Monday, March 23, 2015

Family and Easter

Nothing is as special as the real physical family we’re born in or married into! One of my greatest joys on earth is the special feeling I have when I’m with my family. I like knowing any details of life they’re willing to share and I feel privileged to pray for them every day. Don’t you love being with yours– immediate and extended.

I wrote my previous blog about the figurative family of God, our brothers and sisters in Christ - some suffer and are in need – and our desire as Christians to care for them. Yes, they are important. But I want to make clear that in no way do I equate this with the specialness of my physical blood-linked and covenant linked family on earth.

It’s amazing how extended family becomes ever more dear as the years zip by– aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, even our first great niece (gasp) precious Josephine. Facebook helps us stay connected.

Family is a warm, safe, place in your mind and heart – whether you’re physically close or separated by miles. Strong, connected families matter to God. Jesus exalted the family structure. Remember one of Jesus’ final deeds spoken from the cross was to make sure his mother was taken care of by asking the apostle John to look after her.

Easter will soon be here. Many of us celebrate by connecting again with extended family as we did at Christmas. Which leads me to encourage anyone who has a broken relationship with another family member whatever the issue to rethink it. It’s not worth savoring and clinging to your hurt. I urge you to give God your pain. He knows how to heal you. Chalk up your differences to human imperfection. Can you possibly admit that you just maybe aren’t perfect either and forget the pain from the past?

Dislikes can happen. Not all extended family is easy to live with, personality types may clash, but there is an oh so sweet bond that forever links you together and something in your spirit won’t feel entirely whole until you make peace. We don’t have to like everything about our family members. We can still love one another. And even have fun together.

As a counselor I work in the realm of families and have observed firsthand how family divisions destroy inner peace. The primary reason people seek counseling is because of rifts in the family – with a marriage partner, parents, a child or grief over the loss of a family member. Resolution of these issues is a privilege to behold.

Anyone coming to mind? Perhaps do something unexpected and beautiful for the person who has offended you. Send an old-fashioned, still meaningful gift of flowers, candy – whatever - find a way to say you’re still family and important in my life.

What an amazing Lenten sacrifice, an Easter gift, is the humility to say a thank You prayer to the Lord for the family He’s placed you in and added others into.

A suggested family prayer might be: Lord, Help me love them because You do and because You command me to love them as well.  Show me ways I can do good to these precious people who form my physical family on earth.

Yes the family of God is important, but nothing compares to the real, physical family we do life with on earth. Ours is awesome!

This blog is for all our children and their spouses and in-law connections and our grandchildren, and for Joy and Dave and Jennifer and Chris and Nikolas and Frank and Catherine &your children and  Jenny and Craig and your sons, and Dawn, and Jessica and Tony your Josephine, Lauren, Al and your little ones. Lindsay and Carrie and Kyle and Molly and Kevin and your daughters, Glenn and Judy and Greg and Summer and your sons, Bill & Sue, Kathy and Bob, Jim and Jacqueline, Sue, Melissa, Josh, Crissie & Russ and all your precious children and Tanis and Nancy and Gail and Karen and Dorothy and Muriel, Cindy, Jeanne, John and your families. Roger and Marilyn, Jay and Judy and your children. And of course our family in heaven – our four parents, my brother Jim, grandson Drew and cousin Chuck in heaven and for all the yet to be born family members! (And anyone I inadvertently left out.)

"Do you have any idea how very homesick we became for you dear friends (and family). Even though it hadn't been that long and it was only our bodies that were separated from you, not our hearts, we tried our very best to get back to see you. You can't imagine how much we missed you!" 
The words of Paul in Scripture verse: 1 Thess. 2:17-18 Message Bible