He was the kind of man others want to be like.
He was quiet and wise. Smart and witty.
He was someone who could make you feel so special with just a hug or a smile.
He was the only Grandpa I’ve ever know.
Two weeks ago at 4am I received the call saying my Grandpa had passed away.
I was supposed to visit him that afternoon.
That visit never happened.
My heart was breaking.
And my family was hurting.
In 14 days I’ve learned some things about family.
Actually, learned isn’t even the right word.
I believe that in tragedy and trial we say we learn things when in reality all we are doing is realizing something we’ve known all along.
I’ve realized things about family that I’ve always known.
1. TOMORROW IS NOT A GUARANTEE
No matter how much time you spend with someone, when they pass from this life it will NEVER seem like enough.
You will always want one more day, one more hour.
One more hug. One more conversation.
One more moment.
I can’t find a better reason to live in this moment.
This moment with our loved ones is all we are guaranteed on this side of Heaven.
This moment is precious.
This moment is priceless.
You can never get this moment back.
Live it well.
2. EVERYONE DOES HOLIDAYS TOGETHER.
REAL FAMILIES DO LIFE TOGETHER.
I once heard someone compare families to a quilt; unique and individual but woven together to create something greater.
But the truth is that it can’t be a quilt if the squares only touch in three places: birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Real families are built through real life.
The little pieces that happen in between the celebrations are what make a family strong.
The phone calls and cards. The late night meetings and last minute help.
The hugging and crying and yelling and forgiving and laughing.
SO much laughing.
These things are what mend us together. The thread that keeps us connected.
Without the thread and without the other pieces of our story, we are just unfinished quilts, left to hang unmended on one side.
Do life with your family.
3. THEY NEED YOU JUST AS MUCH AS YOU NEED THEM
In a family, it isn’t anyone’s job to do all of the seeking.
We mistakenly think that if a family member doesn’t pursue us, we are off the hook.
You’ve tried to set aside a weekend with a family member but conflicts keep coming up. You call them to catch up but get their voicemail again and again. So you say, “The ball is in their court now.”
A family works both ways.
You seek to be there for your family and they do the same in return.
If anyone on this planet is worthy of our pursuit it is those that God has made a part of our family.
I’ve learned that my family needs me just as much as I need them. Even though members of my family might not call on me in a time of need as easily as I would of them, they need me. Even though I haven’t seen some of them in a year or more, they need me.
They need me to be there for them.
To cry with them.
To laugh with them.
To pray for them.
To think about them.
And I need them to do the same.
4. A HEALTHY FAMILY REQUIRES SACRIFICE
Great families are born out of our willingness to put our family members before everything (with the exception of God), including ourselves.
to pray for them
to pursue them
Our willingness to give up our comfort, our pride, our time, our money, ourselves
to keep them healthy, safe, and happy.
The healthiest families I’ve seen are products of great sacrifice and lots of prayer.
Be willing to sacrifice for the good of your family.
5. OUTSIDE OF CHRIST, FAMILY IS EVERYTHING.
God could have put us on this earth alone.
He could have made us independent of any family structure.
But He didn’t.
Whether your family is one you were born into, one you were adopted into, or one you’ve seen God create out of brothers and sisters in Christ, one thing stands true: You were not meant to do this life alone.
Outside of your faith in Christ
Outside of living for His glory & making Him known
Your family, however it may look, is everything.
You probably know all these things.
But don’t wait until your 4am call
or your missed visit
to realize them and live them out.