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Families Are Like Fudge

~~ Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV84) ~~   But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.


  
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Fudge Brownies
Family.  What is the first thing that popped into your mind when you read that word?  I will say it again... FAMILY!  What does the word ‘family’ mean to you?  Did your heart suddenly feel full because they are so sweet, or did your blood pressure shoot up because they are just a bunch of nuts?!  Dictionary.com gives one definition as “a social unit consisting of one or more adults together with the children they care for”.  I really like that definition.  It does not matter what kind of family you came from, what kind of family you have; or what you have been through with them or because of them; I would be willing to bet that you love them.  Whether you came from a traditional family of 2 parents, 2.5 kids, a dog, and a hamster; or divorced parents, or even if the only family you have is a couple of the best friends anyone has ever had; they are your family.  Even when they are making you so crazy that you just want to pull your hair out... or better yet, pull their hair out... you would never want to walk this earth without them; and you would go to just about any lengths for them if it were called for.

Well, think about this next thought for a minute...  Can you say the same about your church family?   Are they part of your life every day of the week?  Do you take care of them when they are sick; give them food, money or a place to sleep if they need it?  Can you confide your deepest secrets with them?  Can you listen to their secrets and truly not make a judgement against them?  Are you able to stay calm and love them even when there is a big disagreement about how the latest ministry within the church should operate?  Do you even think about the people you go to church with as family?  I certainly did not for most of my life.  Truthfully, I had never heard the term ‘church family’ before; despite the fact that I have passed through quite a few churches in my life.  That is, until I was finally led ‘home’.  I think that is one of the things that first attracted me to this church.  I was fascinated with the idea that they were a family together.  From the first time I went there, the first sermon that I heard; it was stressed that ‘we are a family’.  It is still stressed to us; it is a message that is not forgotten.  The more I got to know them, the more I could see that they really are a part of each other’s lives; and not just on Sunday’s?  They love each other.  They laugh, cry, and pray together.  I have yet to hear any gossip or see anyone with a grudge against someone else.  When one grieves, everyone is sad, when one of us is lonely there is a friend that you can reach out to; when one of us is sick, someone will be there to take care of you; when we are hungry someone will bring you food; when we just cannot seem to make a pay-cheque stretch far enough, they are there to help. 

In my time as a member of this family, they have given me gifts that are eternal.  For the first time I have met people who truly do strive live the life, not just talk the talk.  They allow the Holy Spirit to move very freely among them.  I have been invited into their midst and been made one of the group.  For the first time in my life, I know what it is like to belong to a group.  They have shown me that knowing about God is not the same as knowing God; or having a relationship with Him.  I have learned how to forgive; and how to strive for true repentance.  For many years my one “rule of survival”, as I called it, was “never trust anyone for any reason no matter what.  No exceptions!”.  I really did live that way.  I thought I was protecting myself.  The first time that I was told “I will not judge you”, after sharing what I thought was something terrible, my life literally changed.  In that one instant, I suddenly saw light that I had never seen before.  My life, my heart and my view of the people of the world all changed completely.  I suddenly had a door open in my heart that was never open before.  A door that would allow trust to enter in... that would allow the Holy Spirit to enter in. 

I have been given food and money when I did not have any.  Anytime I need a ride, someone is there to give me a lift.  They have let me cry on their shoulders when I had no one else to turn to.  I have seen incredible patience from them while I learn how to emerge from my dark hiding place that was my world for such a long time.  Honestly, I still feel like I am a new; like a new puppy that is still so very unsure of everything and still very wobbly on its legs; but they do not try to push me or rush me along in my journey.  In their own homes, their individual family units pray together, play together and study the bible together.  The men are actually as in love with their wives as they are with Jesus; and they welcome an accountability partner to help keep them on the ‘straight and narrow’.  These are things that I have rarely, if ever, seen before. 

