They left yesterday…the last of the children and grandchildren who had come from Calilfornia, Kentucky and West Virginia for a visit over the Easter holiday. All five of our grandchildren were here at the same time (my five starr[s]- an acronym for Skylar, 4 , Trapper, 6 months, Adi, 8 months, Remi, nearly 2, and Rilyn, 3 months) , as well as all of their parents. I tell you…it was a beautiful noise going on in our house…babies playing, laughing, and crying…all of this, often at the same time. It’s all a precious blur to me now…I think of Skylar’s excitement over the new swingset, of Remi’s belly laughs, of Trapper’s great smiles, of Adi’s bright eyes and of Rilyn’s wide-eyed wonder over everything. I tell you I never saw the trash cans fill so quickly at our place. I would empty them and in nothing flat another load of used diapers and wipes and food containers and paper towels and etc. would appear as if by magic. It was magic…because we were together. Yes…we got tired. Yes…we had to be careful where we walked through the obstacle course of toys and children. Yes we held and rocked and fed and patted and talked softly to our babies. We laughed at their shenanigans. We worked to get them to eat and be careful of the stairs and to clean up and to go to sleep. We heard them often during the nights. We bathed them and dressed them. We strapped in and unstrapped and strapped in again both the car seats and the babies. We talked and laughed and prayed. At times we got on each other’s nerves. This is life in a family. And I love being family.
And then…all too soon…it was over. Time in its relentless march sped past. Family by family they returned to their homes, their lives, their work. So that today, I am left again wondering how long it will be until the entire Oakesclan can get together again. Yes, I know it sounds selfish of me. But I don’t seem to be able to help it. I love the comings… look forward to them so much as soon as plans are made. But I hate the goings…I dread them even before our beloved arrive home. I know that doesn’t make too much sense, but it’s how I’m built.
It’s God Who sets the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6). I never deserved it…never expected it…didn’t believe it was possible to know such depths of love, such chest-splitting emotions, such wonder…such sheer joy. But He’s allowed me to experience the delights of family.
Maybe your experience of family hasn’t been so good. I hate that for you. With all my heart, I wish it were different. But…God has a family for you. They are waiting to welcome you. They meet together on Sundays to praise Him for hope, for purpose, for change. They think of you and try to be creative finding ways to encourage you. God’s family longs to provide a safe environment for you to rest, to worship, to learn, to grow and to serve as together you move toward the soul’s true home. They take His Word seriously. And they won’t give up on you. This they learned from their Heavenly Father. Find them. Don’t look in the phone book. Look into the Word and then look at the lives of those following Jesus. You will know them by the familiar aroma of Jesus. It originated in Nazareth and was affected by faithful, humble service to others, by the sounds of sweet words of Life which distilled like the dew upon the hearts of sincere listeners, by sacrifice, by the scenes of an Upper Room, of Gethsemane, of Calvary and of an empty tomb. One day He’s coming back for His real family…and we will all be Home Again forever. I look forward to that and find there is no dread at all of it ever coming to an end. Praise His Holy Name!