Grace #2. Family

simpsonsI love my family.

My wife, my kids, my dad, my sister (my dog?)…I just love them to bits. I don’t deserve them – but then I guess that’s what grace is all about – God’s unmerited blessing. Before mam got seriously ill I could have given you a thousand reasons why I love my family. I can probably give you a million now!! These last few months have been dark and difficult for all of us, though amazingly, I’ve learned that this is when the grace of a Christ-centred family shines the brightest!

1. God’s Grace To Me Through My Wife

It’s no mystery that I married way out of my league. Every day I’m reminded that the beautiful woman who I share my life with is more than I had  ever dreamed or deserved. She’s been my soul mate for so long now that I can’t really remember a time when she wasn’t. I certainly can’t imagine life without her! She’s stuck by my side through so much as we’ve shared laughter, tears and everything in between. She’s a passionate worshipper and as such inspires me to worship too. She’s also a missionary and is just as buzzin’ about the Hill City Church adventure as I am.

Michelle is also incredibly generous and will always give more of herself than she has to give (if that even makes sense!) That’s never been more the case than over the last few months. As mam got more and more unwell, I felt compelled to spend as much time as possible with her at the hospice. Michelle did literally everything to make that possible: She took care of all the washing up (my job!) and all the cleaning (my punishment). She let me lie in when I was emotionally exhausted, gave me space when I needed it, gave me hugs when I needed them, made no demands on my time, prayed for me, prayed with me and expertly navigated my mood swings. She basically blessed me with the love of Jesus.

She gave me grace.

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.” (Proverbs 18v22)

Amen!

Thanks sweets – I love you heaps!!!

2. God’s Grace To Me Through My Kids

I cried a lot during mam’s final days. I wasn’t an emotional wreck, but I was coming home from the hospice each day feeling pretty emotionally battered. Which is why having a gorgeous 3 year old daughter and a nutty 18 month old son waiting for me at home was yet another channel of God’s grace. It’s hard to remain sullen when your daughter wants to read crazy books about ridiculous animals and your son is learning to climb, wrestle, dance and laugh like a velociraptor!

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalm 127v3)

Kingdom Skanking with my “heritage” on a daily basis – that was God’s grace to me!

3. God’s Grace To Me Through My Sister

Me and my sister were always pretty close as we grew up, though after she emigrated to England many moons ago, it’s probably fair to say that we haven’t been able to spend as much time together as we would have liked since.

However, since her husband is a major dude and her boss in Manchester is an absolute legend she was able to come back to the Promised Land for the best part of 3 weeks, to be with mam and support my dad. I was therefore able to hang out with her again which was ace! I was so grateful to have her around during these tough times. We got to eat (incredibly tasty) hospice food and drink dangerous amounts of coffee together, we also got to chat honestly about how we were doing, how mam and dad were doing, travel together, pray together and basically be brother and sister. There were moments, especially at the hospice when Michelle wasn’t round and I didn’t want to budren my dad that I was able to share my heart with my sister and receive grace from her. Furthermore, she was an awesome comfort and encouragement to my dad too, which was also a ministry of timely grace.

She’s back up north now, but I think this last month has reminded us both how blessed we are to have each other.

Thanks sis – you’re brill!!

4. God’s Grace To Me Through My Dad

My dad is my new hero!

It’s probably fair to say that we weren’t particularly close as I was growing up (largely cos I was an obnoxious valley boy!) Though in the last 10 years or so we have grown really close. That said – we’ve never been ‘huggy!’ We were always much more ‘hearty handshakes’ than ‘hugs and kisses.’ However, there was a moment 2 days before mam died when I couldn’t cope with it any more and I left the room in tears. My dad came out and hugged me (the first hug I can ever remember receiving from him) and it was exactly what I needed. It hasn’t turned us into huggers, but it did minister grace to me in a very traumatic moment.

But that’s not why he’s my hero!

He’s my hero because he kept his vows to my mam right to the very end. In 2 months he didn’t miss a single visiting slot. He was at her bed side holding her hand, helping her eat and drink, praying with her, singing to her and reading scripture to her as her health and her mind deteriorated. Furthermore, his faith didn’t falter, but rather it sustained him.

I found it really hard to watch her deteriorate in the final days, sometimes choosing to stay outside the room. But my dad stayed the whole time. It was true love. It was sacred. It was what marriage is meant to be all about. Husbands are commanded in Scripture to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and I saw gospel love at work in my dad. I know that my mam felt loved right to the end and I will always love him for that. I know that God is proud of the way that my dad looked after His daughter, and I’m proud of him too. I want to be able to love my wife in that kind of way. Not just in the fair weather, but right the way through the storm too.

God’s grace to me through my dad is a timely hug and an inspiring example of true, Christ-like, sacrificial love to follow.

Like I said at the start of this marathon post – I love my family!

One thought on “Grace #2. Family

  1. Dai
    There is not a lot I can add to what you have said,but I see it everytime I see you and your wife and children together,your family is a breath of fresh air in this topsy turvy world.and I by the grace of God am glad to have you not only as Pastor of our church but my friends and my extended christian family
    God bless you and yours now and forever
    Margaret

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