For several years after my husband and I started attending church regularly, my extended family and I tolerated each others differing opinions. However, as I mentioned in the original post having a different opinion from the matriarchal authorities of my extended family is not something that happens. Ever. So maintaining the relationship for those years was a great strain on my marriage - because, of course, it was all my husband's fault. Or so the line goes from the matriarchs.
Each visit 'down home' never failed to present snide remarks about our growing beliefs/convictions. This made for tiring vacations and some quarreling between my husband and I. But we continued the relationships under the guise of 'these people are family'. This was all before my daughter was born. Once a grandchild was added to the mix, the pressure to conform to the wishes of the grandparents became even stronger (I exclude my father from the pressure factor as he always was and continues to be very supportive in our parental rights).
As the pressure grew, so did the quarrelling within my marriage. We both felt the sense of 'duty' to our extended families - looking back we can see it was more a sense of guilt if we did not measure up to expectations.
As I said, once my daughter arrived the matriarchs wanted to be directly involved in how she was raised. Obviously their feminist views did not mix well with our biblical view and their comments and criticisms became more and more overt. Again, it must be my husband's fault; or maybe it was the church's fault. I must be under the influence of some strong brainwashing to veer away from the liberal, feminist facts-of-life!
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. John 15: 18 & 19
When it all came to a head one day in my home that was the storyline the matriarchs were selling - I was involved in a cult and being brainwashed into subjugating myself and my daughter. Let me assure you, once I was labelled with that doozy of a label nothing I said mattered. As far as they were concerned, I was no longer thinking or speaking for myself. Ironically, this was the first time in my life that I really was thinking and speaking for myself. I had been released from the indoctrination of liberalism and feminism and was finally looking at life through clear eyes.
However, no amount of conversation could dissuade my mother from trying to 'save' me and my daughter from the cult and from my husband. On the day of my daughter's third birthday, children's services showed up at the door. We had been accused of being emotionally and physically abusive to Duck. Emotionally abusive because we were teaching from a biblical standpoint and therefore subjugating her. The physical abuse accusation was based on spanking - a discipline that was used by both sets of grandparents in their parental years.
The idea that she was trying to save me was the story for the rest of the family and for the social worker. This ploy was nothing more than a strong-arm attempt to control my family. It failed miserably for her.
The long and drawn out investigation included dozens of people supporting us - doctors, policemen and even a paramedic who knew us wrote complimentary letters about the care my daughter received from us. Neighbours and church members came forward and clearly denied the accusations. However, when it comes to children's services you are guilty until proven innocent and the next several weeks were terrible with the knowledge that in this country that is drowning in socialism, the government agency could take our daughter anytime they wanted without ever giving a explanation.
The failure for my mother came at the end of the investigation when we received a letter stating clearly that there had been no evidence of abuse to continue the case. With that nonsense behind us, we were convinced that it was best not to include the offending parties in the life of our daughter again. We did so based on practical bible study, particularly these sections:
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousnous with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lrod, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you,
and will be a Father unto you and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:14 - 18
And have no fellowhsip with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Ephesians 5:11
There was no way to ignore the unfruitful works of darkness in the heavy hand of the matriarchs. In the end, we could not justify a relationship that could endanger our marriage, our daughter and even our faith. Can we call this a loss? No.
Since the extended family has been removed from our path, we have grown spiritually and our marriage has been relieved of the quarrelling that once came with travelling home. My father and his wife continue to support us even if they don't hold to our convictions or faith. But our eyes are wide open now to the dangers of a relationship with non-believers. We are more careful to 'lead a quiet and peaceable life' (1 Timothy 2:2) while still following our convictions.
Do we expect that we will never be persecuted again? Well, I have to say that is my prayer, as selfish as it may be - but in the end, we hope our situation is one that glorifies God. Maybe one day, another christian will be placed in this same situation and we will be there to share our story and support.
Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, Phillipians 3:8