Trouble with inlaws

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Matthew6:33

Withstand in the evil day. Eph 6:13
Had another episode with my inlaws this holiday unfortunately. Last year I got cursed out by my father in law for talking about conservative politics. This year I made a comment (I don't remember my tone) about him whipping out his phone to show my young kids YT videos when we are supposed to be spending family time together. Of coarse it was taken the wrong way and him and his wife jumped all over me: "thats a great way to ruin a good time!"

The rest of Christmas became very awkward because he totally shuts down and won't say two words to anyone.

I got up to thank him for the gift they gave us and he walked away from me to leave. Then I followed him out and said I was sorry for the video comment. Still, very little reception (not surprising).

When they were leaving a short time later I just gave him a hug and said that I loved him and Merry Christmas which seemed to help.

To my wife and mother in law, I ALWAYS look like the bad guy because I "should know better" than to make a comment to potentially trigger him. "I am creating a wedge in our family." I try so hard to watch my words around him and it is like walking on egg shells because he is so sensitive about everything and you can never disagree with him. It is really rough especially because my kids really love him but he is so hard for me to love sometimes because I feel/am undermined and disrespected as the father of my children.

He is a christian but his visible sanctified walk is a joke (he did not even go to Christmas service with us). He doesn't know how to forgive or apologize to anyone. I am always the one to make amends but it is always one sided. I feel like I am enabling his bad behavior by doing this and somehow he feels he is in the right when I inevitably apologize for anything even though he is in the wrong sometimes.

It is a real struggle for me because I am trying to protect my kids from certain things and teach them what is important about God but he seems like he could care less. Everything is fun and games and play with him and the kids. I need to respect a man twice my age but I feel like I am his father sometimes.

My wife says that I have deep underlying issues with him but God knows that I don't. There are just some things, particularly with my kids that really set me off. I just don't know what to do sometimes because a blow up is always almost inevitable. Not once in my life has he apologized to me, even after last year when he came to have dinner at my house and cursed me out in front of my kids - I stood there utterly shocked while he stormed out. Then I get the business from my wife and mother in law for triggering him. I apologized to him. It was probably the most disrespected I ever felt in my life.

Sorry for the long rant but I just need some support and godly Christian perspective which I know that I can find here. I REALLY need God to move on this!!!!!!!!!!! This stronghold is unbearable at times and it makes family functions really hard and I wish I could just avoid them all together!!!!! The spiritual war is strong!!!

:mope
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff member
It kind of sound like to me he might be a liberal Christian.

With these kind of things, I'd probably say that you need to pick your battles as to not upset the crowd you find yourself in - wife and MIL.

For example, you probably should have stood down on the YT video he was sharing with the kids. The same might be said with the conservative politics. I find it is better myself to just not go there with family members if at all possible.

Sometimes you can't avoid it, but I try these days to move onto something else with them, but fortunately I don't find myself in that situation often.

My daughter is very liberal and we used to go around and around on the politics stuff, then I just decided to pray for her and her views on politics. It has helped my blood pressure. :lol

Now, if the FIL were to start talking about the benefits of abortion to the kids or something, then you have permission to "speak the truth" to him with the Word of God - the Holy Bible! :thumbup

I'm sorry I can't help more than that, but I'd just stick to picking your battles wisely. These guy seems to be a "pro" at making you out to be the bad guy every time. :sad :ohno
 

Reason & Hope

Well-Known Member
It sounds to me like your father-in-law has always had problems with his temper and childishness, and that your mother-in-law and your wife have always tiptoed around him. Mother tiptoed around his moods and demands, and taught daughter to do the same, and now they want you to as well.

In short, they have enabled this man for decades. No wonder they see you as the person upsetting the apple cart. They don't understand that it's not normal for the man in the family to be so immature in his demands that everyone constantly cater to his emotions.

For your wife to not blame you, she first has to realize that her father's behavior is not normal. It is not mature. I don't know if it would help to ask her, "Do you think it would be appropriate for me to act like your father? Storming out, yelling at people, never apologizing, etc? I don't want to act like that. Do you think that's a good model for our children?"

