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“Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion and kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another.  Just as the Lord has forgiven, so you are also to forgive.” Collossians 3:12-13 CSB

Today is my mother-in-law’s birthday, as well as my little brother Ron’s birthday.  I did not know my mother-in-law well, she passed away three years after we were married, she had alzheimer’s.  The little time I had to know her before she lost all memory was very short. But I do know, she raised an amazing son and I will always be grateful.  Not only is it her birthday, but it’s also her wedding anniversary. She made it easy on my father-in-law, he only had one date to remember for two big events.  If she hadn’t been born and they hadn’t been married, I wouldn’t be where I am today. And there is my little brother Ron who stands 6ft, 7in tall and weighs more than most.  I can’t get my arms around him when I hug him, he is a mountain of a man, which is why I love calling him “Little Brother!” He has been my rock in times of despair, my friend in times of need, my champion in times of battle.  They are part of my family, and family are our stomping grounds for practicing today’s verse.

Family is where we learn how to put on compassion and kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Family is where we learn to forgive. When Ron’s mom, Page was in end stage alzheimer’s, I knelt beside her bed and held her hand.  I prayed over her, hugged her and loved her to the best of my ability. When my little brother ratted me out to my mom for stealing Dad’s cigarette butts and trying to smoke them, I learned to forgive.  When he continued to rat me out over the course of a lifetime, I continued to forgive. And when our mother was declining and we had to take care of her together, my brother and I grew up together in a whole new way.  Family is our stomping grounds for learning to love fully and completely.

I know not all families are the same.  I know there is heartache in some families I can’t begin to understand.  But there is one family that you are accepted into that is perfect, the family of God.  In His family we can find the love we so desperately seek. In His family we find forgiveness, we find compassion and kindness, humility and gentleness, we find patience.  We find Him.

Today I’m thankful for family.  What are you thankful for?

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