A human being lives, but he is given life.
It seems that I am getting in the habit of writing an off topic post every week lately. Well today I would like to talk about family. Spending most of my adult life in the Navy you would think that I would be used to being away for the people I love the most, but the truth is it never gets any easier.
Today, October 22 I turned 48, getting older does not bother me and the truth is I kind of like it. You see after being on the earth for 48 years I hope, I have become at least a little wiser and with the exception of a few regrets, I have had a very happy and fulfilling life.
But as I said, today is my birthday and for the first time in 5 years I am once again alone. I do love being in Alaska and I truly love my job as a pastor for the church here, but being here alone on my birthday reminds me of how much family truly means to me.
I was blessed with a son and a daughter that I love more than life itself, I am lucky to have a father and mother whom I love very much and have had the pleaser of getting to know better over the past 5 years. And let’s not forget the 2 brothers I grew up with and 1 sister I just met for the first time before coming to Alaska this June. But even though my family is 4000 miles away I never stop thinking about them.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is (Eph. 3:14-19) I cannot help but think about what my family means to me it says; “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
So what does it mean to be a family? I know the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind is love but it takes more than just love. It takes patients, understanding and yes even forgiveness sometimes. Families will fight but that is where the understanding and forgiveness comes in, and without these elements in your family, even the strongest of the potter’s vessels will break.
I have read many books on family over the past 4 years and all of them talk of things like; families teach us the value of love and compassion, family is a place where you can be yourself, families are a place where you are accepted for what you are, without being judged, family supports you when you are surrounded by troubles. And they help you endure through tough times & bring joy and pleasure into life. While most of them talk of these things, they forget to tell us about putting God in to our families.
As a pastor I here all the good and bad about peoples families and if I had one thing to say to all of the families I have worked with is; if you want to make your family strong start with God first. He needs to be the foundation of any relationship, and as the father or mother it is your responsibility to teach this to your children, (Proverbs 22:6) says it best; “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” I truly believe this. And when the tough times arise, He can help us with the understanding and forgiveness and gives us the heart of true unconditional love.
To me family is everything and even though they are so far away, I hold them close to my heart and they are always in my prayers, for God has given them to me for just a short time and my hopes and wishes for them start there, with God, and with the hope that one day they too will understand the passion I have for His work.
I have one last comment; we were given a great commission by Jesus in (Matthew 28:18, 19) where He says; “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” So many times we forget that we need to start that process at home with our families.
So on this day I am even more grateful for them and I hope to see them all very soon.
I’m always thankful for my extended family; the family of God. I married a month after turning 19 and became a military wife for 10 years, spent 5 yrs with my family after he left the military, then moved eventually to TX where we bought out first home and most likely be away from family for the rest fo our lives. I visit yearly and stay for about a month…but it’s never the same. I always feel abit lonely when I’m away. I look forward for the church family to fill in the blanks; which they do. It takes only one close one to make you feel part of a family again. Even though I have my husband and kids, it feels great to have a extra “family” member come over the home every so often to share in the the experience.
I believe God puts the need in us to share our lives with others. He wants us to be a shinning light to others…and what better way than a living light. I’ve been blessed and enriched with family/friends that I have encountered through the years. Interesting during the 5 yrs back home I didn’t make those family/friends I normally find in the church. I oftened wondered what made the difference. I was thinking that most church members there had their natural born families around them, but I now wonder if it wasn’t that so much, but that I didn’t have as great of a need for extended family; my cup was full and I had no need for more. I was rich and in need of nothing. We shouldn’t ever think that way. We’re called to extend the church family, and the best way to do that is in seeing the need, invite them in and value them. These three points were presented in you three topic subjects. Good job Pastor Bob in letting the Spirit lead in ways you may not have understood.
I especially want to thank my present extended family: Joseph, Bobby, Rosi (my online study buddies) and my home study buddies that have recently been expanding and I’m feeling exceptionally blessed and feeling the love. I’m happy we’re trying out taking the studies to different homes, It’s extra special opening our homes to each others and letting others in more intimately. Thanks for the topical insight and opening yourself with us; your family.
I too am very thankful for all three of you as well. With me only being here for three months and working on my house most of the time I have had little time to find many friends. Having you three to study with and talk to on the phone have helped me so much.
Family plays a great role in our lives. Just like Pastor Bob said, when family is far you cannot stop to think about them when you are alone. Having stayed a way from my family for almost eight years now i cannot stand and say i am experienced in handling the void left by family, no i am not, but i am so grateful to God for the church family that i have. Rosi and Mildred have taken me and my family as brother and son respectively. David and Amalia and Arabel and Dezicai they have accepted me as one of them. The point i want to put a cross here is we can be family to anyone who wants one. When we accepted Christ we accepted a commission of accepting all Gods people. I am so grateful for the church, if i didn’t have it, i don’t know what i would have done. From my experiences i have seen people who come and go away from congregations because they feel like they are not part of that family. It is our responsibilities to make all feel like family by loving them, comforting , encouraging and above all is to forgive each other.
So true, we as Christians need to insure that the new people that come in to our church feel like one of the family and just like you the two families you talked about made me feel at home for the first day I came to Abilene church. I have a few families here that have tried to do the same for me here. Thank God for the church and the people in them.
When my dad was alive and in the military, we were never around extended family for very long. I love my extended family very much but I am not close to most of them. My family( 2 brothers and 3 sisters) became very close when in the military. We were all we had. This is why we began extending our “family” ties. My church family is in many ways closer to me than my biological family. Just like Joseph said, he is my dear brother. I know though that he misses his family desperately. I am so sorry and wish there was something I could do help, just as I wish I could help Bobby. You know you are loved and you are surrounded by friends, can talk to people on the phone or skype but it is still not the same. Amalia is becoming more and more one of the family every day. She is my sister too. One day, we will all meet in heaven. We will forever be together and never have to say goodbye for any reason. It is my prayer that our biological families will be with us too.