Tuesday, March 25, 2008

GIFTS OF EASTER: The Two Gs...Grace and Gratitude!

When I was growing up we used to sing a song that went like this:
"The more we get together
Together, together.
The more we get together
The happier are we.

For your friends
Are my friends
And my friends
Are your friends.

The more we get together
The happier are we."

The melody and lyrics to this little "ditty", as my Mom used to call children's songs :), kept floating back to me after everyone left our Easter celebration late Sunday afternoon.

Not only was church totally amazing in the early am with incredible music and message, a reminder of God's love...so was our family Easter Celebration a miracle of sorts.

Now we often get together, and by together I mean ALL of us. Tim and Kris often host Christmas events that Bert and I love to be included in :). We often have joint birthday get togethers. I'm not sure why this one touched my heart so deeply. My guess is because resurrections are about new beginnings! Jesus had a resurrection...and so has our family!

Ever since I was a little girl I longed for, and prayed for, a big family where everyone loved each other. I was an only child, with almost no cousins, aunts or uncles that I knew. When Tim and I got married, I fell in love with him and every member of his larger family. I love them still to this day.

Yet when most couples go through divorces, family dynamics change. People who once were close struggle with how to be with each other. I know we certainly did. Old hurts can take over. Children can get caught in the middle. Some families stay like this forever. Peace and love are never restored.

Thank God, and I mean that literally, that there has been so much healing in our family! As Bert and I pondered the wonder of our Easter gathering...with us, Tim, Kris and Anna, Jessi, Rog and Emma, Amy, Ryan, Zac Kayla, Jacob and Jenna, Gary and Nancy Gossett (Ryan's folks),
Rog Sr,(we missed Eileen whose Mom had died) and Madison ..and Madison had just spent the night with Kayla :), and Grandma Phyllis (Kris' Mom)...we were awe struck by the wonder of it all.

This wasn't a "gathering of obligation"...this was a family celebrating Easter and each other. The healing that has taken place has been facilitated by many people over time...and God's love and grace has been the biggest factor in what has happened. Most people almost fall over when they hear that Kris and Tim's daughter, Anna, refers to me as "Grandma Linda"! And you know what...she feels in my heart like one of my own grandchildren.

The lessons are huge:
There is enough love to go around.
Forgiving yourself and others changes EVERYTHING.
God's love can heal things when humans are incapable of doing that.
When children see their parents role-model forgiveness, the children learn how to forgive
A "real family" stands together, even in tough times.

I remember a crucial moment in the change Bert and I made in moving toward family forgiveness. Jessi and Amy, who were both very young at the time, requested a "meeting" with Bert and me. Since we often had "family meetings" this wasn't a surprise. The "topic" of the meeting ,however, struck us like a bolt of lightening!

Jessi began first. She took a breath, found her courage and said in the sweetest voice, "I wonder if you could both be nicer to my Dad. You see I love all of you and when you are all mad at each other it hurts Amy's heart and my heart." We looked at Amy (who must have been about 5) and HUGE tears were streaming down her face. She nodded her agreement and said "Me too!"

That moment changed everything. Bert and I knew that there was so much truth and wisdom in this simple yet profound request. Out of the mouths of babes...my precious babes.

And while there have been ups and downs in the journey...we ALL work to be nice to each other. And as we do, we discover that each of us is God's child. Each of us is human. Each of us is imperfect. Each of us wants and needs to be loved.

So on Easter...we got together! We celebrated God's gift and with great gratitude I knew that my prayer uttered, so long ago, that God would find me a big family that loved each other...well that prayer had at last been answered.

They were all at my house for Easter!

God Bless!
Love and Hugs!


Kim said...

Is there anything more pure than an innocent request from the eyes of a child? Linda you are so courageous and blessed indeed.
I am so glad you had a wonderful Easter. What a heartfelt post.


Kayla Jode said...

That was really great that we could come to the party and spend time with everyone!! I had a great time!!

jessithompson said...

Thank you for hosting a wonderful event and putting so much thought into all the little details. It really makes the occasion extra special for everyone there. Your love and generosity shines through and makes everyone feel welcomed into your home.

Thanks for making Easter such a special family holiday.

I love you.

LORIE said...

Can I come next year?

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful testament to love and family. That kind of selflessness is hard to find.
God bless all of you for making family and forgiveness a priority. And I know He has blessed you. That is very evident in the amazing and cohesive family unit that you have all formed.
Thank you for sharing something that is private and personal, but at the same time inspirational because of the message of love it brings.
So happy that you to the time to share this miracle.


Anonymous said...

3 things:
1) It's TOOK the time...
2) I worry about Jenna. She such a frail little thing! Ha!
3) Love the look on Roger's face. That is SO him.

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