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Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “family”

Words Of Comfort

I had not noticed it until I picked up my Bible to prepare for my next blog entry—this blog entry….  I was to read, beginning at the 14th chapter of John.  Finding my placement, there it was:

Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me.  —John 14:1

Woman Reading Bible

These were the words which comforted me, just days ago, as I stared at them inside my cousin’s coffin.  No really, they soothed my soul.  You see, tears fell uncontrollably when I first saw my cousin’s lifeless body.  I had a hard time walking down the aisle at the funeral home only to sit in the front row at the Family Viewing.  The reality of not being greeted by her always welcoming smile and hospitality, wit and wisdom was setting in.  These were things I always received when visiting this Georgian city, one where my ancestors were instrumental in its development and discovery.  I guess I took for granted that this cousin would always be there.  Reality was setting in, however.  There is a season for all things.

Rest

So, there I sat—crying and staring, staring and crying.  Then, I noticed the words that were inscribed inside her coffin. I began to remember their meaning, Jesus’ instruction.  Knowing my cousin, I am confident that her soul is rejoicing.

Face

Yes, I will continue to miss her.  I will not be sad, however.  She would not want me to be unhappy.  Instead, I will be encouraged by her life and by the way in which she lived here on earth.  Her ability to touch hundreds, if not thousands, of lives across generations, professions, socio-economic brackets, and political affiliations is simply remarkable.  I did not know the extent of the reach of her assignment until her death, and through death I know she still lives.  My heart is not troubled.  Jesus promised then, and He reiterates it now as I note the timing of my preparation for this blog entry.  Words of Comfort.

How Do You Identify?

So, I needed to learn a painful lesson about a population within those professing Christianity.  I was naïve and unsuspecting, so the sting of the teaching provoked my soul to weep.  Dazed and confused, it took a committed period of time which I devoted to prayer, listened to my Father’s instruction, and surrendered to a building of thicker skin around a softer heart.  Have you ever been disappointed by the intentional acts of fellow Christians?  How did you react?  Have you healed?

Rest

“Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do?  I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’  “But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said.  ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’  So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him….  —Luke 20:13-15

I remember earlier this year, I attended a meeting.  I knew I could not stay for its entirety, but I wanted to obtain some information about the organization to determine if I would join or not.  I quietly sat in the back of the room as to not cause a distraction upon my exit.  The next day, I received a call from the organization’s President (whom I did not know prior).  In our conversation she said, very matter-of-factually, “No, you can’t slip in and out of places.  No matter how quiet you think you are, people know you and your presence means something.”  Really?

Although I have not joined that organization, the words of its President have stuck with me.  Truth is, even dim light shines.  One’s eye is naturally and supernaturally drawn to Light, no matter the intensity.  Light radiates without exception.  This, I needed to be one with.

If you are like me, you only want to be where God wants you.  Sometimes I am sent to comfortable surroundings; Other times the environments feel undeniably unpleasant.  As long as I believe I am where God wants me, however, I am assured.  In each of these environments, oftentimes I discover that I am not the only one with beliefs founded in Christ.  Interestingly, there was a time when I would make assumptions of kinship if I was aware that another Brother or Sister was present.  I have since learned that such expectations are not always mutual.

Frog

Jealousy is a powerful emotion, one consumed by some who profess Christianity.  I am not sure how often this is addressed, but a silence on the subject is devastating.  People will submit (at least in practice) to being under a Greater Authority.  They will agree that they and you are under the same Authority.  They will discern that you are working in accordance to that Authority.  Then, they will plot ways to put out your Light, i.e. to kill you (spiritually).  Their jealousy has been stirred.  You become their target, their threat because you have been sent and are working according to His will and way.  Yes, YOU!  Their Brother.  Their Sister.  Sadly, they do not  identify with you as Family.  A shared faith seems to mean nothing.  Agape love, what’s that?  Sheep or wolf?  Remember this, the enemy seeks to kill, steal, and destroy.  How do you identify?

