blood ties

Family: Love and complication interwoven with a healthy mix of surrender and humility.

I get the honor of being the ‘oldest’ cousin. Sometimes it is a pain in the ass, but other times it means you get to see these amazing small people turn into even more amazing adults…beards and all. Labor Day weekend is a family tradition for us. We all gather at my grandma’s lake house each year, and as this weekend proved there are plenty of memories to reminisce.

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When you are allowed the honor of witnessing the family bonds in action, it plays out like a well rehearsed script that had been acted out for 24 years. In our extended family teasing, playing and sarcasm are staples of the blood bond we all carry…with the well intentional family spat and competitive spirit along the way.

As we’ve grown older my absolute favorite moments are the ones when we get so caught up in conversation that the whirlwind of family can blow around us in volume and action, but the conversation carries on. It is in those moments that we build on the foundation of family, and create memories that carry us to the next time we see one another.

In a world as fast and vast as ours we only see each other once or twice a year, and as with our world, it’s easy to get caught up in life and not keep up.

I’m guilty of that with my own brother. I hate we don’t live in the same town anymore. Honestly, I hate that he’s as old as he is…mostly because I still see him as the little brother he isn’t anymore in size, stature and life path.

Being intentional is hard when people are not physically close to you, but we have to take on the responsibility. I know my brother knows I love him. I’ve spent his entire life telling him, but if I don’t back that up with actions…does a piece of that family bond slacken?

But isn’t the purpose of family to make us a part of something bigger than ourselves? That we are not alone in this world. With all of the dysfunction and pain in this world we are pulled to hold on to those times that bind us together.

Isn’t it the same in a group of believers…are they not bound the same? We may not be tied by earthly blood lines, but the moment something goes downhill and they set everything aside to help you…earthly blood ties don’t matter, we are all family bound by the blood lines of Christ.

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Frankly, the students in Youth Group remind me so much of watching my cousins interact, but the teasing, playing and bountiful sarcasm are just a piece of what ties them together. For our students the are bound so much tighter through growing in Scripture, worship, mission and their common belief in Jesus. The blood lines of Christ. Strong aren’t they?

It’s beautiful. Just as I was enamored with spending a few days with my cousins who I have watched grow since they were babies, I am equally enamored with seeing how God will continue to grow those around me, and being thankful of the time God has given me to watch. I know well how strong the blood ties of Christ make a relationship, and I am grateful that our students are learning that as young as they are.

Here’s to the time we have, what we choose to do with it and the ‘family’ God has placed around us.

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