It’s my youngest daughter’s birthday today.  Grace is 24.  It hardly seems possible.  I still remember seeing two tiny toes sticking straight up in the air from a bassinet long since put away.  She’s an adventure in grace and as a mom, I couldn’t be prouder of the woman she is today.  She’s always been a teacher for me, causing me to step up to the plate and become more than I was before.  I guess that’s part of the big picture, part of the way God designs families.  He gives us enough sameness to recognize our roots and enough differences to truly give us wings.  We’re a kind of mix and match set and no matter how old we become or where life takes us, we’re connected, grounded in each other.

Family dynamics may have changed in terms of style or content over the years, but that doesn’t matter so much.   The good news for any of us is that families are still people who notice each other, watch out for each other, squabble with each other and come back and love each other.  Families are the best option we have in what it means to live side by side, arm in arm. The Bible says that God set the lonely in families and that seems to be a theme with God.  After all, His biggest concern after He had created the world, the animals and oceans and his guy Adam, was that Adam needed someone beside him, someone like him to share the path of life.  He didn’t want Adam to be lonely.  It’s still the case.  We’re given sons and daughters, spouses and siblings so that we have a place to turn when life goes haywire and a place to celebrate when it all goes well.  As Billy Graham said, “The family was ordained by God  before he established any other institution, even before he established the church.”    Families are key to all that we know and all that we become.

Wherever you are today, stop and give thanks for your family.  Be grateful for what you’ve learned, how you’ve grown, and where you’re yet to go.  You owe a great deal of who you are to the people who raised you.  You may not see the setting as ideal, the interactions as something out of a TV sitcom, but what you have and who you are is valid and real and important in large part, because of them.  Your family is God’s grace to you.  They gave you the tools to become the real and authentic person you are.

To my sweet Grace, I send unconditional love and gratitude.  Your birthday is a celebration of what I consider to be one of my greatest achievements.  Thanks for being wonderful YOU!

Happy Birthday! Love You BIG!


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