"The best loved stories are not from books or films BUT those from our own families." ~ Anonymous
It's been said, "every family has a story to tell" and today for my last post of 2016 I welcome you to ours. "The house that built me was strong, faithful, not perfect by any means, but graceful and loving, and still standing strong. I was given joy, hope and an inner peace which has continued to give my life direction despite the winds blowing and howling outside. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." That's actually from a post I wrote over four years ago called 'The House that Built Me' in July of 2012. Re-reading over my older posts from the last 10 years the truth is my writings haven't really changed much since 2007. I'm still writing about what's most important to me...my family.
My family, they are my core, my foundation and the roots from which all I am springs from. A beautiful Malay proverb says, "A tree with strong roots laughs at storms." My family may not be perfect, and the storms have most definitely come barreling in bending our branches. But you know what we've learned through the years...if we're firmly planted as a family we'll bend, never break. Quoting myself a few years back, "As a child I was given love, taught fortitude, shown grace and given the gift of watching true mercy lived out in front of me. I grew strong because I had no doubt I was firmly in the hands of the One who loved me, the One Who breathed life into my spirit."
I have so much to be thankful for. And why,well because of those I call family. Because of my family roots I have security, well-being, and a place to call home. I'm a mother, a wife and a daughter. I'm an only child but I'm surrounded by close extended friends we call family. I'm never alone because I'm loved deeply, unconditionally and my place at the table, no matter how big or small is always valued. Yes I was given my father's name, and it's true both my parents raised me but that is not the only reason I'm secure in who I am and where I come from. Our table may be small, but there's always room for everyone even if our elbows are bumping. The only true one at the center of our family is Jesus Christ. He sits at the head of our family. The truth is my family is everything to me and yes for them I would sacrifice all I own including my life. When one of us accomplishes something, we all share in the joy. Success by one is celebrated by all. Sure we argue, disagree and feel misunderstood from time to time but it all comes out in the wash. Unconditional love is the foundation, the roots of any and all strong families. You see,"strong roots produce beautiful leaves." And this love, this family IS the house that continues to build me.
Because of my roots and the strong foundation my parents built our family upon I am content with all my life has given me. As I say all the time I am far from perfect. I have flaws like nobodies business. And I mean it when I say I'm a sassy southern mess. But because of my faults I can say I'm authentic. I've learned to listen, to be thoughtful and to sit side by side my family at the table. Because of the house that has built me, I have learned to act compassionately and with unconditional love. Don't get me wrong, I can be fierce especially when it comes to protecting my family, but I've been taught and shown forgiveness as well. I grew up not just with faith but with a personal relationship within my faith. I am strong only because my roots are grounded and my foundation is solid. Colossians 2:7 says,"Sink your roots in him and build on him. Be strengthened by the faith that you were taught, and overflow with thanksgiving." Till this very day I find my strength in the roots my parents planted in side His love so long ago.
Life lesson #110 ~ This IS the House that Built Me. This house is the same home that gave me wings, taught me how to fly and then to raise my own children to sing with voices of their own. Because of this very foundation I know who I am, where I come from and sometimes I even have a pretty good idea of where I'm heading to. This house, well it has shown me how to love, to care enough to fight for what we have together and not to ever let go. Generations from now my children's children will tell stories, tales of our family who came before them with the knowledge they too are a continuation of me, of Johnny, of our boys, of my mom, my dad and the generations before us. Yes my grandchildren's grandchildren will know just as I do today the house that built them. So yes looking back on the last 9 years while gazing forward to the new year I'm thankful for my core values, my faith and for the unconditional love of my family. My roots run strong and deep. Our home is filled with so many wonderful, sad and beautiful memories and love. And yes everyday this house that built me adds just a little more joy to my life.
"Remember your roots, trust your wings." ~ Bellamy Young
From our home to yours Happy New Year!