This man is unlikely to change at this point in his life (unless the Holy Spirit gets a hold of him), but if you and your wife have a united front, then some of his behavior can be mitigated, at least around the children.
 

Chris

Administrator
Staff member
It sounds to me like your father-in-law has always had problems with his temper and childishness, and that your mother-in-law and your wife have always tiptoed around him. Mother tiptoed around his moods and demands, and taught daughter to do the same, and now they want you to as well.

In short, they have enabled this man for decades. No wonder they see you as the person upsetting the apple cart. They don't understand that it's not normal for the man in the family to be so immature in his demands that everyone constantly cater to his emotions.

For your wife to not blame you, she first has to realize that her father's behavior is not normal. It is not mature. I don't know if it would help to ask her, "Do you think it would be appropriate for me to act like your father? Storming out, yelling at people, never apologizing, etc? I don't want to act like that. Do you think that's a good model for our children?"

This man is unlikely to change at this point in his life (unless the Holy Spirit gets a hold of him), but if you and your wife have a united front, then some of his behavior can be mitigated, at least around the children.

:thumbup
 

Belle of Grace

Longing for Home
This man is unlikely to change at this point in his life (unless the Holy Spirit gets a hold of him), but if you and your wife have a united front, then some of his behavior can be mitigated, at least around the children.
The father-in-law isn't my concern in this whole scenario. The wife needs to stay loyal to her husband, especially in front of the children. The FIL has obvious relational issues. Minimize contact, travel with the wife and kids on some, not all, of the holidays and establish your own family traditions. The FIL can poison every holiday if you continue this close contact for decades to come.
 

Amethyst

Angie ... †
The father-in-law isn't my concern in this whole scenario. The wife needs to stay loyal to her husband, especially in front of the children. The FIL has obvious relational issues. Minimize contact, travel with the wife and kids on some, not all, of the holidays and establish your own family traditions. The FIL can poison every holiday if you continue this close contact for decades to come.
Exactly Lynn thats how I was seeing it as well.
 

Tall Timbers

Imperfect but forgiven
Not once in my life has he apologized to me, even after last year when he came to have dinner at my house and cursed me out in front of my kids

This would only have happened once in my house. After that the curser wouldn't step foot inside the house again until I was satisfied that the person understood 1) I will not be disrespected in my home by a guest, and 2) There will not be any cussing in my home.

Something similar happened to me in my home with my mother-in-law. While she was ranting I warned that if she didn't cease immediately that she would no longer be welcome in my home. I warned her three times and then told her she is no longer welcome in my home, that she could finish her visit but she would not be returning until I could trust her to behave appropriately. She tried once to come after that but was not allowed. She never came again and I never lost a minute of sleep over it. Your immediate family trumps your in-laws. Mis-behavors will behave if they are not allowed to mis-behave and if they want to be in your life, and/or the life of your wife and children. In the case above, the mother-in-law wanted to take photos of the kids while I was rushing to take them all to school. There was no time for pics. When I got back from getting them to school the mother-in-law began chewing me out.

If I were in your shoes, if/when we traveled to visit the in-laws we wouldn't stay in their home, but in a motel. That way there's an escape that can be made whenever necessary. The father-in-law would no longer be welcome in my house until I was satisfied that he understood the boundaries for his behavior when he was in your home.

:pray:pray:pray
 

alisani

Well-Known Member
I'm in agreement with what has been stated above, particularly from Lynn. Your wife is your one flesh and there is nothing in your interactions with your fil that should cause her to waiver in her support of you.

I think Reason has some spot on analysis of the dynamic that exists between your wife and her parents. Some people are avoidant. They will go above and beyond to avoid potential conflict or emotional and relational discomfort. This means they will often "turn a blind eye" towards bad behavior, and/or minimize that behavior to others. Watching you confront your fil may make his wife and your wife uncomfortable because it also gives them some degree of conviction with regards to their own responsibilities in allowing his bad behavior to flourish.

Regardless, do not doubt yourself. And as TT says, boundaries are ESSENTIAL. If his behavior is going to change, he needs to know there will be consequences.

