by | Nov 18, 2019 | Life, Rachel Toland

How do you show someone you love and care about them when you so strongly disagree with what they are doing?

My little sister invited me to attend a Women + Weed Conference. Well, actually she all but begged me.

Let me give you some history here. She is 11 years my junior and suffers from Bipolar disorder. She hasn’t had an easy life. Her dad left before she was born and to be honest, there’s just some brokenness there. But above all that, she is my little sister and I love her dearly.

Monica and Rachel

When she first got into the cannabis industry, it made me very uncomfortable. I’m not a huge fan of the whole Cannabis movement, so when she decided she was going to throw herself into it, I was at a loss as to how I should respond.

I mean, how do you show someone you love and care about them when you so strongly disagree with what they are doing?

First of all, you don’t do what I did in the beginning of all of this and not listen to them and then try to tell them how Jesus is so much better than pot!

That went over like a lead balloon.

Remember, she is 11 years younger than me. I say that because I have to remind myself of that fact. I am her big sister. She has looked up to me her whole life.

I never knew what it was like looking up to an older sibling. I was an only child for 11 years.

But God did remind me of what it is to like to look up to someone. That’s what I needed to realize, and it took a while for God to really get that into my heart.

She has been so excited recently to tell me about all the things she learned after different cannabis conferences but I realize now that I didn’t know how to listen to her back then. One day, God got a hold of me in a way that He never has. In fact, I blogged about it a few months ago. It’s the one called â€œThe Dire Straights and God’s Never-Ending Faithfulness.”

That night with the Lord changed me.

However, that day began with me putting into practice the most basic form of showing respect with my sister: listening.

You see, not listening was a big problem in our household and it created much friction between my husband and I. The only other person that I had more friction with at that time was my little sister.

Things were starting to change between my husband and I for the better once we started listening, so I knew I needed to repent to my sister for not listening to her. So that night with the Lord began with me calling her earlier that day and setting some time apart so that I could apologize to her for not respecting her enough to listen to her and then asked her to share with me all that she had learned with cannabis.

I spent about 30 minutes listening to all the knowledge she had gleaned over the last several months and how helpful different strands are for different ailments. It all honestly reminded me of essential oils!

It was tough at first to hear it all, but what made it all worth it was the fact that it was the first step to mending our relationship. This wound up even improving my relationship with my mom as two sisters finally learned to deal with a disagreement respectfully.

Fast forward several months to November 2019 and here we are: My sister and I heading to go a Women + Weed conference together as friends.

Was I nervous?

Not at all actually.

Did I dread it?

Hmmm. . . Let’s put it this way. . . I didn’t know what to expect. And this stance was important.

I could have prejudged the whole thing and gotten myself into the same rut with my sister that we were in for the entire first part of this year.

But I went with no preconceived ideas and just let myself enjoy being there for my little sister.

Since she didn’t know a whole lot of people attending, I was more than happy to be able to help her feel more secure with her big sister there, something I really cherished doing since grade school.

But her feeling supported really opened up a channel of communication on this subject that wasn’t there previously. After henna tattoos and raffle drawings, she asked me what I thought about the whole thing.

That was huge!

This was the million-dollar question! If I hadn’t had gone . . . she wouldn’t have cared about my thoughts on the matter.  And her caring enough to hear what I thought on the subject really mattered more to me than me trying to prove her wrong.

We could finally talk about a subject that we disagreed on through with mutual respect and trust!

This opportunity opened up the precious doorway of communication and it made me reflect on the blueprint of the Kingdom of Heaven.

We have a King that is so much higher than us that came down and made Himself lower than the Angels (Heb 2:7).  He didn’t make us ascend to Him first. He came down to us and He loved us first. We didn’t love Him first. In fact, we are incapable of love on our own. We can love only because He first loved us.

But because He reached down and pulled us out of the muck and mire, somehow I had gotten it backwards in my mind with my sister. I was thinking that in order for us to have a decent relationship, she was going to have to change. She was going to have to get her bi-polar under control. She was going to have to stop smoking pot and she was going to have to start to learn how to listen.

But that’s not how the King did it, so why would the servant be any better than the Master?

