Family

Caricatures Faces Funny Family Image

We have recently experienced yet another family upheaval. And once again I am pondering the meaning of the term “family”. Is family supposed to be based solely on genetic connections? Does the multiple combinations of combined and shared DNA define what a family is? Does family also include those who, by choice and by the lawful joining of two people thus create an even bigger family? Or is a family simply those people in your life who, regardless of genetics or lawful joining, are those people who love, support, comfort and encourage you?

In my own life experience, my unit of family made up of shared DNA, has shattered apart from a family of 5 to a family of 2. And has hard as I have tried to re-connect with my other DNA partners, they have not reached out to make the re-connection.

My unit of family created by the lawful joining of my first husband and myself grew to contain 2 more units of shared DNA family members. That family also shattered apart to become 3 distinct family units of their own, only one of which has any real connection to this parental DNA unit.

I am very blessed to still have a very strong bond with my DNA mom, 1 son, and granddaughter. 🙂

I was also very blessed to have a second chance at becoming another family unit by the lawful joining of myself to a wonderul new hubby. By osmosis, I have been included into his DNA family units and enjoy a great relationship with my in-law “brothers and sisters”. These “in-law” family members have become much closer to me than my own DNA sharing sisters and father.

The VERY TRICKY part of this new family combination has been my hubby’s 2 DNA family units – known to me as “the step-kids”. This new type of family forces DNA sharers from one family to try to encorporate themselves, willingly or otherwise, into a new form of family unit.

For the past seven years I have worked very hard at not becoming the stereotypical “evil step-mother”. However, I regretfully confess that the evil step-mother may have come out for a wild ride recently. The “good” (ahem) stepmother had the straw that broke the camel’s back placed upon her already burdened shoulders and she had had enough of watching her beloved hubby being taken for granted and misused by his DNA units. So she spoke what she felt was the truth – and the truth was not well received – not well at all.

This whole dysfunctional family thing just keeps making me wonder what, exactly, is family supposed to be? And if the traditional sense of family is no longer functioning, is it okay to walk away from it and find your loving family with other people, whether or not they are genetically or lawfully joined to you?

Webster’s 1829 Dictionary gives the following definitions of “family”:

1. The collective body of persons who live in one house and under one head or manager; a household, including parents, children and servants, and as the case may be, lodgers or boarders.

2. Those who descend from one common progenitor; a tribe or race; kindred; lineage. Thus the Israelites were a branch of the family of Abraham; and the descendants of Reuben, of Manasseh, &c., were called their families. The whole human race are the family of Adam, the human family.

3. Course of descent; genealogy; line of ancestors.

Since I believe that the institue of family was created by God, I am going to find out what He says about family in His Word.

The word in the Old Testament that has been translated to “family” is the Hebrew word “mishpâchâh”;
(mish-paw-khaw’) : a family, that is, circle of relatives; and by extension, a tribe or people.

In the New Testament, the Greek word “patria” (pat-ree-ah’) means: paternal descent, that is, (concretely) a group of families or a whole race (nation): – family, kindred, lineage.

Hmmmm –  after doing some research, my understanding of family has changed somewhat. I found it interesting to note that not once did I find a definition that actually states that a family is made up of people who love one another. According to Webster’s definition and the terms used in the Bible, family seems to simply mean humans who are connected through DNA and/or living arrangements.

Perhaps the misunderstanding of the term “family” is what causes so many problems? One assumes that to be part of a family means to be loved, yet so many of us know, unfortunately, that is not our reality. I think we believe that “family” automatically implies love, yet sharing DNA, or a lawful joining and/or a living arrangement does not guarantee love. In fact, it often inspires the opposite of love – hatred.

Since “family” seems to be a complex topic, I am going to do some more research and will continue sharing my thoughts in another post.

Blessings, and enjoy the following excerpt from “I’m My Own Grandpa” written by Moe Jaffe. 🙂

“I’m My Own Grandpa”

Now, many many years ago
When I was twenty three
I was married to a widow
Who was pretty as could be

This widow had a grown-up daughter
Had hair of red
My father fell in love with her
And soon the two were wed

This made my dad my son-in-law
And changed my very life
My daughter was my mother
‘Cause she was my father’s wife

To complicate the matters
Even though it brought me joy
I soon became the father
Of a bouncing baby boy

My little baby then became
A brother-in-law to dad
And so became my uncle
Though it made me very sad

For if he was my uncle
That also made him the brother
Of the widow’s grown-up daughter
Who, of course, was my step-mother

I’m my own grandpa
I’m my own grandpa
It sounds funny I know
But it really is so
I’m my own grandpa

 

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A Good Man

Eph 5:25 Husbands, have love for your wives, even as Christ had love for the church, and gave himself for it; 

In my personal experience, it seems like this world has had far too few “good men”. However, today I get to celebrate the fact that God is a merciful and gracious God of second (and third, fourth, fifth….) chances because six years ago He gave to me that elusive creature, a good man.

