In Christ Alone

My brother Tom, his wife Melisa and their son Sam came to visit us today for a belated Christmas celebration. And we had a really wonderful afternoon. The girls and Sam - joined at times by Melisa - played board games and put together a giant puzzle; the kids played together upstairs while the grown-ups talked - about work, parenting, church; Uncle Tom and Aunt Melisa were each granted a "tour" of the girls' room; we had a nice dinner capped by singing "Happy Birthday" to both Tom and Melisa, who'd had December birthdays; and the girls put on a little pageant - a two-part ballet show for which they also sang their rendition of "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" during intermission. Just a low-key, typical family gathering. But every time I'm with them, I marvel at the beauty of it.

You see, my brother and I spent eight years estranged from each other - a painful situation created by some childhood difficulties. And throughout that time, though I longed to re-establish a relationship with him, I feared it would never happen.

But then, when I was pregnant with Rachel, I received a letter from Tom. At first, I was terrified to open it - afraid of the anger and frustration I was certain I'd read in his words.

Instead, though, on the first page I read of his job and how my sister-in-law was doing and learned that I had a young nephew. Then on page two Tom explained how he'd come to faith in Christ the previous year and had been convicted since then to reconcile with me! He said he'd understand if I wasn't interested - that he didn't want to pressure me but just had to obey God's prompting.

Well, I could hardly contain myself! I spent the rest of the afternoon alternately weeping and re-reading the letter to be sure I hadn't misinterpreted what he'd said. And then I promptly wrote back, sharing an update about my life to that point and inviting further communication. And we've been re-building ever since.

Like most extended families, we don't get to see each other as often as we'd like. But we have a strong bond - that sibling connection, yes, but mostly due now to being related in Christ. So when we do get together every few months, it feels as if we haven't been apart long. And it is hard to remember those awful eight years of complete separation.

When I think about it, though, I do marvel that we fell into step with each other so quickly and so easily after all that time. By human standards - given the nature of our rift - the simple beauty of today should not have happened. And yet it did...and will continue. Because of Jesus - because he is able to do infinitely more than we would ever dream possible...and then some!

1 comment:

bubbebobbie said...

What a great testimony of God's faithfulness. My sisters and I have had moments of estrangement as well. I am so grateful that as we grow up and mature we can find ways to begin again. After all that is what family is for, they are the ones that love us most , know us best and at times hurt us to the core. But love wins out everytime ( 1 Cor. 13 4-8)

Congratulations to you both!
Because of Jesus, Bobbie


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