Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about family. Not just my own, although my husband and my children are permanently etched in my heart and soul, but the concept of family as such. I often speak about living life in family and how to me, family is an expression of true beauty. But I’ve come to realize that not everyone feels that way.
What does family look like?
To some, family is the epitome of home, security, love and comfort. It’s where you go for support and consolation. It’s where you belong. That’s where you find the greatest joy and the deepest sorrow, and it’s all good because it brings us together. In family you find the foundation to build upon, the motivation for accomplishment, the pit stop, the charging point, the well, the table. It’s where all things awry are made right.
Unless it’s not.
To others, family carries negative connotations. It’s where your hopes faded; where dreams withered, and expectations were never met. The mere thought of family makes your mind scream in pain and your body go numb. It’s a constant reminder of chaos, disruption, fear and hurt. It’s where you lost yourself. You figured that you’d rather be an orphan. So, you decided that you were one.
Even though you were not.
Maybe you are still angered by the God who speaks of himself as the Father. You may find it hard to relate to Jesus, the Son of God, though this son of man who sympathizes with our weaknesses, were tempted just as we are, yet without sin. The many names of the Holy Spirit, such as comforter, helper, counselor and strengthener, may sound hollow and foreign because, truth be told, there wasn’t much of that when you grew up. The idea of the trinity as a family may provoke you into giving up on faith altogether.
It’s hard to embrace God the Father when your concept of fatherhood has been corrupted. But your experience still doesn’t change who he is. He is the Father who loves you and who never gave up on you. The one who cheered you on when you batted and was moved to tears when you sang. He’s the Papa who couldn’t wait to pick you up and play with you, just to make you happy. He is the proud Dad who inscribed you on his hands for everyone to see. God is the Father who patiently waited for his child to come home, who left the door wide open for you to enter in, and who lovingly embraced you, no questions asked.
Living life in your family
Your family stretches beyond the boundaries of your home. You have a heavenly Father who invested Heaven’s treasure to give you eternal life. Your bloodline was redeemed by Jesus. You are no longer subject to whatever harsh word that was spoken over you when you grew up. Because the Father speaks a better word: You are loved. Treasured. Worth sacrificing for. Holy Spirit sings God’s truth over you: That you are a son, a daughter; a beloved child – wanted and celebrated.
You were never meant to fend for yourself, you belong in a family. You have brothers and sisters who love the same Father. They might let you down occasionally, because siblings do sometimes. But together they reflect the Father’s heart as they love a dying world back to life. It doesn’t matter that they are imperfect because so are you. We all are. I know I am. But we still belong together. It’s called church.
You came running down my prodigal road
You came running with a ring and a robe
Grace is the collision on the way back home
With the arms of a Father who won’t let go