Six years ago, on top of the bluff over-looking the sun setting on Lake Huron, I was blessed to marry Paul, the love of my life; my best friend; my soul mate; my kindred spirit; my steadying anchor. He truly is the one “whom my soul loves”.

Paul is a man of honour and integrity. He is compassionate and kind. He is understanding and patient with me and all my accompanying baggage of pain, fatigue, and mental health struggles. He is intelligent, very witty and extremely humourous. I swear I have WAY more laugh lines than frown lines because of him. He is very tender, loving and affectionate.

I am not sure what it is that I love most about him but I know that he has made me feel safe, secure, valued and treasured. This is very important to me because for most of my life, the important men in my life have left me feeling inadequate, insecure, rejected and unprotected.

While he is not perfect (who among us is?), my Paul truly is that wonderful rare creature – a good man.

Paul, “I will love you forever; I will like you for always. As long as I’m living, my “hubby” you’ll be”!

Happy Anniversary “Bestie”. 

 

Eph 5:28 Even so it is right for husbands to have love for their wives as for their bodies. He who has love for his wife has love for himself: 

When Healing Doesn’t Come

Rom 8:25 But if we have hope for that which we see not, then we will be able to go on waiting for it. (BBE)

As a former nurse, I have seen much suffering. As well my own sufferings (fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, arthritis, cancer, panic attacks), many of my loved ones also suffer. So the subject of healing is one that is near and dear to my heart.

While I love God and believe in His Word, there are a number of topics on which I am not quite clear, and healing is one of them. I have done extensive study on the subject and have put everything that I have learned into practice. I have watched Christian healing teaching videos over and over. I have read and re-read many books on the subject. I have rebuked symptoms and spoken healing scriptures over and over again. I have prayed in tongues and I have laid hands on the sick. I have believed for healing with everything that is within me.

So I must confess to some (ok – a lot) of bewilderment when healing does not manifest itself in either my own body or that of my loved ones.

When it came to the issue of my own healing – or NOT healing, as it were, I came to a place in my faith life wherein I had an important choice to make. I could either get angry and frustrated with God, which would damage my relationship with Him, or I could stop struggling and just accept what was (and is) and leave it in God’s hands. I confess that this is much harder for me to do when it is a dear loved one suffering – I feel so helpless.

My relationship with God is more important to me than my own healing, so I have chosen to try to be more aceepting and peaceful about my situation. I also try to remember a very wise statement my mother once made concerning her own struggle with suffering. She told me that she has chosen to believe that God’s Word is true so that when His Word says: “1Pe 2:24 He took our sins on himself, giving his body to be nailed on the tree, so that we, being dead to sin, might have a new life in righteousness, and by his wounds we have been made well.” (BBE) she believes that she is healed, even if it means that she won’t manifest it until Jesus comes again.

Rom 8:21 That all living things will be made free from the power of death and will have a part with the free children of God in glory.
Rom 8:22 For we are conscious that all living things are weeping and sorrowing in pain together till now.
Rom 8:23 And not only so, but we who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we have sorrow in our minds, waiting for the time when we will take our place as sons, that is, the salvation of our bodies.

On my rough days, and when loved ones are suffering, I try to remind myself that the present suffering is nothing compared to the glory that awaits us in Heaven and that having patience and holding fast to faith is earning us great rewards and crowns of glory.

Rom 8:18 I am of the opinion that there is no comparison between the pain of this present time and the glory which we will see in the future. (BBE)

Rom 8:25 But if we have hope for that which we see not, then we will be able to go on waiting for it. (BBE)

Rev 2:10 Have no fear of the things which you will have to undergo:… Be true till death, and I will give you the crown of life. (BBE)

If you or a loved one are suffering and awaiting healing, I pray that God will fill you with faith, hope, comfort, and peace. I also pray for your healing and deliverance, in the name of Jesus.