I will pray for everyone involved in this situation. God values your marriage and family, you can trust Him to work in hearts and minds on behalf of you and yours.
 

Belle of Grace

Longing for Home
Your immediate family trumps your in-laws. Mis-behavors will behave if they are not allowed to mis-behave and if they want to be in your life, and/or the life of your wife and children.
Yes, indeed, they do! The husband/father is head of the home, the priest of the household. No one, regardless of who they are, should be allowed to topple him from this God-ordained role, even momentarily.
(We're discussing the typical household where the man is not an alcoholic/ abuser, so please don't anyone bring that perspective into this discussion, as it doesn't apply).
Matthew, it would be good if you & your wife could have a weekend retreat for just the two of you, and together you could explore God's Word to determine what your Creator has to say about marriage and the roles of husband and wife and parents. You both need to be on the same page, but it needs to be on a biblical page.
 

Matthew6:33

Withstand in the evil day. Eph 6:13
The wife needs to stay loyal to her husband, especially in front of the children.
The real problem in this situation is not the FIL but the wife not standing by her husband.
If you and your wife can become united on this, your FIL antics will not bother you anymore IMO.

Yes, this is the root. I have tried to talk it out with my wife since but it did not go too well. She said she agrees with me but not about everything (probably about a 60/40 in their favor if I had to guess). When it comes to setting boundaries that is where it gets real bad. She absolutely could not imagine telling them they are not welcome. They live near us so it is not just an annual thing. When I try to take a stand and say that we need to set boundaries for the protection of our family and our kids, she says if I do this it is going to make things worse and it is all because of my issues with them. I fear she is not looking at the long term repercussions of enabling bad behavior and she is just looking at the short term things like feelings, emotions, and confrontation.

I think Reason has some spot on analysis of the dynamic that exists between your wife and her parents. Some people are avoidant. They will go above and beyond to avoid potential conflict or emotional and relational discomfort. This means they will often "turn a blind eye" towards bad behavior, and/or minimize that behavior to others. Watching you confront your fil may make his wife and your wife uncomfortable because it also gives them some degree of conviction with regards to their own responsibilities in allowing his bad behavior to flourish.

Regardless, do not doubt yourself. And as TT says, boundaries are ESSENTIAL. If his behavior is going to change, he needs to know there will be consequences.

This is them. It is totally spiritual because they are able to pick and choose who they are able to confront about things even if confrontation is completely justified. If confrontation is justified, it usually won't take place, if it is unjustified or not necessary it usually does take place LOL!

It sounds to me like your father-in-law has always had problems with his temper and childishness, and that your mother-in-law and your wife have always tiptoed around him. Mother tiptoed around his moods and demands, and taught daughter to do the same, and now they want you to as well.

In short, they have enabled this man for decades. No wonder they see you as the person upsetting the apple cart. They don't understand that it's not normal for the man in the family to be so immature in his demands that everyone constantly cater to his emotions.

For your wife to not blame you, she first has to realize that her father's behavior is not normal. It is not mature. I don't know if it would help to ask her, "Do you think it would be appropriate for me to act like your father? Storming out, yelling at people, never apologizing, etc? I don't want to act like that. Do you think that's a good model for our children?"

This man is unlikely to change at this point in his life (unless the Holy Spirit gets a hold of him), but if you and your wife have a united front, then some of his behavior can be mitigated, at least around the children.

This completely nails it. I did use this question and it seems to help because it absolutely would not be acceptable for me to act like this. I keep thinking if the incident had reversed roles and if I did what my FIL did and he did what I did, I would definitely be the bad guy! This proves the enabling theory. I know I am not perfect and I can get angry and let my emotions drive at times but I know it is wrong and I try to apologize asap.

Another interesting discovery with this is my MIL told my wife a few weeks ago that they "feel disrespected by us" - I am confused by this. The only thing I can say is that maybe it is because we live completely different lifestyles (from our inlaws) as far as our faith, politics, and lifestyle. Maybe because we (and myself in particular) don't align or cater more to their beliefs/emotions/desires it makes them "feel disrespected?"

