It has been a busy but definitely enjoyable week. I think we're all a little tired but we've had fun together. We are all well aware that time goes quickly and when a family only gets together once a year, major changes will take place with each child (quickly) and the adults (on a slower level).
The family is God's creation and there was none better... even the beauty which surrounds the world cannot compare with the beauty of family. Of course, there are no perfect families just as there are no perfect places in this world. Just ask one who gardens and spends much of their time fighting the weeds and tares. :)
My family has known a great deal of pain through the years. We continue, as with all people, to carry many burdens. There are health issues with many, financial concerns for my husband and I, decisions to be made about the future, wondering how we are going to pay for Christopher's education, prayer for Steph and her hubby's soon anniversary trip to England, wondering what tomorrow will bring in this world... the news of which is often of instability and uncertainty.
It is not the trials we go through that separate families, it is how we choose to deal with the hard times... do we seek our strength and patience from God and teach our children to look toward Him or do we turn against each other? It is our choice. The next generation depends on how we handle adversity in these difficult days.
When we were at the amusement park, our son-in-law treated us to lunch at a favorite restaurant. There were a few conversations going on at the long table when Stephanie said something to me that made me laugh until I cried. Okay... so she compared me to Miss Piggy. But it is because we are family and we have a history together that such a remark would cause me great laughter and not be an insult as it may to someone else. Christopher didn't even "get it" (having been born rather late to remember our weekly watching of The Muppets).
That's what family is all about... the shared memories good and bad, those jokes only understood by a parent or sibling, or extended family members. Tradition passed from one generation to another. The importance of faith, remembering those miracles when God provided in great ways but also memories of flea bites on our ankles when we all four of us had to live together in a cheap hotel room for three months after losing it all in the mid-90s... thinking it would never happen again only to have the exact same thing happen to the three of us after returning from Michigan in the early 2000s...
Choices... do we stomp our feet and get mad at God and question what right we have to go through this (again). Or... do we trust Him and go on... deeper in His Word, in prayer, and faith. Do we mourn what we have lost or thank God that we still have each other and trust Him as we walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death (or dark days)?
This past week we've been spoiled in a nice way by our daughter and son-in-law, benefiting from their hard earned success (he in his profession, she as a wife and mom). It is always good when you raise your children to spoil you when they get to be adults. But this week's lovely times together and joy filled memories are a result of thirty-five and more years of daily decisions to keep going when times were tough, not giving up when one wanted, thinking we did not have the energy to get through another day when days were dark and times were hard.
I'm also thankful for my son-in-law's parents who raised he and his brother to trust God above all. Even if he does read theology books whose titles I can't pronounce. He's good family. He also has really cute kids. Such is family life when one becomes a grandparent. :)