Blessings

 

Mom’s Visit

My Mom came for a visit today. Neither one of us was feeling particularly energetic but as it was a beautiful day we decided to toddle around the arts and crafts show happening in our town square (really it’s more of an octagon).

We ended our time together relaxing in the living room while enjoying cool and sweet chai tea frappes. YUM!

Before Mom got into her car, she drew me into her arms and said, “let me enfold you in an embrace of great love and affection”. I thought that sounded so much more poetic than “give us a hug”.

I liked the saying so much that I just had to share it!

I think that is what God, through His son Jesus Christ, is saying to us – “Come to me my child, and let me enfold you in an embrace of great love and affection.”

Mar 10:15 Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter into it.
Mar 10:16 And taking them up in His arms, He put His hands on them and blessed them.

 

(Image from http://<a href=’http://wori88.com’>http://wori88.com</a>

Turtle Power

Yesterday was a bit of a rough day for me.

I am trying to juggle working at two jobs while working around my hubby’s schedule and also taking care of him as he has been ill a lot lately.

My jobs require hours of standing and walking which has aggravated the pain in the damaged nerve in my foot and the arthritis in my hip. The almost constant physical activity is a heavy drain on my limited energy resources. My house is a mess because I am too tired and in too much pain to clean it.

I am in pain, exhausted and stressed.

And then to top it off, yesterday I had an appointment with a lawyer (at his request) to discuss how to protect my interest in my lawful share of my ex-husband’s pension payments (25 years of supporting him and his career should be worth something). My ex has not been honourable in his dealings with me and this has forced me into seeking legal counsel.

After sitting in the lawyer’s office for an hour, re-hashing information that he has had for some time now, he decides that, in fact, he doesn’t think that he can help me after all – and then he tells me that I owe him $400!!!

I left the office feeling completely drained and defeated and fed up with dealing with people and the wickedness in this world.

I envied the turtle’s ability to pull in it’s head and feet and hide inside it’s protective shell. I felt like I just wanted to withdraw from the world and it’s many problems, curl up into a little ball and hibernate until Jesus comes again.

But the reality is that I can’t do that. Life, and all it’s challenges, won’t come to a standstill just because I am feeling over-whelmed.

Since I am not a turtle and I can’t withdraw into a physical protective shell, I sought out my Heavenly Father and covered myself in a spiritual shell of His grace, love and protection – I crawled into the arms of the One who loves me most. I gave Him my stress, my pain and my fatigue.

And I am feeling “lighter” today.

Thank you Abba.

Psa 59:16 But I will sing of Your power; yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; for You have been my strong tower and hiding-place in the day of my trouble. 

 

Forget-me-nots

 

 

As I came out of the grocery store the other day, I noticed a lady sitting at a small table. She was volunteering her time to raise funds for the Alzheimer Society. Since my background is in Long Term Care nursing, this is a subject of both interest and concern to me. After I  deposited my ‘widow’s mite’ (lol) she gave me a package of Forget-me-not seeds – which I think is a great symbol for that worthy cause.

Later in the day, I was weeding in my garden. Along with the weeds, I pulled  several old Forget-me-not plants that had finished flowering and had gone to seed (they are great self-sowers). I dumped everything onto the compost pile and as I looked down, I noticed that my pants were absolutely covered with Forget-me-not seed pods! 

The tiny pods are covered with minuscule velcro-like hooks which do an excellent job of sticking to whatever they brush against. There was no simple brushing off the pant legs for me! I had to pluck each one off by hand only to have them stick to the ridges of my fingers! And the more I looked, the more I found – including between my toes!! I think it took me about 10 minutes to become ‘seedless’.

The seeds of this plant are an excellent physical match for their name – they make sure that no one will forget them!

Both the plant’s name and the nature of the seeds led me to think about God and His Word.

Deu 8:11 Beware that you do not forget Jehovah your God, in not keeping His commandments, and His judgments, and His statutes, which I command you today,

The clinging seeds reminded me of the following Bible verses:

Pro 7:2,3 Keep my commandments and live; and keep my law as the pupil of your eye. Bind them upon your fingers; write them upon the tablet of your heart.

Deu 11:18 Therefore you shall lay up these my words in your hearts and in your souls, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, so that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.

At some point in time, perhaps as early as the 4th or 3rd century B.C., the above scripture was taken to be a literal command and so began the tradition of the wearing of phylacteries or tefillin by Jewish men.

