Lineage. Family history is fascinating…sometimes inspiring, sometimes shocking and maybe even a little scary. I recently had the chance to look through a book that compiled a portion of my family history.
“Dad, did you see the part about the 1930 census? Did all of Grandpa’s family really live in that little house, plus a boarder, too?” My Dad confirmed what seemed incredulous to me – all those people had lived in that tiny two bedroom house with one bathroom in the basement; the house that I always knew as “Nana’s house”!
I tried to imagine my great-grandfather boarding a boat in Italy headed to a land he must have felt held tremendous opportunity. He must have felt a better life waited across that vast body of water; why else would an 18 year old young man leave behind his wife and two sons?
Family history is interesting and I realize that one of my relatives put a lot of time and effort to put together this book that gave me a glimpse into the people and circumstances that led me to be me. I think lots of people are curious about who belongs to them and where they came from. But is where I came from more important than where I am going? And is my lineage limited to the blood and DNA that has been passed down to me from my ancestors?
There is another family history book that is far more interesting than the one that includes some Italian names that are difficult to pronounce. This book is also filled with lineage, is very interesting, sometimes shocking, sometimes a little scary, and includes more than a few difficult names to pronounce!
It is a compilation of human history and it includes an invitation to all of us to belong to another family ~ the book is the Bible and the family is God’s. I love reading the Bible because God reveals to me how little has changed in the history of families. I don’t know about you, but there were and are a lot of broken people in my family chain, and when I am added to the chain, people will look back and see that there were some cracks in my link as well.
The Bible is filled with broken people, less than perfect families, who are in need of healing, just like us. But God doesn’t leave them, or us, in brokenness. He offers us healing by inviting us to be a part of His family through faith in Jesus. Now, when I think of my family, I also think of all my brothers and sisters who share my faith and are part of God’s family. It is a connection and bond that I have found surpasses ethnicity and culture and it gives me a glimpse into what I believe heaven will be like. And I think looking forward to heaven is far more interesting than looking back. One day, whether we like it or not, we are all going to embark on a new journey across a vast expanse. Have you thought about your journey and where you are going?
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Jesus
If you haven’t considered being a part of God’s family, I pray you will consider it today.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14
Anti-aging. I am being actively recruited to join a radical movement. You probably are, too. I am not sure how I feel about it. On some days, I am completely on board, I grab my weapons of choice ~ face creams, supplements, scrubs ~ determined to beat the enemy before me. On other days, I am resigned to the fact that this is a movement that cannot succeed, in the end the battle cannot be won, no matter how hard anyone fights against it. I have to ask myself – do I really want to join the anti-aging movement anyway? And if so, at what cost?
There are some aspects of aging that I am less than excited about, like changes in my body shape and face. Changes in my biochemistry have altered once high energy levels and are interfering with a good night’s sleep. I can no longer ignore the fact that I am heading into a new season of life. But recruiters for the movement assure me that there are ways to stop this whole aging process; well, if not actually stop it, at least slow and mask it.
There are surgeries available for almost every aging body part ~ limbs, eyes, mouth, breasts, chins, jaws, butts, thighs, even body parts that no one sees and I am too embarrassed to mention. All of these problem areas can be lifted, tucked, smoothed, and tightened. If you have enough money and guts you can get all kinds of work done and have everyone asking, as though at a carnival guess your age game, how old do you think she is?
I am ashamed to admit I find myself engaged in this very catty game of comparison. And sometimes it makes the recruiter’s propaganda sound pretty good. In fact, I am not saying that I won’t, at some point and in some fashion, join the movement against the enemy known as aging; I don’t know. I certainly want to maintain good health as I age. I want to be physically fit and in good shape, to take care of my skin and teeth. I want to have a good level of energy and get the necessary amount of sleep to allow me to do all that God requires of me. And I might need some extra help to achieve the kind of health that will enable me to maintain my active work and personal life. So, at this time I can’t say…
But what I can say is that I want to start paying attention to the propaganda and my own focus on aging. Personally, I want my life, in this next season, to be rich in relationships, filled with satisfying activity, doing things that have eternal significance. I want to learn more, pray more, smile more, laugh more, see the good around me and give thanks more. I want to feel the swell in my heart when I think about my Savior and when I consider what is important to Him. Ironically, I don’t think He spends much time thinking about how droopy or tight, how wrinkly or smooth, how young or old my body looks ~ I think He spends much more time thinking about the condition and state of my heart, mind and soul. So instead, maybe the energy should be put into figuring out how to age well rather than engaging in a fight against inevitable aging.
The next question becomes, how shall we define “aging well”? As we age, do we want to be judged by the smoothness of our skin, or do we want to be judged by the content of our character? Hmmm…something to think about the next time the anti-aging crusaders make an appearance.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1Peter 3:3-4