We sat around the center table of our family room (which we made into a temporary dining table) to eat dinner the night we evacuated to our second floor. Earlier, when it was still day, though the flood water was already knee-deep in the streets, my beloved husband braved the rains and flood waters to buy us a single-burner gas stove. We realized that what we had upstairs was an electric stove and feared that the power might go out any time. I remembered we had given away our single-burner gas stove which we used during the great flood of 2009.
So we sat at dinner and I looked around our small table: our kids were excitedly getting their portions; my husband was silent in his seat, showing that calm he always has even during calamities; the heavy monsoon rains pounded our roof intermittently (it was hard not to feel uneasy), but as peace settled in my heart, I couldn’t help to say this, “I’m so thankful that our family is together. That we have each other, especially in times like this. It’s too hard to imagine going through calamities without the support of one another.”
I wouldn’t have known the vital importance of one’s own family had God not taken away everything that had made me self-sufficient. I grew up nurtured in a close-knit family but this hadn’t guaranteed my future choices in life. When my marriage didn’t work the way I had expected it to, I believed that there were options for me for a better life perhaps? Strength, wealth, and worldly wisdom could make one bold enough to re-dream and re-plan one’s future, that is, outside of the family God has given. Sacrificial love, such as love for the family and keeping it intact, could be easily forgotten.
The family is part of God’s perfect design of things with the presence of both the parents with their children together, dwelling in love and harmony with Christ as the cornerstone.
But we look around and we see that the family is more and more weakened, and there are broken homes everywhere we look. They could be very near us. That’s because more and more homes and families are not being built with Christ as the foundation. If not Christ, what could be these families’ foundations made of?
Whether one likes to admit it or not, the very core of one’s decision to let one’s family become undone is his or her desire to think about his or her welfare more than he or she does for the rest of the family. But of course there are special and extreme cases wherein restoration is no longer feasible or profitable for all involved. But still, there is hope in God. Nothing is impossible for Him. I will discuss more on this on next post, by the grace of God.
Career over family. I have heard many stories about families being sacrificed over one’s career. (I’m not talking about those who work abroad and sacrifice and endure the loneliness of being away from their families just to be able to provide for them. No. Actually, I salute these people for their sacrificial love).
But I tell you one story. The older sister of one of our maids went to Singapore to work as a domestic helper. When she left, her children were still small. Since she left eight years ago until now, she hasn’t returned. When their father died, she didn’t come home. When her children graduated from elementary and high school, she didn’t come home. When her husband was sick and needed to undergo surgery, she didn’t come home. But looking at her numerous photos, she is happy and enjoying her life in Singapore. I.Don’t.Understand. As a result of her absence, her daughter got pregnant out of wedlock at 16, barely out of high school.
Hurt feelings and unforgiveness. Would someone leave home and forget about family just because of hurt feelings and finding it hard to forgive? It happens. It happened to my beloved father’s family. My grandmother had a very young US Navy son who worked in the now defunct US Naval Base in Subic. This son helped his younger sister finish college with the clear instruction that after graduation, she also would work and help the younger sibling. But when this sister graduated from college, she got married at once and would not listen to her parents’ and older siblings’ admonitions. The US Navy son was so angry and hurt he left for the USA and never returned. Never. I was little and I watched as the family wrote him letters, putting a handful of earth in the envelop. I wondered then, why would they put dirt in the envelop?
My grandmother endured the pain of losing a son due to deep hurt and unforgiveness. Since the day her son left to the day she died, she never saw him again. When I was in grade school, we received a single letter from him with pictures of his family. He lived to old age but he never came back home.
Options. When one is faced with many options, like divorce or annulment, one could easily forsake one’s hope for reconciliation or restoration of marriage or family. I wrote about that in detail here.
I’m deeply grateful to the Lord for setting up the family. God places the lonely in families (Psalm 68:6). And more so for mercifully restoring our family and opening my eyes and heart to its importance, its value, to one’s life. Not only mine, but also these lives whom He has entrusted to my love and care.
My gratitude list ~ the gifts I received from the hand of the Lord:
- Watching Hannah and Tim sing in their respective choirs: Hannah in the Children’s Choir, Tim in the Cherubim’s Choir.
- Reading Biblical Parenting with my beloved husband, digesting and discussing each teaching together.
- This great opportunity to share the Gospel to friends and loved ones, even to people from around the world that I haven’t even met; the Lord continuously opening doors ~ glory to Him!
- This well of wisdom that I can draw from any time. There’s really nothing to worry about on what to write because it is His Spirit that leads and guides.
- The emails I receive and the opportunity to be of service to anyone whom the Lord leads to me ~ praise Him!
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