This is really a tough trial for me, thank you for the support, it is easy for me to get discouraged and doubt if I am doing the right thing, it would be so much easier not to care, and in all honesty sometimes I wish I didn't. Also since I have some problems with anger and emotions at times (which I know is wrong and God is working on this in me) I can easily become a scapegoat to allow the enabling of my FIL. The difference with my sin struggle is that nobody enables me and I actively know when things are wrong and I try my best to make things right.

I just need to worry about God's will in the situation and nobody else.

[Pro 29:25 KJV] 25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

[Act 5:29 KJV] 29 Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Thank you for your support and I pray God's will is done.
 
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lamonte

Well-Known Member
I have been a believer and been married going on 54 years. I have had this happen to me hundreds of times in my life. I know how you are feeling. I can’t tell you how many times I had to go to my Lord “1 John 1:9” and then to my wife and family and apologize about my attitude. Many times, I was right, but the Lord was telling me at the same time I was wrong. When I am sharing the good news of the Gospel, I never feel this way even though I am being attacked on all sides.

Christ was being crucified and He said “Luk 23:34” Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment and cast lots. I think of Stephen Act 7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

In Lk 9:59-60 a man heard Christ's call to follow Him. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. To me this verse is saying the dead is the world, so let the dead take care of the dead world and I want you to preach the Gospel.

When I look at the world through my spiritual eyes, I only see two kinds of people, those who believe in Christ and are his followers and those who don’t “unbeliever’s”. I don’t care what race they belong to or what country they live in. I don’t care what their politics is. If they are my enemy or my friend makes no different. If I could change one thing in my past it would be how I use my tongue.

When I look at the world through my natural eyes then all those things matter to me, this is daily battle for me. I don’t want to look through my natural eyes, I want to see the world through Jesus eyes. I need much prayer in this area.

I don't really think that Jesus Christ came to make the world a better place or bring religious groups together or ethnic groups. I think if he was born today and no matter where he lived, he would have been crucified. He came to delivered us from the power of darkness "world", and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

I think all the so-called great countries of the world will be destroyed by fire “1 Pet 3” at Jesus Christ coming that includes the United States. The world is like the Titanic full of pride and is self-centered. You can remodel, repaint, make it safer, make more law, fight evil but it is still going to seek, there is no Hope outside of Christ and his heavenly Kingdom.

There is hope for mankind and that is through the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. John 3:16
 

RestInHim

Well-Known Member
Yes, this is the root. I have tried to talk it out with my wife since but it did not go too well. She said she agrees with me but not about everything (probably about a 60/40 in their favor if I had to guess). When it comes to setting boundaries that is where it gets real bad. She absolutely could not imagine telling them they are not welcome. They live near us so it is not just an annual thing. When I try to take a stand and say that we need to set boundaries for the protection of our family and our kids, she says if I do this it is going to make things worse and it is all because of my issues with them. I fear she is not looking at the long term repercussions of enabling bad behavior and she is just looking at the short term things like feelings, emotions, and confrontation.



This is them. It is totally spiritual because they are able to pick and choose who they are able to confront about things even if confrontation is completely justified. If confrontation is justified, it usually won't take place, if it is unjustified or not necessary it usually does take place LOL!



This completely nails it. I did use this question and it seems to help because it absolutely would not be acceptable for me to act like this. I keep thinking if the incident had reversed roles and if I did what my FIL did and he did what I did, I would definitely be the bad guy! This proves the enabling theory. I know I am not perfect and I can get angry and let my emotions drive at times but I know it is wrong and I try to apologize asap.

Another interesting discovery with this is my MIL told my wife a few weeks ago that they "feel disrespected by us" - I am confused by this. The only thing I can say is that maybe it is because we live completely different lifestyles (from our inlaws) as far as our faith, politics, and lifestyle. Maybe because we (and myself in particular) don't align or cater more to their beliefs/emotions/desires it makes them "feel disrespected?"

