Epilogue (Part Five)
(Click here to listen to the seventh Ruth teaching)
Verse of the Week
“LOVE ONE ANOTHER WITH BROTHERLY AFFECTION, - AS MEMBERS OF ONE FAMILY- GIVING PRECEDENCE AND SHOWING HONOR TO ONE ANOTHER.” Romans 12v10 AMB
More Words fro the Father
From my Heart
Page from the past: December 1995
A husband and a wife. Four children (including two teenagers, one pre-adolescent, and one toddler)! Two cats. One totally disobedient dog. And two horses. This is the make-up of our family. Needless to say, with all our comings and goings, individual personalities, and distinct wills, ours is not always a peaceful place. There is plenty of teasing and laughter…and fun. And if I'm honest, quite a few thunderclaps of conflict as well.
And I love it.
Oh, I don’t always like it. I am, after all, a woman who thrives on solitude, order, calm, quiet, and peace (rare qualities in this busy household). Yet I love the richness, the ever-changing variety, the heart-stopping intimacy of shared thoughts. I find such safety in the “kindred spirits” I have found in each of my family members.
I know what they like…
They know what I like…
We know what we like together.
There is something soul-satisfying about a shared beauty; a favorite song on the radio, a breath-taking sunset, or better yet, the groggy-eyed wonder of an early morning sunrise. When I see a brilliant rainbow with my family, it takes on a deeper beauty because we gasp in wonder together.
This family of mine is nothing like the still-life portrait I once imagined it would be. For goodness sake, we can’t even get a quick snapshot of all six of us smiling with all 12 eyes open at once!
I am learning, ever so slowly, that if I let go and stop trying to get everybody to be quiet and still and orderly, I enjoy this crazy crowd a whole lot more.
Though I treasure order, they do not. Though I love quiet, I have never known one of them to leave our noisy family circle to seek solitude for the sake of silence. They prefer noise, and lots of it. And while neatness seems essential to my peace of mind, not a one of the rest of them care a whit if the house is in perfect order before they go to bed, or when they get up, or anytime in between!
I’m finally getting it. That family peace consists more in letting go and accepting each other than in trying frantically to keep everybody calm, quiet, and tidy. I am learning that conflict is sometimes okay (will I ever really believe that?) and that closeness comes not by obliterating conflict, but by living with it comfortably.
We do not always agree. In fact, we rarely all agree. And that’s okay. It is when we graciously respect each other’s differing opinions and ways of doing things that friendship sprouts like well-watered weeds all over the relationships in this family.
So I am learning painstakingly slowly to let go and enjoy this crew of six. I am daily resisting the hundreds of urges to control and corral them into my version of the Happy Family.
They are they…
and I am me…
and together we are we.
From my heart,
The Old Testament contains about two-dozen genealogical lists. The aim of these lists was to establish links from the past to the present. Biblical genealogies differ from the family trees that so many Americans attempt to reconstruct, in that they were linear genealogies. Lots and lots of names were left out, skipped over not because they were unknown, but because they were considered insignificant to the purpose of the list. Linear genealogies functioned as legal documents to legitimize claims to position, authority, or power.
This genealogy at the end of the book of Ruth was written, at least in part, in order to validate David’s claim to the throne. It starts with the name of Perez, who was the son of Judah, linking David’s ancestry to the promise given to Abraham.
The ancient Hebrew genealogies were usually limited to ten generations. In this descending format, the names at the beginning are the revered, honored founders whose stories lend examples of power and prestige, while the names at the end of the list were of the well-known recent generations.
This particular genealogy emphasizes how God included imperfect people in the generations who would bring about Israel’s greatest king, David. It gives us hope by showing us that He is in the habit of using messy stories. And if He can orchestrate the dysfunctional families of the past, perhaps He can redeem our own less-than-perfect lives.
The Abrahamic Covenant
“By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord,
because you have done this thing,
and have not withheld your son, your only son,
indeed I will greatly bless you,
and I will greatly multiply your seed
as the stars of the heavens,
and as the sand which is on the seashore;
and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.
And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed,
Because you have obeyed My voice.”