"That Family"

You know "that family," don't you? They are the ones whose kids excel at everything, bring home the best grades and the best dates, maybe scratch the car backing out of a mall parking lot. They camp together, post about their great family vacations out West and their awesome family reunion. The parents constantly compliment the kids, and the kids (even the teens) publicly acknowledge how awesome their family is. Oh, sure, they have an occasional bump in the road, but for the most part, they are living the good life - the life they prayed and wished for. They are extraordinarily blessed and they recognize that.You know them, right?

And then there's "that family." That's the family who has psychiatric care on speed dial, who spend endless hours driving to therapy of one sort or another. Vacations don't happen a lot for them, as the bank account gets drained due to all their kids' needs. They may have a wheelchair, a nurse, a basket of meds they have to keep straight for each kid, and the parents think a dinner out by themselves with no phone calls from home counts as a vacation. The only time someone compliments their kids is when no when gets dragged out of church screaming. That family is living "la vida loca" and not always in a good way. You know them too.

"That family." My family belongs firmly in the second group. But the funny thing is that we're extraordinarily blessed as well. I can't begin to count how many times people have stepped up to help, to pray, to console, to laugh and commiserate. I have to wholly rely on God. My kids' achievements, no matter how small or how big, are always a celebration. We live the Prodigal Son parable over and over, playing different roles: sometimes the youngest and foolish son, sometimes the patient and prayerful father, sometimes the resentful yet dutiful older son. It is a place of stupidity, questioning, prayer, wistfulness, hunger, poverty, riches, and joy. We are "that family."

It is hard to know why God has made us the families we are. But make no mistake: one family is not better or worse than the other. We are all given what we are given by God for a reason, although that reason won't be entirely clear to us until we sit down with Almighty God himself for a long chat (and I'm hoping a few chocolate martinis.) We all carry burdens, but we also know that God doesn't give us equal burdens - who knows why? Again, I'm hoping that will come out at the Heavenly Martini Lounge.

Until then, remember we are all part of "that family" for a reason. We should not be jealous nor should we judge. We should hold each other in prayer for whatever needs we have, and trust that God - the Great I Am - loves "that family" and "that family" with the same great, eternal, creative and merciful love.

He said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’”

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