This is really a tough trial for me, thank you for the support, it is easy for me to get discouraged and doubt if I am doing the right thing, it would be so much easier not to care, and in all honesty sometimes I wish I didn't. Also since I have some problems with anger and emotions at times (which I know is wrong and God is working on this in me) I can easily become a scapegoat to allow the enabling of my FIL. The difference with my sin struggle is that nobody enables me and I actively know when things are wrong and I try my best to make things right.

I just need to worry about God's will in the situation and nobody else.

[Pro 29:25 KJV] 25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

[Act 5:29 KJV] 29 Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Thank you for your support and I pray God's will is done.

Learning healthy boundaries is not as easy for some as it is for others, we are all different but they are absolutely essential for healthy relationships. Boundaries is from God Himself. We are to take responsibility for ourselves, what we think, feel, our behavior, what we will allow in our lives and not allow in our lives and our likes and dislikes. We are to be in control of ourselves, what we allow in and what we allow out, keeping the good in and the bad out and when we have bad inside we need to allow God to change us and even to seek others in the family of God to help us. We share in each others burdens but we are to carry our own load.

I'm still learning, but, I know that I've come a long way from what I was. At times, not always, I thought that to keep the peace meant allowing bad to go on and on, but, this is where I/we need to speak the truth in love and "yes" this is where it gets hard because some people will do everything they can to get you to agree with them or to blame you by trying to control you or pointing out your sin. This is what I was facing and this is not how God intends for relationships to be. EACH of us is responsible for our own behavior and we are to own it and ask for forgiveness when we wrong someone and IF we want to stay in relationship with others. This is where we see if others value the relationship as much as we do.

One thing to remember, it is never one sided, we all sin and we all are responsible to make the choice to either own up to our sin or not. Now, sometime it isn't always sin, it could just be difference in opinions or lack of respect in some area(s), in a healthy relationship there should be respect and allow others to have their own choices without it affecting the relationship. Love is what fuels relationships not control or manipulation.

In my own marriage, like all of our marriages we also need to work out healthy boundaries. DH is not saved and I found this to be harder. I could not expect him to behave like a Christians but I still had/have to look out for his good, meaning, I can say no to certain behaviors and speak the truth in love in what I didn't like and what was good for our marriage and in our marriage, even when it came to outside relationships. I know that for many years because I wanted to show love to him and our children/wives and extended family I would allow things to happen, I would do everything to keep the peace, but, it wasn't working and my own hurt and anger grew. This is a sign that something is wrong, that there is not healthy boundaries. I was allowing myself to be controlled and manipulated and when I did or do speak up and "yes" there we're times when I did get angry and didn't know how to deal with in properly and I would "feel" even worse because I sinned against them and God.

We need to remember who we are to please.... We are to please God, obey Him not man, do what is good in the sight of God that they may see Him in us and yes this will not always go well with others and we may be hated and lose relationships but remember God's word, He will guide you and establish your steps in what is right and what is wrong.

Don't worry about what others think, it is God whom we are to please. This is hard, because I love others and want a relationship with them, but, I know that God's ways are what are good and better. I/ we are called to follow Him, to guard our hearts and we know that when we follow Him, many will not like what we represent and many will feel like we don't love them, but, our love for them is based on God's word, it is not an emotional, feely feely, accept all kinds of situations and behaviors kind of love.

Because others would always point out my sin over and over and over, but, never want to deal with theirs really did not help me because I would in turn always fall into total condemnation and even though I hate my own sin, really hate when I sin, we all struggle with sin and we all are growing in Him. There is to be grace also because non of us are perfect! But, situations in relationships can completely go the other way sometimes when it is always about one person and never about both and what God's word says.

A verse I heard this past week while listening to a teaching that God has put upon my heart! Again, we are to pursue holiness in Christ, but we need to remember God's love for us as well and He knows our hearts and is wanting to do good in our lives so these situations are that very thing, He can and will do a good work in you. Trust Him.

I was encouraged by this verse.... "for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." (Jam. 1: 20)

We have the power of God within us to give us victory over sin, walk moment by moment with Him and allow His word to guide you in all things.

(Prov. 3: 6-7)
"In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall [a]direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil."

