The Blessing of Family

The Bible often mentions the importance of family. The second chapter of Genesis refers to the beginning of a family. Therefore a man shall leaves father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24 ESV

Frequently throughout scripture the genealogy of a family is recorded. The first chapter of Matthew records the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham to King David to Joseph. 

Birth of Jesus

Jesus, Son of God incarnate, was born into a human family.

Currently my husband and I are reading a chapter from the book of Joshua each morning. As Israel entered the promised land each tribe was allotted a specific portion of land. That struck me as interesting. The people were still considered according to their family of origin. They had ties to their heritage over many generations.

I have thought about my family. I am grateful to know about my ancestors in Finland. My husband would like to trace his heritage in Holland. It is helpful to understand the links we have to the past, but our focus is on the present.

As a family we have experienced illness and the loss of a son, but my testimony is that our family has been blessed by God’s grace and intervention in our lives.

This past weekend our children and grandchildren traveled home to celebrate my husband’s birthday. The nine grandchildren, age 18 months to 16 years, give us great joy. We delight in seeing our children as parents, aunts and uncles.

We are blessed to belong to another family, the followers of Jesus (the Church).

It is Friday and the Five Minute Friday community is writing with the prompt: TESTIMONY

Surprised by God’s Plan

Today I am joining Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday: We write fast and free, for five minutes flat. The prompt is: CONTROL

To be honest I wrote my story a few days ago as #MyUnintendedJoy. I spent five, maybe ten minutes revising it for this post.

The birth control pill was legalized across the nation when I was a teenager. When I married, the conventional opinion was that a couple should have two children. My husband and I could plan and control the size of our family.

As a nurse I was always concerned about the side effects of hormonal pills, but knew that I could avoid pregnancy with a diaphragm (if used consistently!)   I wasn’t sure that I was ready to have children, but became pregnant in our first year of marriage. Our daughter brought joy. After our daughter was born I became pregnant again. To our surprise I was carrying twins.   So God had  determined our family size—three    children, I thought.

My twins were born via cesarean section. We were thrilled with this baby boy and girl! We brought them home to a big sister who saw her siblings with wonder.

Three weeks after they were born I developed severe complications—disseminated intravascular coagulation. I was bleeding heavily and my doctor sent me to the operating room.   He did a D & C.    Then he   considered doing a hysterectomy, but first asked another doctor’s opinion.

The consulting doctor advised my doctor to watch and wait. So I received blood transfusions, and over the next twelve hours we waited for the decision. The consultant advised against surgery. I did not have the hysterectomy and recovered. God had more plans for our family–even though my doctor advised that I not become pregnant again.

Over the next few years I sought to control the health of my children. They had allergies and food intolerances. I kept notebooks, followed elimination diets and provided vitamin supplements. I was sure that if I did everything right my children would be healthy. It didn’t turn out that way. Instead I needed to lean on the Lord for help.

When the twins were six years old,  our son was diagnosed  with  an     aggressive form of leukemia. We supported Steven through a year of chemotherapy and then bone marrow transplant. We walked through days of painful procedures, hope, endurance and reversal.

God demonstrated his love for our family through the hands of friends and the church community. I learned so much about God and his care for us during that time period. I learned that I was not in control, but God is good.

When Steven passed away, the grief I experienced was heavy.

We had family discussions in the weeks and months after Steven’s death. We received medical advice and dared to pray for a child, for new life. Eight years earlier I had been saved from a hysterectomy. We experienced God’s grace.

When our fourth child was born we rejoiced. My husband and I never imagined that God would increase our family in this way, bringing joy and blessing. God desires our good and walks with us through difficult times.