The smell of supper wafting up the stairs. The sound of my brother stomping up the steps two at a time. Long talks with my sister when she really should have been studying and I should really have been sewing, but we each decided we just needed to share some sister time. Exploring the wonder of the outdoors together. Riding double and bareback with my brother on one of the horses to go visit the neighbors. Waking up to the sound of the woodstove door creaking, knowing that my dad is starting a fire and that by the time I get downstairs the stove will be radiating cozy heat. Dad reading "The Chronicles of Narnia" to us aloud as children in the evenings. My brother going with me to milk the cow when we got home late at night and I didn't feel like braving the dark field by myself. All six of us gathered around the supper table together, sharing about our day. Summer evenings sitting on the porch enjoying the peace and serenity. Walking and praying with my mom. The smell of mulled cider heating on the wood stove when we came in from sledding in the snow. A place of safety and comfort, where I know I am always accepted whether I have failed or succeeded. This is my home, this is my family.
I think back on all these experiences, how they shaped who I am, and revealed God's love to me. And one of the most beautiful things about my family is the times we get to share the closeness with others. We have someone over for dinner, and they feel the beauty of family and love, and so many times they speak of the comfort it brings to them. The warmth of the love reaches out and envelops other people, drawing them in. And now living across the ocean from my family I understand the truth of that. And as I ponder it all, revelation explodes in my heart about my God, my Father. He wants a family, He wants His children to know and experience what it means to be in a family. The family I grew up in is just a shadow of what He is wanting to create in His church. And I am watching Him do this here, gathering His children to Himself. He is creating a family here in the Balkans. He is drawing His children to His heart, calling them home, to a place of acceptance, safety and comfort. And as we begin to be drawn together as brothers and sisters, sharing our lives together, something is created in our midst that draws those around us who have not yet recognized the voice of their father. And they are feeling it, people disillusioned with life, at the end of their ropes, who looked for peace elsewhere and did not find it. The warmth draws them, they are amazed by the peace they feel in the midst of this family of people. And my heart rejoices as I watch it, the protective arms of my Father, sending forth the spirit of adoption, drawing His children to Himself, to the family they were created to be a part of, the family that Jesus died to give them a place in. It is incomparably beautiful to watch.
"But that He might gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. " John 11:52
"For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father'" Romans 8:15
Let it be Father!