Adopting a Family Resemblance

by Shirley Mozena

“Do you think you could turn off the blaring radio?” she demanded. I was taking advantage of a sunny day my backyard, pulling weeds. I looked up, startled, and quite honestly, irritated. What right had she to tromp into my back yard and accuse me of making too much noise?

“I’m sorry,” I said (not really sorry but it seemed the appropriate thing to say). She went on to tell me my radio was bothering her husband, who had Alzheimer’s, and trying to take a nap. She explained that he kept asking her to turn down their radio. Finally, in desperation, she came into my yard to make that request. Her asking was reasonable for sure. I was irritated because of her words, “blaring.”

“Does the digging next door bother him?” I asked. You see, right next door, the other neighbor was digging a swimming pool and there was a lot of noise produced by that project.

“Well, he doesn’t like that either,” she said. I told her I would turn off my podcast and apologized again for making too much noise. She thanked me and that was the end of it.

But it really wasn’t the end of it. You see, my response to her request was wrong. Yup. Me–the child of God–the Christian, had responded in an un-neighborly fashion.

Many years earlier, I believed in Jesus and He entered my life. When He entered, God adopted me into His family. I can now call God “Father.” Because of my faith, I became a daughter of the God of the Universe: “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God” (John 1:12-13 NLT).

With my adoption comes responsibility. I have Someone living inside me, reminding me to whom that I belong. My actions should reflect my identity. I should love as God loves us. But sometimes–like that sunny afternoon–I behaved like the rest of the world. As if I didn’t belong to His family. 

The neighbor lady left the yard. I huffed around, continued to pull weeds–with the radio podcast off–feeling very righteous. But alas! I began to feel badly about my retort. I. Was. Wrong. I’d misrepresented my Father God and grieved the Holy Spirit living in me.

I felt sad and guilty. There was a heaviness. I knew I hadn’t respond in the right way, even though I’d said I was sorry, I really wasn’t. I told my husband, Jim, about the incident, and of course, he was on my side. Deep down, though, I knew I needed to make things right. I needed to tell my neighbor I was sorry, yes. But the person I’d wounded the most was the Holy Spirit living in me!

When I said that prayer, I felt instant relief! No more heaviness. God’s word is true. In a modern version it says:”
“If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—simply come clean about them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we’ve never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God”(I John 1:8-10 MSG).

Now for my neighbor. I needed to tell her I was wrong, too.

Next morning, I headed to the store to purchase a bouquet of flowers and found a dozen cheery yellow roses. She wasn’t home, but her neatly dressed husband was. I understand someone with Alzheimer’s can appear normal to an outsider—which he did. He remembered me—the noisy neighbor—and graciously thanked me for the bouquet and the card with my apologies.

Thank you, Lord, for your Holy Spirit who is within me, reminding me when I’m acting like I don’t belong to Your family. Please forgive me when I slip up. Thank you, In Jesus name, Amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Shirley Quiring Mozena is a retreat speaker and national speaker for Stonecroft Ministries; she has three-hundred plus followers who read her weekly blog on encouragement and hope. Shirley has a presence on FaceBook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Her website includes her blogs, and speaking schedule: She has published articles in the newspaper and Christian publications. She was awarded winner from Oregon Christian Writers (OCW) Cascade Awards for an unpublished article entitled, “Two Amazing Prayers.”

Shirley has authored three books: Second Chances At Life and Love, With Hope (Redemption Press, 2012), Beyond Second Chances: Heartbreak to Joy (Redemption Press, 2015), finalists in the OCW Cascade Awards.  With her husband Jim, have co-authored a book Second Chance at Love: Navigating the Path to Remarriage (Redemption Press, 2020), was a finalist in the 2021 Selah Awards.

She and her husband, Jim, facilitate GriefShare where they work with those grieving the loss of a loved one in death. They especially have compassion for those experiencing the death of a spouse.

Join the conversation: How about you? Do you sometimes struggle with your flesh and your un-godly response to people or situations?


4 thoughts on “Adopting a Family Resemblance

  1. Oh, so humbling. Yep—been there. Done that! FELT that!!! Thank you for sharing. Isn’t the Holy Spirit the sweetest Friend?


  2. Thanks for sharing this, Shirley. I had a similar experience with someone in my family. Glad you were able to receive forgiveness and restoration. Blessings, Fran


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