Here is an example of something that one of them did for me once.  It is just a small thing, but it is a wonderful example of charity that I had never experienced before.  The situation was that I was at a church function.  It was a big concert and it was getting late in the evening.  I wanted to go home even though the concert was not over yet.  I do not have a car, and I did not have a ride.  I called a few people, but it seems everyone else was also out that night.  I did not know the bus system, and I did not have enough money for a bus even if I had known where or when I could catch a one.  One of my beautiful sisters in Christ came to me and gave me some money to get a taxi home.  I started to cry, thanking her and assuring her that I would pay her back as soon as possible.  She looked at me and simply said “Why?  We’re family now.  That’s what families do for each other.” 

The closer I get to God in my journey the more I feel His peace within me.  To have the support of a wonderful family around me during my journey is helping me learn how to become more and more like Jesus, as we are called to do.  With each and every small step I take the sins of my past are becoming smaller and smaller.  The more I grow in Christ, the more freedom I have in my life.  In the past, I thought was being free was living behind a protective wall and keeping others away.  Now I am able to see that instead I actually built a big wall around myself so tall and so secure that no one could get in, and I could not get out.  God sent people into my life that are helping me break down these walls.  They not only help guide me out into the light; but also show me wonderful examples of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

As Christians, we know that we are all children of God; heirs with Jesus, but we also know that we are mere human beings living in a broken world.  To me, this means that I am fully aware of the fact that as wonderful as my new family is, that they are far from perfect.  No one is perfect (Romans 3:23 ~ For all have fallen short of the glory of God), and it is important that we do not forget that.  When someone in your family is causing you stress, or just making you crazy; give them little slack, learn to forgive and forget just as God does with us (Hebrews 8:12 ~ For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more) and as He calls for us to do with others (Luke 6:37 ~ Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven).  There’s an old saying that says “Families are like fudge – mostly sweet with a few nuts!” (~Author Unknown)  Enjoy, nuts and all... sometimes the nuts are the best part! 



~~ Dear God ~~ Your infinite wisdom and grace never cease to amaze me.  The whole idea of a family is an awesome idea!  Thank you so much for placing me with families that are the most incredible mixture of sweet and nutty people.  They help me, teach me, laugh with me, cry with me, play with me and pray with me.  But Your Son, Jesus, is the most important family member of all.  Please do not ever let us be separated.  Thank You, Father.  Oh, one more thing, Lord; am I one of the sweet ones or the nutty ones?  Never mind... I am not sure I want You to answer that one.  In Jesus name, AMEN.



13 comments :

  1. What a powerful message. I loved that about Fudge. It's true, it's real and so many people need to go back in time to "being a family". Thank you so much.

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  2. ABBEMINE - Thank you so very much for the feedback. I am so happy that it spoke to you. Hugs.

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  3. Wow! You are so lucky to have found a great church like that. My church family is ok,but I have not experienced what you have! I think I am the nut in my family!

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  4. Well, Lise, I think you are a beautiful awesome nut, and you are a great SparkFriend and a loyal reader. Thanks so much. You are an angel. If you're ever passing through Barrie, Ontario let me know and you can stop by and meet this nut with all my other nutty church family friends. lol

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  5. That's so funny that you mention fudge like that. A friend was visiting me last night and needed to get a gift for her godchild's baptism. So we went into a religious store near my house and they had a lovely print on the wall with that saying about fudge and mixed nuts. I laughed out loud as I was at the cash and the sign was hanging beside it on the wall. The lady said her family got it for her and the store since there are more than one combined households and many many nuts in the family. It means even more to her because her last name is Fudge. hehe

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  6. LOL That's an awesome story. Thank you so much for sharing that! I love it.

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  7. I will take that offer someday! Hug
    If you're ever in Moncton New-Brunswick, I would be happy to meet you and get to know you better. I have a spare bedroom and I can always make room for extra friends! Hug

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  8. I owe my sanity to my church family. I am so happy that you found that love , it is priceless.

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  9. Thank you. I have no doubt they saved my sanity as well. I am Bipolar and living without support is a place I never want to go back to again.

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  10. Cindylou58August 27, 2011

    I simply loved this blog!!!! I am many miles from most of my family and would just love to have a church family like yours. This was just priceless and a true jewel. Huggggs to you!!!!!

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  11. Thank you so very much CindyLou. It makes me so happy that you enjoyed it. Hugs.

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