I had to take the high road and demonstrate love and listening. I had to get over my discomfort and learn to listen.

And I listened today both to her and to many testimonials that I could relate to. Women with young children who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis, who live with PTSD, social anxiety and many other mental illnesses, diseases and ailments.

Women + Weed Conference, November 2019

I could relate to these stories. These stories touched my heart because my family and I have struggled through very similar battles these women were facing and still face everyday.

Because I could relate to these stories, I left the conference in prayer, interceding for the Remnant, for the Father to pour out His healing anointing on His people so that we would be able to heal the sick and restore sight to the blind. As persecution and intolerance for Jesus/Yeshua rises in our culture today, I prayed according to Mark 9:38-39,

“John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.”

But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. â€œ

This is so desperately needed in this hour. We need the world to see the healing power of Yeshua. We need the unbelievers to be transformed by the power and love of God through His Son and His work on and before the Cross. The lashes He took were for our healing and that blood and pain is what heals us.

This is so crucial because it adds such a deeper context to the famous next line:

“For the one who is not against us, is for us.”

And this is how the Remnant should pray.

We can’t be worried about being more right than others or more popular than other ministries. In the end, the goal of the Remnant is to turn people to the Messiah who leads them to the Father. And we do that through Isaiah 61:

The Spirit of the Master יהוה is upon Me, because יהוה has anointed Me to bring good news to the meek. He has sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim release to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of יהוה, and the day of vengeance of our Elohim, to comfort all who mourn, to appoint unto those who mourn in Tsiyon: to give them embellishment for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. And they shall be called trees of righteousness, a planting of יהוה, to be adorned.

Isaiah 61:1-3

This is the very Scripture that Jesus read in Nazareth at the very beginning of His ministry in Luke. He read this out loud and said,

“Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Luke 4:21

And then they marveled at the gracious words that were flowing from His lips when they realized that He was the Messiah. They knew He wasn’t just reading those words, but that He was fulfilling them before their very eyes.

The tragic part is that they weren’t ready to hear these words, so they were filled with wrath and couldn’t accept the love and restoration that He would bring.

Yet Jesus knew He would be rejected by many but He went anyway. He knew it could only be the meek that could hear the Good News. The Pharisees were so stiff necked that they were ready to kill him right then and there, to throw Him off a cliff. But He passed on and continued looking for the Remnant that was ready to hear His Words.

There’s always a Remnant. And the Remnant Follows the Master, the Shepherd who rescued them as He said, “Go and do likewise.”

The Remnant is going to help build the ancient ruins and raise up former devastations, is what it says in Isaiah 61 and all I heard today were stories of devastation and how people have come to cope with their pain and disease.

Photo by Prerna Rajkumar on Unsplash

These ladies have found a “band aid” that really works and helps them live their best life now.

I get that.

God has given me several “Band-Aid miracles,” as I like to call them along my journey until I was ready to even ask God about being healed of certain ailments. He listened to my concerns and cries. Looking back, many times I realize He didn’t speak into those situations because I wasn’t ready to hear the answer at the time. I had to grow to a place where I was ready to hear His Truth and He remained patient with me until I got there, providing remedies along the way until I was healed.

But I left today asking the Father for help on how to help others. I couldn’t say anything to these ladies today. To every season, there is a time and today it was time for me to listen, not speak.

If we listen well enough in its season, we’ll have the answers to our questions. We’ll overcome these dividing mountains facing us in our culture if we discern the hour to listen.

Then they will come to us, asking us what we think of their stories and they will open up the door to listen to us if we first listen to them.

It may take time, in fact—it will take time. But her asking me what I thought today was so rewarding and such an honor, it made me reflect on how God must feel when we’re finally ready to ask Him for His input and when we are ready to hear it.

Even though I couldn’t say much today, being asked was a giant step of trust in our relationship. A step that I greatly enjoyed taking and am certain will bear fruit in it’s season. Seeds of listening and love were sown today and my hope is in the principle of reaping what we sow.

Until then, “love is patient.” It will be patiently waiting for the day she and many others are able to hear the Good News of Yeshua.

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