Family United

     “Mom, are you gonna cry again,” Mikey asked in monotonebefore shuffling off to climb into their black diesel truck. As he climbed upinto the back of the cab and closed his door, mom smirked at his words andrepeated them to the rest of us within ear shot. We all look at her with aknowing smile and reply,
     “You sure will, let the bawling begin!
      Another round of hugs were given as our step-dad talked amile a minute about fishing trips in Yellowstone. All of us Shaw sisters (Minusour Army-solider-Korea-resident-sister, Sarah), were dressed in black and whitetanks that mom bought us yesterday on our quick five hour shopping trip.Our husbands were busy comparing which Shaw girl looked better and throwing snowballs at the camper and truck as it left our driveway. It had become the bestChristmas we had as a family. No hurt feelings, no yelling, no boundaries were crossed. 

The Dirt
     The dirt and grit that covered our family memories and reputationhad given way to grace over the weekend. Everyone had laid their weapons downand bared their hearts for the sake of family and togetherness under the bannerof family (minus one hair pulling scuffle between Becky and I; and if my sister posts the video to facebook, Ijust want to say I didn’t have anything to do with her disappearance).
     Throughoutour family history of volatile relationships, we all longed for the deepconnections and bonds a family was supposed to have. Because of our brokenbackground and fighting for ourselves, we managed to push each otherout of our hearts, thinking that being on our own is best.  After 12 years of seemingly drifting, everyonereunited on the grounds of Christmas time.

Chy, Me, Jenna, Becky.

     It reminded me of how God redeemed mankind with the birth of His Son, in one weekend, God redeemed our family from the brokenness we all felt. Granted, there are still some issues to work out, but what family doesn’t have those? Anyway, God softened all our hearts and prepared them for forgiveness.

Grit and Grace
     Grit and grace go hand in hand. Chances are, if you’rereading this, you long to experience the grace that God is waiting to give you.He wants you to lay your past hurts and broken relationships on His alter.Leave them there, let Him pick it up and put the pieces back together—His way—inHis time.
    Sometimes before we experience grace, we’ve been smudged with dirt that’s gotten under our shell. Familycauses friction for the lack of relationships, disrespect, or the smart words that havebeen thrown your way. We can either allow the grit to spur us towards God andHis way of restoration, or we can allow it to pierce our hearts, leavinga mark that was never intended for any soul to bear. 
     As lonely as holiday gatherings can be, allowGod to be on your thoughts this Christmas season, and when your family comes tomind, pray that what is between you, can be broken. Hand it over to God andthank Him for the work He is doing in their hearts, He is moving through thegrit, so one day, you can experience grace. 

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