It’s been a wonderful week of bonding with my brothers and sisters. We are complete as a family — four sets of married siblings with ten children between us, a sister who is about to be married, and my parents.
Being able to reconnect and fellowship means alot to all of us because it does not happen often. (Two of my siblings live in the US.) So this week we have maximized every moment – sports, games, sharing meals, walks, conversations around the table, shopping, etc.
I am grateful to my parents for the bond that exists between us siblings. Our spouses also get along so well. It seems that everyone fits together like a glove. Looking back, dad and mom did two very important things when we were growing up. First, they made family time a priority and they made it fun. As children, we spent the majority of each day with one another.
Secondly, they introduced us to Jesus and discipled us individually and collectively. The most common denominator we share till this day is our faith in Jesus Christ. He has been the center of our family, holding it together through the years, preserving the bond of unity, helping us to love one another and forgive hurts and offenses. It is this spiritual connection that keeps us close despite the physical separation and different life stages we are in.
Personally, I feel that our family reunions give me a foretaste of heaven — the joy, completeness, security, and connectedness. (Of course, heaven will be more about Jesus than anything else.)
I remember that people used to say, “Your family is not normal, most people don’t have families like that.” And I had to talk to my dad about this because I felt bad, like it was a negative thing to have a good family. So I said something like this, “Dad, people don’t think our family is normal because we don’t really have relationship issues, our home is happy, and we all get along so well.” Then he replied with a statement that really struck me. “That is NORMAL, hon. God designed families to be that way.”
In other words, there was and is nothing unique about our family. We simply applied biblical principles for family relationships. As a result, one of the blessings has been that till this day, we enjoy each other’s company immensely.
This doesn’t mean that we don’t have our discussions, varying opinions, or that our children never provoke or incite each other. But by God’s grace, there is no bitterness, unresolved hurt, or anger. When we get together, we share a whole lot of laughter and meaningful dialogue. The relational atmosphere is light and easy.
One day, I hope that we will not have to live so far apart. Till then, I am reveling in this little bit of heaven!
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31, 32 NASB)