When I was 11 years old, God brought my world tumbling down.
I was a regular Christian girl growing up in America. I did chores, headed off to school, came home, did homework, ate with my family and helped with the dishes.
When I was 11, God loved me enough to turn my world upside down, to force our family out of our typical Christian life, to cause us to reevaluate goals and focus on priorities. When I was 11 God poured out the blessing of cancer to our family.
My mother was 35 years old and pregnant with her fifth child when the doctors said, “Six more months”.
What do you do with your last six months?
As my parents struggled to answer that question our lives changed, priorities became clear and we spent more time on the most important things because we no longer had time for anything less.
My parents decided to pour themselves into me so that I could care for the home when my mother was no longer here. They pulled me out of the Christian school I attended and began to homeschool and train me to help with the home. As they did this they realized that there is something biblical and beautiful about parents dedicated to training and educating their children in such a focused and constant way.
After homeschooling me for a few short months, my parents gave both of my school aged siblings a paper bag to pack up their school things and bring them home.
Through cancer God taught our family that our focus should be relational, first relationship with God, then with others. We are called to love and care for people, we should work to improve the lives of people, we must appreciate and enjoy people. It seems simple when you read it, but it’s uncommon in this world. It’s much more common to sacrifice people and relationship for a bigger home, a nicer car, a better education and even recognition, or a certificate of completion.
We learned that sometimes (dare I say often) the regularly accepted way of doing things isn’t the biblical way of doing things.
We learned that God is good, no matter what.
After two years of fighting cancer, God showed another grace to our family. He granted healing to my mother. She has now been blessed to see 20 of her grandchildren and is eagerly awaiting the birth of two more.
The pregnancy that ALL the doctors recommended terminating because if she didn’t neither she nor the baby would survive, resulted in my youngest brother, the father of two, who is currently stationed in Afghanistan.
When Mark and I married we stood on the shoulders of our parents, gleaned from what the Lord had taught them and built on their foundation.
Our family focuses on relationship.
We try not to spend our time doing things that are merely good because we know that God only gives time for the best.
We strive to live each day and make each decision with purpose.
From the early years of our marriage we knew that God had called us to the mission field of the family, that God had called us to help and encourage others as they built their family according to His blueprint.
God has since expanded our mission to include helping those families join together to create a larger family, a Christian community. It is our dream to see a large and flourishing community of Christians, here in our hometown, that love and care for each other in real, physical ways and not just in church on Sunday and Wednesday. We pray to see God’s people of different denominations coming together as family and reaching out to impact the communities around them for the glory of God.
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us.
So as I write, keep in mind that relationship/community is our family’s calling. We focus much of our ‘educational’ time on equipping our children to be in relationship with God. We spend a lot of time with other families. We strive to have an open door and regularly practice hospitality to those both inside and outside the Christian community.
To facilitate these things, we spend very little time involved in what many people invest much of their energy, extra-curricular activities such as organized sports, competitions and classes. We believe that all of the benefits of these activities can be garnered from putting our time and resources to work serving God as we seek to build His kingdom.
If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? … If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. ~1 Cor. 12:14-18
Your calling and your focus may be different from ours, but we rejoice that God has made it so that our different personalities, gifts and callings work together for the good of the body and for the glory of Christ.
Kimberly is a wife and homeschooling mother of 10 who seeks to contribute to her family’s mission of building up families through her blog Raising Olives.
You may also be interested in Carter’s Story: God’s Amazing Grace
Photo Credit: Mother & Daughter Foot Prints