The phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” rings true in my family. Both of my parents have always been very present for my siblings and me along with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was instilled from a young age that family always came first, came before anything else. And I can honestly say that I’m a better person because I value family. Please hear this: My family isn’t perfect. We have our fair share of struggles and we have certainly let each other down at times, BUT we never abandon the unit.
I’ll never forget my sophomore year in high school. It seemed like our family couldn’t catch a break. We had four deaths in our family in less than six months. I remember asking God why He would let us be so close only to tear us apart. It wasn’t long before I realized that God specializes in infusing purpose to our pain.
Pressure does not only refine an individual – it refines the unit. Watching my family support and encourage one another through the toughest moments is what made me appreciate them even more. We were all broken and we were all hurting, but we were together. I have seen love in their eyes in the most precious way.
1 Corinthians 13, the infamous love chapter in the Bible, helps me to gauge what love is supposed to look like:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
The thing I love about my family is that we don’t need much to be happy. We aren’t impressed with fancy gifts and elegant words (although we like those too.) What matters most and impresses deeply is intentionality and the motives of the heart. And to be honest, we are a pretty loud bunch, but in the ‘let’s have fun’ way not in the ‘noisy gong’ way.
“And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
My extended family teaches me this every day – nothing is worth it without love. From phone calls to cards in the mail to reminders of how proud they are of me – I am well loved. I’ve lived far away from my family for over 8 years, and even when we’re miles apart they teach me these truths:
Love is patient and kind;
Aunt Retta (rest in peace)
love does not envy or boast;
Kameen, my cousin
it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing,
Shy, my god sister
but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things,
Jazmine, my cousin
believes all things,
Aunt Jackie (rest in peace)
hopes all things,
endures all things,
Love never ends.
The DuPree/Thompson family.
As you are surrounded with notions of love this week, hopefully you’ve taken stock of the importance of God’s love for you and His purposes in loving one another. While reading through these verses, who in your own family was impressed upon your heart?
To my grandparents, thank you passing on your legacy. To my family, thank you for loving me. I am proud of us.