This is hard, but, remember God wants to do a good work in you.
:pray

edit to add: I forgot. A really good book to purchase is called "Boundaries" by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend. I believe they also have others, like one for marriages too.
 
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alisani

Well-Known Member
Learning healthy boundaries is not as easy for some as it is for others, we are all different but they are absolutely essential for healthy relationships. Boundaries is from God Himself. We are to take responsibility for ourselves, what we think, feel, our behavior, what we will allow in our lives and not allow in our lives and our likes and dislikes. We are to be in control of ourselves, what we allow in and what we allow out, keeping the good in and the bad out and when we have bad inside we need to allow God to change us and even to seek others in the family of God to help us. We share in each others burdens but we are to carry our own load.

I'm still learning, but, I know that I've come a long way from what I was. At times, not always, I thought that to keep the peace meant allowing bad to go on and on, but, this is where I/we need to speak the truth in love and "yes" this is where it gets hard because some people will do everything they can to get you to agree with them or to blame you by trying to control you or pointing out your sin. This is what I was facing and this is not how God intends for relationships to be. EACH of us is responsible for our own behavior and we are to own it and ask for forgiveness when we wrong someone and IF we want to stay in relationship with others. This is where we see if others value the relationship as much as we do.

One thing to remember, it is never one sided, we all sin and we all are responsible to make the choice to either own up to our sin or not. Now, sometime it isn't always sin, it could just be difference in opinions or lack of respect in some area(s), in a healthy relationship there should be respect and allow others to have their own choices without it affecting the relationship. Love is what fuels relationships not control or manipulation.

In my own marriage, like all of our marriages we also need to work out healthy boundaries. DH is not saved and I found this to be harder. I could not expect him to behave like a Christians but I still had/have to look out for his good, meaning, I can say no to certain behaviors and speak the truth in love in what I didn't like and what was good for our marriage and in our marriage, even when it came to outside relationships. I know that for many years because I wanted to show love to him and our children/wives and extended family I would allow things to happen, I would do everything to keep the peace, but, it wasn't working and my own hurt and anger grew. This is a sign that something is wrong, that there is not healthy boundaries. I was allowing myself to be controlled and manipulated and when I did or do speak up and "yes" there we're times when I did get angry and didn't know how to deal with in properly and I would "feel" even worse because I sinned against them and God.

We need to remember who we are to please.... We are to please God, obey Him not man, do what is good in the sight of God that they may see Him in us and yes this will not always go well with others and we may be hated and lose relationships but remember God's word, He will guide you and establish your steps in what is right and what is wrong.

Don't worry about what others think, it is God whom we are to please. This is hard, because I love others and want a relationship with them, but, I know that God's ways are what are good and better. I/ we are called to follow Him, to guard our hearts and we know that when we follow Him, many will not like what we represent and many will feel like we don't love them, but, our love for them is based on God's word, it is not an emotional, feely feely, accept all kinds of situations and behaviors kind of love.

Because others would always point out my sin over and over and over, but, never want to deal with theirs really did not help me because I would in turn always fall into total condemnation and even though I hate my own sin, really hate when I sin, we all struggle with sin and we all are growing in Him. There is to be grace also because non of us are perfect! But, situations in relationships can completely go the other way sometimes when it is always about one person and never about both and what God's word says.

A verse I heard this past week while listening to a teaching that God has put upon my heart! Again, we are to pursue holiness in Christ, but we need to remember God's love for us as well and He knows our hearts and is wanting to do good in our lives so these situations are that very thing, He can and will do a good work in you. Trust Him.

I was encouraged by this verse.... "for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." (Jam. 1: 20)

We have the power of God within us to give us victory over sin, walk moment by moment with Him and allow His word to guide you in all things.

(Prov. 3: 6-7)
"In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall [a]direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil."

This is hard, but, God remember God wants to do a good work in you.
:pray

edit to add: I forgot. A really good book to purchase is called "Boundaries" by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend. I believe they also have others, like one for marriages too.
Your post is a thing of godly beauty. Bless you for it because I know all who read it will be blessed themselves. I know I am.
 
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