksgiving in Faith’ that God has heard and will answer all of our prayers concerning all of our estranged family members. Abba Father always knows what is best.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Thank you to those who remember to pray for the ones who are ‘robbed of family fellowship’ during the holidays. According to the number of people Pastor Ellis had stand up at his church to show me that I am not alone in this particular pain, it is quite a few of us. Not that I could ever fully convey, but for those who are familiar, we know it is an unexplainably hollow, gut-wrenching, and deep emotional pain that we would not wish on anyone.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Until next time… Maranatha!

Jesus = Way, Truth, Life

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