You guys, strange stuff happens at my house sometimes. I see things that give me the chills. And I hear whispers that surely have come from a very dark place.

I’m not trying to be overly dramatic…but my family and I are being haunted.

There will be stretches of days when everything is sunshine and roses, warm fuzzy hugs and smiles. But then suddenly, there’s a coldness pricking the back of my neck leaving me with the knowledge that something is trying to mess with our minds and our relationships.

The force that shows up here from time to time is very destructive. And, if I wasn’t a believer in God’s power over evil, I would be very scared.

Just what is my family dealing with, you ask? The same thing every family is haunted by. Our past.

Each family unit is unique, with their own stories and challenges. But at the heart of it, we all have traumatic experiences and heartbreaking events haunting us; or, at the very least, haunting certain members of our family.

When my children ask about the details of their father’s death, chills run down my spine as I’m reminded of their need to grieve and process. But I’m also reminded of the things I wish I could have done different, and how cancer slammed the door on my opportunity to set those things right with my late husband.

I see the look of confusion in the eyes of our five kids, and I’m reminded how situations out of their control left them trying to make sense of our blended family as my new husband and I rebuild our lives after heartache.

The words and actions of a selfish man as he stalked me for over a decade whisper words of fear in the dark of night, sometimes creating that eerie “bump in the night” feeling.

Sure, sin happens- to all of us. And repentance leads to that glorious place of forgiveness and starting over. But the truth remains that sin tries to haunt us. And will haunt us for as long as it can.

Identity issues, unhealthy coping patterns, plain old selfishness, dysfunctional family structures passed down from generation to generation…all this and more is being churned up in the average family each day.

I’m sure you can relate in some way. We all can.

So what do we do? Call ghost busters?

No. But we can break the past’s power over our family if we call it what it is… the past.

That’s right. It’s over and done with, but only if we keep it there. When life knocks us down, we have to choice to stand up, learn from the experience and move forward. Or, we can lay there and tell everyone we’re down for the count.

We have power when we stop blaming others for the domino effect in our lives. Even if they did tip that first domino, we can always set them up again. But only when we admit we’ve allowed those dominoes to keep falling.

We make positive change happen when we choose to develop healthy coping skills rather than just do whatever makes us feel good in the moment.

We expose darkness and make it flee when we gently rebuke damaging behaviors and encourage life-giving words and actions.

The point is this: while sin tries to haunt every family and destroy the peace in their homes; it really has no more power than we give it.

Just like the “ghosts” in every episode of those old Scooby Doo cartoons; when properly identified, the things that haunt us can be dealt with and stopped.

Let’s not settle for being haunted. Let’s make Scooby Doo proud by ripping those scary masks off our past, and stopping it from ruining our future.

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