Thursday, December 2, 2010


It is certainly not my intention to brag, but I must give credit where it is due: I have one amazing family.

Family, to me, is meant to be your collection of ambassadors to the world. Your parents raise you, instill wisdom, values, and learning, help to develop you as much as possible mentally, emotionally, and physically, and also affirm you and help validate you. It is a lot of responsibility, the weight of which is paramount. My parents bore that weight well. They not only provided a safe and wholesome childhood (all bad paths I took were completely of my own selfish curiosity), but have helped me in ways that are almost embarrassing to admit.

Then there are my sisters, though very different they have taught me how to value the heart and gentle spirit of the female. I have to say that some of my lessons were learned in hindsight (sorry for the time I knocked you over with my backpack in the snow, Kikken), but I don't think I would fully be the socially-imbued individual I am today if not for them. They have been predominant in the way of teaching me how to just enjoy life and have as much fun along the way as possible.

I say all that to say this: while all families have their disagreements and miscommunications, you always have them at the end of the day, you will always belong to them, and them to you (no matter how high or thick the walls you put up can be sometimes). You will always share the same heart, the same blood, the same heritage. You are married to this community.

There are a lot of intellects who think very highly of themselves and see belief in God as a crutch, something people need to lean on in order to give themselves some hope or chance of finding security when there is none in their lives. I will not go into my own suppositions about the person who thinks they are too smart to need anyone other than themselves, but, suffice to say there is intrinsic value within a community that carries no price tag: it is priceless. In fact, the people who feel as though they are not tied to society or to a community are generally likely to be suicidal sociopaths (sorry to flex my social psychology background muscles here).

I acknowledge there are people who do go to church with broken families, broken relationships, and broken trust who are looking to or for something to bring about mending in their lives. I do not begin to dare to say these people are weak, though some would write them off as such. What I can say that is that it is evident they are in need. And, if their need is to go to church or accept God as a crutch, then more power to them: at least they are acknowledging a power greater than their own and are willing to tap into it. The purpose of a crutch is to bring about healing, to allow what has been broken to be strong and whole once again. The true measure of that individual is when they turn brokenness into victory and are able to function as a support to someone else comes comes along afterwards.

One of my favorite moments as a prayer partner is when I speak imminent victory over the individual's life, that what they bear now will one day be a testimony and a story of encouragement to others who follow them with the same burden(s). We as the church are a family: dysfunctional at times, but ultimately interested in providing the love, validation, and acceptance one needs to build strength within themselves. And while some would argue this is weakness and only weak people need God, I think one would be hard-pressed to find a healthy individual who exists outside of a community and has not had another person in their life who pushed them to be the best person they could be.

I am not afraid to admit that my beliefs were a natural choice because of my parents. I found my own faith, but it was hard to rebuff God when my parents have always been His best ambassadors to me, when they have shown me love without condition greater and more times than I could ever count or repay. Special thanks to Michael Ray, Cheryl, Kristen Renee, and Sarah Nicole for making this entry and this life possible.

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