I had no idea I would get so caught up in ancestry research. It’s captivating. With the Internet, it’s an emotional roller coaster too. One minute I’m tracking the sister of a grandfather who died before I was born. The next minute, I’m looking at a photo of her, taken 7 years before I was born, and 9 years before her death. The family resemblance is striking. My father must have known her, though he never mentioned her. One click of a button says, “She is your grand aunt.” Wow. I’m a grand aunt myself. My grand niece is one of my favorite people. This grand aunt never got to meet me. It’s strange, isn’t it, to compare similar relationships that are so different?
The emotions continue as I read about the premature deaths of my grandfather’s siblings. One died at four years old; another at 21. Another died very young on New Year’s Eve. Suddenly I was there, sharing in the grief of those who loved them. They were no longer boxes on a diagram. They were real people. People whose blood runs in my veins; whose lives have made a difference in my life, even though I never knew them. Their deaths were long ago but the grief was fresh for me. What did losing three of her children feel like for the mom whose husband had just died as well?
That last fact is the only thing I knew from my dad about his family. By the time I was born, my dad was 51 and most of his folks had passed on. He never talked about his past, at least not to me. Then he died when I was 15. But he did once talk about how his middle-age grandfather was killed by a wild hog he was raising on his farm. My dad didn’t tell me the story; I overheard him telling it to someone else. That tragic death always seemed horrible to me. But here I am, scrolling through time on a computer screen to find it wasn’t just one tragic death, but many. How did that mom – my great grandmother – survive?
Through many years of inner healing, I’ve learned to look for signs of generational curses that need to be broken. From my mom’s side of the family, I recognized years ago a curse of premature death. I prayed to close those doors to the enemy, to repent and ask the Lord to turn things around, and to receive the biblical blessings of a long and satisfying life (Psalm 91:15-16). Not till today did I realize my dad’s side carried the same curse. I’ll be spending time in prayer today.
Despite the curses, I’ve heard many stories about a strong and tenacious great grandmother on my mom’s side. With the trauma in my life, I’ve thanked God for the legacy of this woman who endured so much. She drew her strength from the Lord and though I never met her, she modeled how I should live. When my husband left me and things were so hard, I even took her name as my surname, as a constant reminder that, “The Lord will get me through all of this.”
Today I’m blessed to discover another strong great grandmother on my dad’s side of my family tree. To share in her grief and loss; to praise God she was willing to endure so much; and to recognize the things she sacrificed so that I might have life. I thank God for the generational healing that has broken the curse of premature death off my family, so that our descendants may live. I think my newly discovered great grandmother would join me in that celebration, and I wonder what words of encouragement she would offer if she were here.
Is there someone in your family line that died before you were born, but whose good legacy has shaped your life? What can you do to grow in appreciation of the life that person led? Are there curses you’ve seen traveling through your family line? Similar patterns that repeat themselves from one generation to the next? Ask the Lord to help you identify and repent for them, so those curses can be broken and blessings released in their place.
In the coming weeks I’ll share more about how the Lord has led me to break generational curses, and the changes I’ve seen. But start today by asking Him about your family, and what stands in the way of your generational blessings. You’ll be amazed what He will show you. He wants you to live free.