I can’t help but think about family right now. As I scroll through Facebook, I see the well wishes to fathers and grandfathers and significant men from mothers, wives and daughters. Gratefulness for healthy families, silence when relationships are strained.
We added a new granddaughter this week and I am so blessed watching my daughter and her husband parent their girls. It makes me wish I could do it again. Well, not really… just theoretically.
And I think about my own father. September will be the 10th anniversary of his passing. Somehow memories of him are frozen in time. There are times when I wish for one more conversation. One more time to choose to listen rather than argue, understand rather than convince. But in spite of that, I had an amazing father who cared for us, protected us, provided for us, respected us. My greatest joy when he passed suddenly is that there were no regrets. Nothing left unsaid, nothing that needed forgiving. Just sadness that he was gone so suddenly.
And I think about the father of my children. I could go on for pages about the way he cares for our children. He loves them ferociously, stays awake at night for them, checks in on them, cheers them on. He wonders how they are handling what life hands to them and is their best cheer leader.
And I muse about families. Yesterday our son invited our family to his home and we enjoyed filets mignons on the grill together. The food was great and the conversation lively. But what really meant so much to Dave and I was just being together. On the way home we commented how much we enjoy our family. Adult children and grandchildren are wonderful.
But they can be the worst too. I thought of families separated because of fighting. Fathers and sons estranged, mothers and daughters alienated, brothers and sisters on the outs.
I thought of families separated because of Jesus. Children choosing a faith different from their parents. Children choosing faith when their parents did not.
How do I explain to my parents, who also choose Jesus, that I am getting piercings, tattoos, hair cuts, clothing that they don’t like? That I worship in ways unfamiliar to them? That I am choosing a path different from the one they are on?
How do I explain to my family, who do not choose Jesus, why this is important to me? Why I choose a worship service over a day at the lake? Why I save money for a missions trip and forego a family vacation to Disney World? Why I sell something so I can give to a family in need?
I pondered all of that this today. And then I thought of Jesus. His family didn’t understand him. The gospels record that his mother and brothers came to get him because they thought he was a little crazy. His brothers mocked him, telling him he needed to go public with his miracles if he wanted a following.
Jesus redefined family which probably didn’t win any points for him with his biological family. Three of the gospels record Jesus’ mother and brothers coming to see him. When the people told him his mother and brothers were there, he said, “Who are my mothers and brothers? It is whoever hears God’s word and obeys it.”
Jesus also promised that whatever you lose when you follow him will be given back to you in this world and in the one to come many times over.
You might not have had a great father. Your mother may have neglected you. Your family might be rejecting you now because you choose Jesus or because you choose Jesus in a way different from them. I want you to know, Jesus gets it. He knows exactly what it feels like to be rejected, mocked and abandoned. His own earthly father, Joseph, is thought to have died while he was a child. So he knows fatherlessness.
It may seem a bit impractical to come to Jesus with your insecurities and doubts. I mean, is he really going to tell you how to overcome your fears? I think he will, so stick with me. I would like to walk you through a simple exercise this week.
A couple of years ago, I was teaching a class at church and we used music in different ways throughout class. One evening we listened to a song by Casting Crowns entitled Just be Held. After class, one of the ladies asked me how a person does that? Well, the short answer is, draw on the right side of the brain.
We will explore that this week, but for today, take a moment and read the following psalm. Highlight the part of it that resonates the most with you today.
Read: Psalm 62
Until next time…
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.Numbers 6:24-26