Something clicked as we sat there talking, Nancy and I, reflecting, as our church family picnic drew to an end..
This truly is an adoptive family. Each of us adopted into this family by our Father, broken and being healed. A larger picture of Freedom, seen last night, as the pieces came together for a gathering. This family-what God intends for us as His children, as we work together, strive together, play together, deny self for the sake of the gospel. Freedom Fellowship, part of a bigger picture, God's children, His church.
Some of us come, just as adopted children, totally broken and bruised from our former way of life. Some of us come, perhaps a little less scarred. So, we encourage, and yes sometimes, push and pull through sweat and tears, each other along, reminding one another what this "inheritance" means. Reminding one another that "you were chosen and you belong in this family". Reminding one another that we're alive (no longer dead), we've been made new, we're each accepted into this family-always-no place for jealousy-ever, we are blessed in Jesus, we have a strong Father-a strong God, our Father is FOR us, we will NEVER EVER be abandoned again-ever, our Father fights for us, we are for one another-we will fight for one another, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, there is JOY here...for the praise of our God's glorious grace.
From my small place at the pool (just one perspective among many):
The dads of the littles, played in the pool with them...a blessing to watch.
The dads of the bigs...they jumped right in. Keith, Steve, and Curt clumped down that oh-my, will-it-hold-together slide, screamed like little girls once or twice, for the enjoyment of the rest of us.
Rachael, with her laughing eyes, tried to bully Christine into going down the slide...way to stick to your guns, Chris! (or perhaps you're a wimp :-)
The joy that Rachael and Tish showed, just playing in the water...so thankful they help to lead our young ones. So thankful these sisters lead me to joy in my Father.
The young boys/men lined up to go off the dive...brave young men...so thankful for them.
Ruth, flipping and turning, right off that dive...Yes. You.go.girl.
Manny (aka Mr. T.) chomping down chips beside Mr. "I'm Bigger Now, beside two white mamas who often wondered if they'd ever be home. Thank you for your faithfulness, God.
Mike, a brother behind the scenes, cooked chicken for everyone!
Missy, leaving dripping wet, well 'cause, someone thought she looked hot.
Liz spotting Jules and Cole 50 cents for much needed chips :-)
The Keefers shared a chair with a woman, whose husband watched her children, 'cause she needed to just.sit.and.talk.with her older sister.
The missing members of the family were missed, all the while, given blessing to go.
The "older" girls, caring for the littles, so the mamas could have an entire conversation. Love them.
Family who served the rest by dishing food, carrying water, carrying chairs, police-ing the bouncy things-go Megan!, making signs, organizing, reminding us week after week in the bulletin...
Eddy, in his new role in our family, serving, loving, and playing well, right along with Libby-loving, laughing, talking, and taking photos.
Christine and Curt were able to drive to the picnic together-blessing.
Our boys on skateboards and rollerblades and things looking like skateboards...so fun.
Wearing someones flip flops home, 'cause I guess other women like black Old Navy flip flops, too.
Thank you, God, for this family, this place to learn and grow, into the likeness of your Son, for your glorious Name.