The Joy of Family

Written by: Vivian Wilson

My dad turned 90 years old last Friday. While he can’t remember what he had for lunch a minute ago, I am grateful that he still can remember his family. One of my brothers, David, lives here in the Houston area with his wife, Sharon. My other brother, Chip, lives in Kentucky with his wife, Suzie. My sister, Emily, lives in the Austin area. All were there to celebrate my dad. My other sister, Linda lives in California with her husband, David. She was not able to be here but she spoke to Dad on the phone.

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Dad lives in his own little world these days. It is a world where he lives in the moment. The recent past is non-existent to him. On occasion he will remember things from his childhood and those memories almost always involve his family, especially his siblings.

I have been thinking about the subject of relationships lately.

We were created in God’s image. We were created to be in relationship–connected–first to God and then to others. Family relationships are the strongest and endure time. Life happens, things change, but through it all family remains.

Oh, I know, not every family looks like the “Cleavers”, in fact none are perfect. But there is something about family that says, “We belong.” “We are valuable.”

God has made a way for all to belong and feel cherished as part of His family, so that even those who are orphaned or have in other ways been made to feel rejected, alone, or of little value, can find love and grace and worth.

In Christ, we are all children of God. We all have the same loving Father. In Him we are brothers and sisters.

So, just as I nurture my relationships with my “blood” family, shouldn’t I be intentional about nurturing my brothers and sisters in Christ? Shouldn’t we all live in such a way that our priorities reflect our availability to relate to our “family”?  And not just because they may need us, but because we need them, too.

I am busy. Too busy. But on reflection, I have come to be aware that much of my busyness is about me and exclusive of others.  That is not good!  It is time to make some changes. I want to be busy doing the work that God has planned for me to do. That will mean saying “yes” to some things and saying “no” to others. It will mean getting my priorities in line with God’s priorities for me.

There was a lot of joy evident at the celebration of my dad’s birthday. It was born out of the loving relationships we share. That same joy is available 24/7 for all of God’s children as we actively live in loving relationships with each other just as He commanded us to do in John 15:11-12.

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

A work in progress,

Vivian

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