Thursday, September 18, 2014

Robbie Ballentine

My brother and I have a great relationship!  We have most of our lives but there have been times when we didn't.  Thankfully God has brought restoration to us and we get along great!  We still cut up and goof off and have nice long chats about life and God and just everything.  My brother and his wife just recently had a baby, and now I am an aunt!!  I am so excited!  And I am also glad God has brought me to a place where I can be a good influence, role model, and example to my sweet sweet little nephew.  I'm thankful they don't have to figure out how to tell me they don't really want me spending time with him because I make bad decisions.  I am thankful I get to be a huge part of his life!

Anyway, I am SO thankful for my amazing brother.  He's awesome!  Here's a little bit of his perspective of everything that happened with me.  Hope you enjoy his story!

Being a brother comes with a great deal of responsibilities. Although I am younger than my sister, I still think of myself as her “big brother”. Looking out for your sister is a must, it’s something most feel lead to do and most are born with natural instincts to do so. But the truth is it is not as easy as it seems….

Kadie and I have always had a great relationship growing up. We shared secrets, stayed up late as kids to see if we could see the morning sun, made up countless number of ridiculous games…the list could go on and on. But like most siblings, we had our moments as well. Arguing about which shows to watch, who gets the last ‘String Cheese’, or trying to figure out what would annoy your sibling the most. Kadie thought it was funny to stare at me in the car. It drove me nuts, especially on long road trips.

But like most brother/sister relationships, our time together began to fade as we grew older. College years are tough for anyone. Trying to find who you are and what you want to be, the nonstop studying, balancing work, school and friends- it’s all exhausting.

Around the time I found out that Kadie was pregnant, mine and her relationship was probably at an all-time low. Not because we didn’t like each other, but because neither one of us truly tried to invest in the other person’s life. I loved my sister so much but we weren’t connecting like we were accustomed to. This is a huge regret of mine. When we did talk, I was more interested in lecturing her on her lifestyle choices than showing her the true compassion and love she needed. It wasn’t that I was giving bad advice; it was more that she didn’t need anymore “advice”. She knew what was right or wrong and she knew what she was doing was not God’s standard for us.

When I found out the news that Kadie was pregnant, I was devastated. She had crossed the line. Not only had I thought she had ruined her life, but I also thought she put a burden on so many other people. I was heartbroken. I was devastated that this bad choice would define our family for the rest of our lives. Kadie would struggle to make ends meet for the rest of her life, while our new empty nesting parents would take on the burden to care for the baby whenever possible.

I felt ashamed for my parents and was heartbroken. I began blaming myself. Maybe this would not have happened if I would have been more available to Kadie. I wasn’t there to protect her like a big brother should have been. I blamed myself, and hated what we had become. But little did I know what God was about to do in my family’s life.

I never realized how God could use terrible situations and turn them into to good ones. It was truly a miracle to see what God was able to do. Not only did this serve as a wakeup call for Kadie and the rest of the Ballentine clan, but it was an answered prayer for another family. A family who’s dream was to adopt. A family who knew the process could take years or might never happen. It was a blessing. Maybe it wasn’t God’s plan in the beginning, but he used our blunder to create a beautiful ending. This is very encouraging to me as it shows how merciful God really is. It was also satisfying to me to know that He can use my past doings to create new and wonderful things. His omniscient ways are more than we can fathom and the way he used Kadie’s situation is a true testament to that. I’ve enjoyed watching Kadie grow from this situation and use her wisdom to help others in similar situations to make great choices as it pertains to adoption.

I love my sister dearly and I’m so glad things worked out for her and her adopted family. She stayed faithful and this situation has brought a change in me and the way I look at things. Thanks Kadie for staying true to what you believe and staying strong when things were at their toughest. I love you and am very proud of you! You have a bright future ahead of you!

Side Note: One of my biggest personal struggles with the whole situation was my outlook at the baby’s father. I despised him. Having to forgive him in my heart has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I was able to forgive Kadie because I loved her deeply and cherished our relationship. That was not the same for the father. It was a wound that I wasn’t sure would heal and he was the reason for my pain. As God has done many times in my life, he softened my heart. I was able to forgive the father for what he had done. I encourage anyone who struggles with forgiveness to ask God to soften their heart as well. Then end result is something that can’t be explained. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing and can bring you closer to your Heavenly Father!