Friday, March 2
Friday Fiction: Forever Family
This is one of my favorite stories, and I dedicate this one to my darling niece, Haley M., who has a HUGE forever-family of her own.
"Julie, honey-child, what's wrong?" Evelyn pulled her reading glasses off her nose and let them dangle from the silver chain around her neck. She set her Bible on the little table to her right and beckoned to the sniffling, weepy child fidgeting in the doorway of her sitting room. "Come tell your Grammy all about it."
Four-year old Julie stumbled across the room into her Evelyn's waiting arms. "They won't play with me. They're mean!" She wailed into the older woman's ample bosom.
"Ssh, now, shh." Evelyn took Julie into her lap and stroked her dark curls, rocking, murmuring, and cooing, until Julie's sobs subsided into hiccups. She sat the child upright and put a withered palm to each side of her face, wiping her tears away with crooked thumbs. "Now, tell Grammy what happened."
"I don't have anyone for me. The boys won't let me play with them, and Tammy and Sue have each other and they ignore me, and the big girls don't want to play at all, and I don't have anyone. They're all having fun and no one wants me. They don't like me."
"Nonsense. Of course your cousins like you."
"NO! They don't. They tease me and call me names and laugh at me and run away from me. I hate them." Fresh tears spilled down her cheeks.
"Now, child, 'hate' is strong word. You may not like how they're acting right now, and that's ok, but I don't want to hear you say "hate" about your family."
"They're not really my family. I don't have no family."
Evelyn pulled a few tissues from the box on her side table. "We are your family now--your forever-family--and we all love you. Here, wipe your face and blow your nose. I'll tell you a story about another forever-family."
Julie rubbed her cheeks and honked into the tissues, then handed the crumpled wad to her Grandmother. Evelyn set it aside and pulled the soggy girl close, setting her rocker in motion.
"Many, many years ago, a long time before my own grammy was born, there lived a man named Abraham. Now, God knew Abraham was a real special man, a real good man, and God loved him. So much so that he called Abraham His own child.
"All of Abraham's life, he lived to please God, and so, when they were very old, older than your Grammy, God blessed Abraham and his wife, Sarah, with a baby. Can you imagine? And they named that baby Isaac.
"God had big plans for Isaac. Isaac had lots of children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and he taught all of them about God and how special their family was to Him. Most of them loved God, too, and God considered all of Abraham and Isaac's family His children. In fact, God even renamed Isaac and his family Israel, which means the children of God. They were His chosen people.
"But see, God loved all the people in the world and He wanted all of them, not just Isaac's family, to be His children. So He made a plan to adopt them all."
Julie looked up at her Grandmother with wide eyes. "Dopt? Like me""
"Yes, honey-child, just like you." Evelyn brushed Julie's tangles away from her flushed little face. Love poured out of the older woman's warm, green eyes. "You know who Jesus is, right?"
"Jesus is God's son and He died for my sins. I learned that in Sunday School."
"That's right, child." Evelyn kissed the top of her head and hugged her. "That was God's plan--for Jesus to die. But that was only part of His plan. God made Him alive again. Raised Him right up from the dead."
"Why, Grammy" Why'd He do that""
"So we'd believe He was real, that He loves us THAT much. And so we'd love Him."
"But what about the doption?" Julie squirmed around to look at her grandmother.
Evelyn chuckled. "I'm getting there. See, the best part of God's plan was this: He said that anyone who believes that God's son Jesus died for their sins, that He rose from the dead, well, God said he would adopt them and make all of them His children, too. We'd all be his forever-family."
"Wow. Mommy and Daddy said they could only pick one kid to dopt and they picked me. God dopted everybody?"
"He'll adopt anyone who believes in Jesus, yes. Pretty neat, huh?"
"Yeah, Grammy, that's real neat." Julie's little brow wrinkled and Evelyn could see her processing this idea. "God must have an awful big house to dopt so many kids."
"Indeed He does, child, indeed He does. But that's a story for another day."
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"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes."
Psalm 18:24 (Msg)