What a GREAT weekend ~ I went down to Cedar Falls Iowa with Vince and the kids to meet the "Howard clan" and I just have to say that, as shocking as this may seem, they are even crazier than I am =) I know, it's hard to believe, but true! Vince tried to warn me, but they just took crazy to a whole new level. Seriously tho, they are truly wonderful and we had such a great time! It was fun to see Vince sparring with his nutty brother-in-law (you know who you are), and getting picked on by his sisters. But beyond all the goofing off (and there was alot of it!) I witnessed and felt the closeness and love between all of them that is really something.....something wonderful. They have a bond that is quite incredible, and I know it is rooted not only in their deep love for one another, but in their common faith in Christ. Everyone seemed to go out of their way to make me feel comfortable and welcome, and even like part of the family already. It was really fun to see the family resemblances, the personalities, the inside jokes, and especially their feirce love and devotion to their "baby brother" (that would be my honey =) ) Even the car ride down & back with the kids was great - lots of conversation, music, and laughs. I am SO looking forward to the next time we get together, and subjecting - er, I mean introducing my boys to the "Howard clan"!
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:14-19
All this talk about family reminds me how thankful I am for my own family as well.....thankful for the love & close bond I have with my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews....thankful to have parents who know the Lord and pray for us regularly. But it also got me thinking.....what about those who are not fortunate to have a family like this? What if your idea of "family" brings to mind more pain than joy? More heartache than happiness? More loneliness than togetherness? Well I've got good news for you....God promises to provide a family for those who ask. He is:
"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing..." Psalm 68:5-6
You have the opportunity to belong, to be loved, to be cherished, to be welcomed and included in a family of God's design - a family of believers in Christ. You have a Father who loves you beyond measure, who will never EVER let you down, who always has your best interests at heart and acts on them (as much as you allow), who holds you in the palm of His hand and will never EVER take His eyes off you. You have brothers and sisters in Christ, who are waiting and eager to extend a hand and a heart, and love you as you are. Who will laugh with you, and cry with you, and help bear your burdens. And most of all, you have a Savior who will knit and weave your lives together with an eternal bond that will never unravel. Ever. You are precious and beautiful and just so you know, your eternal family needs YOU as much as you need them!
So there you go......welcome to the family!!
Pssst....one more post 'til I earn my blog counter!!! Yay, go me!!!