A place of writing and reflection…
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”
—2 Corinthians 4:7-10
For some of you this may be a verse you’ve heard time and time again. For other of you, this may be your first time hearing of it and still trying to make sense of it. Lately this verse has begun to speak volumes to me.
When we are born we are each born into a family whether whole, or broken; saintly or not. As you may have read in an earlier post, mine was more along the “not” and “broken” category. While things were not always bad they were not always perfect either. Becoming a Christian—the only one in my direct family—didn’t make things any easier.
However, God didn’t leave me to pity my lonely existence or oust me as the “black sheep” of the family. Rather, he gave me a group of close friends who have grown to be more family to me than anyone else.
Over the past twelve years I’ve grown up with these, watching many of them marry off and have their own children, all of which now call me Tia. We walked together through many issues and through the grace of God, supported each other through the roughest—and still do.
Mi otro Familia, as I have grown to call them, have been there for me through some of the hardest times in my life. (Now while I’m not saying I didn’t have other friends, but these were there when I needed them most.)
They were there when I hit rocky situations late in high school and even after graduation. They were the same people offering encouragement when jobs didn’t work out and bosses drove me to tears. They were also the first to jump on my back when I did something stupid. They were there offering a hand with practical things like house repairs and rides to church.
I worked along beside mi familia in ministry as well. We started out under and organization called Younglife and when things didn’t work out we began our own ministry call Xtreme. We weathered a horrible church split and a later reunion after quite some time later.
More recently, mi familia has grown closer to my heart as they have been there since my move to attend Bible college. They had been speaking to me about it since another family member had left to do so, but life situations at the time made it impossible—or so it seemed.
Shortly after the beginning of the year in 2009, my life fell apart and I had to leave under dire circumstances. The move broke my heart, but I made that big decision quicker than anything else in my life up to that point. A few days later and after a seventeen hour drive, I found myself living in the girls housing of the Bible college.
Everything felt so surreal to me at the time. I had never been out of state, much less out of town. I struggled with relationships and making friends, but mi familia was still there though this time it had to be on the other side of a phone line, e-mail or letter. Eva, who has perhaps endured the most of my whining, has been the biggest help to me.
Yet in all that time I never realized just what I meant to them. I always saw myself as just a friend—you know the kind that always comes over and sometimes leaves their stuff there—not actual family.
My first year in Bible college I scrounged up the money for plane tickets home for Christmas and what I received there left me in tears when I had to go back. There was shopping and lots of family time, but it was the confirmation from everybody else referring to me as sister or cousin and even granddaughter and not just the kids calling me Tia—though they still do.
Up until that point I had lived my life in Bible college feeling ultimately alone—estranged from the only family I had ever known, not knowing if I could ever talk to them again when all along God had something different for me.
These were mi familia supporting me and walking me through life. Laughing at our mistakes and reminiscing about the great changes in our lives over the past few years. Eva and the family came up at graduation not only for her son’s graduation but mine as well.
This past Thanksgiving has further cemented this fact into my heart. And each passing year has grown a deeper love in me for this family. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it, but I can’t wait to see what God holds for us next!
Now as I look forward to this new season in my life, I have the opportunity of continuing to grow in God and treasuring these earthen vessels that can never be replaced.
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
—2 Corinthians 4: 16-18
Copyright The Faithbook 2011