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.