Thirty-four years ago today and seven years ago yesterday, if I have the times correct, my much-loved parents began their “home at last” time in heaven. They both gave life here all they could and all through the years we had with them, we children knew we benefitted from their commitment to each other and to us because of the way they lived out their commitment to Jesus Christ.
On their tombstone we had etched: No parents were ever more loved. As the years have passed since we and they said our “Goodbye until next time”, we children have often remarked about just how blessed we were by having a stable and peaceful (and fun) home life.
Of course none of us were perfect nor were we entirely ‘squabble-free’ but our memories of times in and around our home are filled with things that make us smile and laugh or tear up because of the certainty that we never doubted we were loved and that we’d all rally for each other. (The photo below is of the house where we sat around the table and shared about our day. We kids slept in bedrooms upstairs. The basement was dug when I was about five years old and I remember the scent of new lumber as the ‘north room’ was added then, too. Electricity didn’t come to our rural community until I was about to start school.)
Today I’m more than grateful for being raised by my parents and that I still have all three much-loved siblings — and we three eagerly get together when we can in spite of living in separate states. By the end of June, Lord-willing, I will have spent time with each of them: my sister in Florida, my brother from Kentucky, and this next weekend, my brother from Kansas. I am blessed. I love that we have had family reunions since Mom died — prompted by a friend’s wise comment made at the luncheon after her memorial service. Edna reminded us that up to that point, we likely got together mostly because we were gathering with Mom, but now that she was gone, we’d have to be intentional about having family reunions or we’d just “intend” to all get together and it wouldn’t happen. So far we’ve tried to have those reunions about every 18 months and so thankful they’ve happened.
Yes, God blessed me from the beginning of my life. I hope and pray millions of individuals today feel they’ve been blessed by our loving God. I hope parents are living good lives as they love their children and that siblings are kind to each other. Apologies and forgiveness smooth out relationships with the parties are sincere. Life’s too short to hold a grudge and a grudge can start destroying your innards — that’s scientifically proven. You do yourself no favor by withholding forgiveness and you certainly do no favors by harboring or acting upon hostility. Be brave enough to wise up and make things right wherever you can. You’re worth it and so are they.
If life today isn’t as you’d wanted it to be, if you know you’re making life hard for others or for yourself, I’d encourage you to spend some quiet time talking with the Lord because He loves you and wants to bless you. God is the source of love and peace. Find a Bible-believing church (our family regularly spent lots of wonderful times at our Bible-believing church and Mom always said the pastors and Sunday teachers got a lot of the credit for shaping our lives). Be willing to study the Bible, especially for starters, the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — just to get a sort of biography of Jesus. He’s alive now and wants you can have a living relationship with Him.
Life is too short to miss why we were created. Once we realize we’re here to love and honor the Lord, life makes a lot more sense. If you don’t have a Bible, go online to Bible Gateway, Biblica, or the interactive Faithlife Study Bible — all online and free to look up passages. The Bible is, as others have said, God’s love letter to us.
There’s an old clever adage which says: No Jesus, No Peace … Know Jesus, Know Peace. Jesus Christ, God’s Holy and Sinless Son lived, died, and rose again so we could have a personal relationship with Him and be at peace with God Himself. Without a relationship with Jesus, we are still accountable for our sinfulness and literally, there’s hell to pay. Why would we ignore Jesus when He paid the penalty our sin has coming? I hope you are willing to apologize to Him for having to die in your place — it’s humbling to do so, but we who are truly Christians have humbled ourselves and asked forgiveness and asked that the blood of Jesus cover our sins, too. You can’t imagine how freed and forgiven one can feel unless you’ve taken that step.
I hope if you haven’t started that personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, you’ll humbly ask Him to begin it in your life today. If you have that forever family relationship with Him, then you’ll also be guaranteed reunions with others who know/knew Jesus as Savior and Lord after each earth time ends. I’m so thankful the family I was born into will be reunited for eternity — not because any of us were super good but because we each had/have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Have a good today and a perfect forever because of Jesus Christ.