Sunday, September 13, 2009

Family and Belonging

This has been a week full of family. There have been visitors from my mom's family in town, and that is a rarity that I tend to soak up when it is available.

It hit me in a new and deep way, that I'm not quite sure what to do with yet, that I come from an enormous family, that I have a tremendous network of roots, and yet I know nothing of them. That is hard for someone who sees the world as a historian, and who also places tremendous value on family - the kind that comes by blood, and the kind that comes by heart.

There have been hard questions raised within me on the fronts of both types of family.

I was stunned, in a good way, by some of the things my mom's cousin shared. Facts about my grandma, and great grandparents and their families. I know very little about my mom's family, because mom's childhood was less than ideal, and it has always felt that talking with her about her family was somewhat of a taboo topic. I didn't realize until mom's cousin began to share, how deeply that lack of information, the lack of roots, bothered me.

There have been themes of family and belonging in much of what I've been walking through with Jesus lately, seeking healing and rest.

I found some of that this week. Some new wounds, but also a sense of rootedness, a bit of belonging. I come from a family of strong and stubborn women, who didn't always walk the exact path set out for them. I loved hearing that, since I knew very little about these women, and even less of that was positive. There was a sense of "oh, I'm not so strange as I've been feeling" in hearing about some of these ladies.

I learned too, about family of the heart this week, as I dealt with some decisions that needed to be made. I was surprised at discovering that there are some who my heart still considers family. I was surprised by the moments, decisions, and situations I encountered because of that.

And yet, in the midst of a week where the wounded places of family and belonging have been prominent, I have felt Jesus incredibly near. Offering healing even amidst uncovering new wounds. Offering assurance that small healings are happening, and will continue to grow within me. Showing me places where reserves of strength and joy I didn't know I had existed and will continue to grow.

And so, as I thought about all of this, laying on my stomach on the creek bank in "my" park this afternoon, writing and journaling and praying, I found that the most prominent emotion of the moment was thankfulness.

I am thankful for the nearness of Jesus. For the joy that He has offered, and the strength He has given. And I am thankful that He is continually close, offering healing.