Saturday, May 24, 2014

3 things about family

A room filled with memories of family visits
This week I visited with a sibling, uncles and aunts, cousins, a nephew and a niece across Canada. I stowed a lot of great memories. Our tribe affirmed three things about a healthy family:

1. Family reminds us of where we've been. My uncle gave me a picture of Grandma and Grandpa, their 5 children, and the 5 spouses. I'm taking that photo along when we move to remind me that I fit in somewhere (for a day when my light skin, hair, and eye coloring will be the strangest thing someone sees). 

A visit to the cemetery to leave
flowers at Auntie M's gravestone
We heard stories about our grandparents, parents, and the extended family since we were little. Those stories remind us where we came from and who we were. They tell us of the plans that worked and things that were hard. Of gifts and talents. Places and journeys. These tales carve into our collective memory the past accomplishments, failures, work, and generosity of the clan.

2. Family reminds us of who we are. We inherit our personalities, physical shapes, the way we think and learn, and many other traits. However, the way we respond to the world with those traits determines our character. Our combination of genetics and developed character makes us uniquely important to the world.

The loving affirmation of family assures us we can do anything that God calls us to. Our wins are their wins: we don't have to worry that they think we're bragging when we share accomplishments. (How nice to be able to say, "Guess what I did! Be happy with me!") On the other hand, they don't humiliate us when we need help; we protect because we know each other's weaknesses.

Cousins and friends since childhood
With God's help and a caring family, we become big enough. Strong enough. Our support team is in place. When we stumble, family picks us up and dusts us off before pulling us forward again. 

3. Family shapes our future. The goals and aspirations of a family have a lot to do with our hopes and dreams. Parents interested primarily in material things teach their children that money and comparison with others are important. Others value sports and cheer their kids in games, investing a lot of time and money. BTW: my brothers and I never considered being sports champions. The family were musicians. Our musical bent and training rewarded me with 33 years of self-employment. (Bonus: few surgeries or physical therapy, unlike our sports-loving peers = music is easier on the joints!)

Our family values asking God for direction. We expect that God will lead and guide his Church so we serve in communities of faith. Praying with my brother and my uncle this week, I felt sheltered and affirmed. How many prayers we have already offered for each other - and how many more we will call out to God, regardless of the miles that separate us.

A casual pose with the kids 2014
How does your family affirm who you are and who God is calling you to be? If they cheer you on in scriptural principles and right living, you are blessed indeed. If they try to hold you back, remember that your Father in heaven and your Christian family is connected across the world. We're on your team - certain that God oversees every bit of our history and future accomplishments.

If your family is not supportive, who could help you reach your potential by boosting you in the right direction?

Read more:
*You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit. Job 10:12 ESV

*Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10 ESV

*John writes to Gaius: Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. 3 John 2 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Merciful Lord, our lives are in your hands. Guide our hearts and encourage our minds to follow you all of our days. Preserve in us, Lord, the way of your light. Amen.

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