A Messiah For My Family
By Jackie Kendall
The following is a disclaimer that I wrote in the introduction of my newest book: Surrender Your Junior God Badge. I intended it to be added towards the end of the book but my wise husband of 41 years said that it is wiser to lead with such a vulnerable confession.
I am going to share my biggest regret as a controlling woman. This one is so painful that I am actually nauseated as I type, but I know people are liberated when the candid vulnerability of others shows them that they are not alone in their failure, struggles, and shattered dreams, so here I go—my heart in print.
My greatest regret is spending four decades trying to rescue my family of origin from destructive behavior. I have spent so much time and so much money trying to “save them” from so many poor choices. You might think that my tenacity is commendable, but the hard truth is that my tenacity was not led by God—it was compelled by my stubborn, controlling self. I have spent four desperate decades diligently wearing my Junior God Badge, sacrificing countless hours of effort and worry and heartache trying to drag my family away from destructive behavior. Not one of my family members has been “saved” from their destructive patterns! I will not share the details of the day that the scales on my eyes were removed—except to say that I wept so hard I could have vomited out my organs. I kept repeating, “I could have sent thousands of Bibles to India and China with the money that I wasted on people who love their addictions more than God.” My passion to be my family’s messiah was not good.
You would think that after the suicide of two siblings I would realize how powerless I am over my siblings—but the suicides actually became my motivation to get a “PhD in Control.” After paying for yet another stint in rehab, when a particular sibling relapsed again, I drove, weeping, to an Al-Anon meeting. That night I heard a 70-year-old man tell of the heartache his son was still putting him through, and I just gasped. I seriously thought I could not breathe. But the Lord used that man’s remarks to throw a bucket of ice water in my face. That night the scales on my eyes were beginning to peel off. The final surgery was in our kitchen when I heard the painful truth of the vanity of my controlling efforts—not from a professional counselor or my pastor, but from my oldest child! It is pretty sad when you, the adult, have to hear the truth from your child. Later that day the Lord led me graciously to a verse that I had never seen in 49 years of reading the Bible.
“Though grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and regard not the majesty of the LORD. (Isaiah 26:10)
In my new book Surrender Your Junior God Badge I address the controllers counterfeit authority to do what cannot be done—but what every woman thinks she can do—control another person’s heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve’” (Jer. 17:9-10).
Controllers with their Junior God Badges pinned to their shirts assume they know how to change the hearts of those they love. Ironically, though, the Word clearly states that the controller’s heart is as deceitful as those she is trying to change!
(Adapted from Surrender Your Junior God Badge)