About my mom & family

With Mother's Day having just passed, I've been quite reflective the past little while about how incredible my mom is.  Those closest to her & who know her well, know that her life has certainly had it's share of difficult situations & yet, she is strong & could easily be defined as an overcomer.  My mom is beautiful to the core & her beauty from within radiates outwards.  Her identity is defined not by what she does, rather by who she is & by who has created her.  She is without a doubt supportive, encouraging, passionate & faithful.  The way she models unconditional love consistently points me to Jesus.  She loves & values people, a trait that I believe she has passed on & instilled into her children, which leads me to type the following...

I am a lover of all things family. I'm an advocate for the family.

The thing I'm realizing, is that at the core of my love for family, it's not so much about my family, rather about relationships. More then relationships, it's the essence of having a safe place to fall & to receive unconditional love, no matter what.

This love that is so deep within me, I truly believe was placed there the moment I was created. People crave relationships. I think of the movie "Cast Away" with Tom Hanks, he craved relationship so much he became friends with Wilson, a volleyball. There is no doubt in my mind that people were never created to be alone.

Personally, I could not be more thankful for my parents & siblings. Without a doubt my sister is my most trusted, best friend. My parents are one of the few safe places in my life that I can run to regardless of the situation I find myself in. My brother is always just a phone call or text away & although younger then me, has been my "protecter" since we were children.  The family I've married into is equally as important & valuable in my life.  I realize the relationships I have with my inlaws are precious & indeed rare.  My husband & I value our relationships with our family members above all others & desire to create a home where family is always a top priority.

I do realize however that not everyone has been as fortunate as I have in terms of biological parents & siblings. Unfortunately family as I know it is not the norm. This would explain the numerous people who have been in & out my life growing up, acting as "older siblings," as they were seeking a safe place like the home I grew up in.

And this is where one of the beautiful things about families comes in. Family can be created. If at the end of the day, a family is the people you feel most loved, accepted & safest with, then no DNA testing can define or determine your family.  However there is one key factor involved with family as I know it, & that is intergenerational relationships.

A little while ago I had the distinct joy & privilege of spending time with some extended family.  From my great aunt, to cousins the same age as my parents, plus a few cousins closer to my age, these three generations spent some precious moments together & were the envy of many around us.  Every once in awhile I need to pinch myself as I think of the reality in which I live.  I think one of my family's greatest assets is that we're inclusive, as all families should be.

They say that blood is thicker then water.  As it should be.  Family are the ones who stick closest through thick & thin.  Who support & encourage in all circumstances.  Family are the ones who display unconditional love in the most overwhelming ways that cannot begin to be described.

In the end, our family in whatever shape or form it comes will always be there & in turn, need us to be there for them.


Hope is hope

A few weeks ago I was talking with my mom on my way home.

{As a side note, first I would like to say how God certainly knew what He was doing putting me in the 21st Century! I can't imagine my life without the technology that I have at my finger tips. Everything from luxuries within my home like appliances, running water, central air etc., to my vehicle, my mobile phone, computers & the internet. I can't imagine having to heat water over a fire just for a warm bath, washing clothes by hand, or not having the means to communicate with those nearest & dearest to me where ever & whenever I like!}

Back to my conversation with my mom...this particular day we had both had full days. We both have jobs that require working closely with people & their emotions. My mom works at a high school & I work at church. Although we have very different job descriptions & employers, I think often times our jobs are very similar. That day was one of those days that was similar, yet very different

However, there is one detail which separates our jobs regardless of the situations, it's a little four letter word...H-O-P-E. The beauty of working in a church, is that I'm given the freedom to offer hope in every situation I face. Not only in my own approach to situations, but also in how & what I say. Working in a public school, my mom is confined to what she's able to share in situations, however, the tone she uses, her attitude &a actions are able to display hope in perhaps a more tangible way then my words ever could.

I'm fairly confident that the greatest gift you can offer someone in crisis is hope.  What more do we really want then the hope that things can change, that people will change, that sickness will be healed, that something better will come of an awful situation.  At the end of the day, it's hope that often gets us through those darkest moments in our lives.

The truth is, the packaging doesn't really matter.  Whether I'm offering hope through Bible verses & prayers, or my mom is offering hope through a calm tone & a positive attitude, the effects are the same.  Perhaps the situations my mom offers hope in are more difficult for something with a faith in God, as she needs to be a bit more creative in her approach, but at the end of the day hope is hope.

Since I am employed by a church, & as a result able to be "churchy" I leave you with this...
"we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." (Romans 5:3-4)