It Is Expected

There is something amazingly powerful about standing on grounds where your ancestors are respected.  Recently, I took a trip to Georgia.  I absolutely love being around my Georgian family.  Around them, you know you are with family.  There is much laughter and endless love.  Conversation is honest.  You know you are being watched, but observations are to make sure you are ok…and if you are not, guidance, advice, and encouragement will be rendered.  There is no doubt that you are connected and in that linkage you are safe, safe to be great.

3.26.15 Instant hand on neck - Copy

I am the great-granddaughter to individuals who helped build an area for the betterment of the community as a whole.  They were a part of the first graduating classes, founders, builders, landowners, etc. all the while working to enhance a community along side of others with the same vision, the same goals.  When I think of the period in time and what they were able to accomplish, I gain strength in knowing that I am a part of them and they are a part of me.

My ancestors are faith-rooted people, so it is no surprise that I am.  They were courageous, as am I.  They were visionaries and hard workers.  Although I was born after their deaths, I am able to still know them because they left legacies that my current family members openly acknowledge and applaud.  They left an expectation for those of us following to build upon and expand.  They left their stories and life examples that: the road will not always be easy, the sacrifice will at times be great but to whom much is given, much is expected…and much is expected.

Standing amongst the trees and on roads that saw my ancestors, that heard their voices, and witnessed their work,  I felt their connection, their powerful presence.  I am reminded that if they could accomplish the visions given to them in the time periods of which they were born, I too can accomplish those given to me in this day and age.  After all, it is expected!

 

Big Picture

At times I struggle being a part of “ready-made” groups.  I wonder how many other people wrestle with this, yet remain.  Why do I struggle?  Is it the “rules”?  Could it be the people?  Maybe it is a combination of both…or neither?  Maybe it is it me?

Rest

“Master,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.”

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.”  —Luke 9:49-50

“Ready-made” groups,  I find, are interesting assemblies.  People join them for different reasons, one of which is that of making a commitment to support its purpose, cause, and/or mission.  Then, oftentimes, the big picture is loss.  Members become territorial about the goal.  Why does this happen?  Why do people become bothered if they see someone outside of the group promoting the cause?  Hence, my struggle.

These days, I regularly remind myself and others, “What is the big picture?”  Being clear about the goal settles me down.  It shows me my allies, as well as, my opposition.  It enables me to appreciate the skillsets, talents, gifts, and creativity of my associates, especially when they differ from mine.  It makes things simple, increasing my awareness about the group’s true members.  Do you know your Family?

We Are Family

Remember when Sister Sledge sang, “We Are Family”?  That song always made me happy because I had an idea of what family meant and that mental association filled my spirit with joy.  Like so many others, as I grew older I expanded my definition of family to include friends.  Friends disappointed me though.  Such disappointment reminded me that family is family in fact, not contingent on how I may feel.

One day, I found myself in another environment which challenged me to redefine my concept of family.  Yes, one day I was entering a church building and someone referenced me as a Sister.  Up until that point, I was not in the practice of identifying other Christians as my Brother or Sister.  Initially, I frowned by these labels because outside of Sunday sanctuaries, these same people fell significantly short when compared to the behavior of my biological family and really close friends, who were my family.  It took some time, but I began to understand what Jesus meant.

Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother. “  —Mark 3:35

Friends

These days, if someone identifies themselves as a Christian I take notice.  I want to know if we are Family, so I pay attention to their traits.  Truth is, for me being around family is fun and I am always open to meeting new relatives.  It makes no difference if I see my family members often or not, the love that exists in the security of knowing that we are bonded through blood creates an unspoken fort of protection.  It creates an environment where we can relax, be vulnerable, and love without fear of being taken advantage of or of rejection.  We cheer, challenge, and assist each other to higher heights.  Jealousy does not exist amongst Family.  We understand the concept of being blessed by association.  The unity we have is reflected in the verses Sister Sledge sang:

Ev’ryone can see we’re together
As we walk on by
(FLY!) and we fly just like birds of a feather
I won’t tell no lie
(ALL!) all of the people around us they say
Can they be that close
Just let me state for the record
We’re giving love in a family dose

What a powerful image: FAMILY.  Either we are, or we are not.  Differences in our denominations, our complexions, our languages keep many sanctuaries segregated.  These things become distractions, keeping many Relatives apart and diverting many away from one crucial question, “Are you doing God’s will?”

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