Wikipedia explains:

“Tefillin (Askhenazic: /ˈtfɪln/; Israeli Hebrew: [tfiˈlin], תפילין), also called phylacteries (/fɪˈlæktərz/ from Ancient Greek φυλακτήριον phylacterion, form of phylássein, φυλάσσειν meaning “to guard, protect”), are a set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah. They are worn by male observant Jews during weekday morning prayers.Image result for tefillin clipart

The arm-tefillin, or shel yad, is placed on the upper arm, and the strap wrapped around the arm/hand, hand and fingers; while the head-tefillin, or shel rosh, is placed above the forehead. The Torah commands that they should be worn to serve as a “sign” and “remembrance” that God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt.” 

 

 

For an excellent article on the history and usage of phylacteries, check out:  http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12125-phylacteries

In doing a word study of “forget” as it pertains to God, I found it interesting to note that all of the scripture verses I found were in the Old Testament. In His Word, God was constantly reminding the Israelites to not forget His commandments and to remember His deliverance of, and, goodness to them.

Deu 4:23 Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of Jehovah your God, which He made with you, and make you a graven image, a likeness of anything which Jehovah your God has forbidden you.

Deu 6:12 you shall be on guard lest you forget Jehovah who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slaves.

Psa 78:7 so that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His Commandments;

Psa 103:2 Bless Jehovah, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits;

Psa 119:16 I will delight myself in Your Precepts; I will not forget Your Word.

Psa 119:83 For I am like a wineskin in the smoke; I do not forget Your Precepts.

Psa 119:93 I will never forget Your Commandments; for with them You have given me life.

Psa 119:153 RESH: Look on my affliction, and deliver me; for I do not forget Your Law.

Pro 3:1 My son, forget not my law; but let your heart keep my commandments;

Although the above scriptures were written to the people of the Old Testament, they still serve as excellent reminders of the important things that we should not forget about our Heavenly Father – His covenant with us; His deliverance; His mighty works; His benefits; His Word; His precepts and commands; and His law.

I would also add that we should never forget His love for us, nor His grace or mercy.

Perhaps the New Testament does not use “do not forget” in the same manner as in the Old Testament because, rather than having instructions from and about God written on external things like stone and paper, as in the Old Testament times, we, who have received Jesus Christ as our Saviour, have these things ‘written’ on our internal ‘hearts’ through the indwelling presence of God’s holy spirit.

Alzheimers can have a devastating effect on our physical lives. Forgetting God, who He is and what He has done, as well as all His goodness, also has drastic consequences!

Job 8:13 So are the paths of all who forget God; and the hope of the ungodly shall perish. 

Psa 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, all the nations that forget God. 

This is my prayer for you:

Rev 3:3 Remember then how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. 

 

Blessings

 

Edit note: Although I tried my best to find an image of forget-me-nots that was copyright free, I guess the one I chose was not as I see that it was replaced by a notice of “no hot-linking” (whatever that is). My apologies to all concerned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Identity Crisis

 

When Moses was on the mountain talking to God, who was in the form of a burning bush, Moses asked who he should say had sent him with a message to Israel. God answered:

 Exo 3:14 And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM.

Wow! What an incredible sense of identity!

I have always struggled with the issue of “self”. As a “people pleaser”, I have always tried to accommodate other’s; have always “adapted” myself to the person(s) or situation. I was an internal “shape shifter”. I tried very hard to be the daughter, wife, mother, friend, employee, and Christian that I thought everyone, including God,  wanted me to be. I built my life around what I could do and be for others.

Image result for copyright free images of identity crisis tomato

When the world of my life collapsed around me, my life changed drastically, and I lost all the identities in which I had been living. I was no longer a wife. My children had left home so I was no longer a parent. I lost my home so I was no longer a home-maker. I had to move away so I was no longer a member of my community, a neighbour or a friend. And I had to leave my church and my ministry so I was no longer a leader.

I felt cast adrift and completely lost.

After a while, I decided to try to make the best of the situation by taking the time to try and figure out who I really was inside and who I wanted to be. I wish that I could say that I had an epiphany and got it all figured out – but I didn’t.

However, I was greatly helped when I discovered a list of verses from the Bible which outlined the Truth of who and what I am in Jesus Christ. Here is a list of  “I AM” statements from Neil Anderson’s “Living Free in Christ”:

Image result for who i am in christ

I think that I should print this list and stick it somewhere I can read it every day in hopes that it might finally sink into this thick skull of mine!

I pray that we all will stop carrying around false ID!

Blessings