Together, Dan and I have nine grandchildren. Two older teenagers. A toddler. And six kids in the middle.
My new daughter-in-law, Azla, sent a photo of The Middles taken at our wedding. They’re sitting at a picnic table wearing beautiful smiles that range from impish to goofy. They had only met the day before.
The Middles: Azla’s son and her husband’s daughter from previous marriages. My three adopted grandsons, born on a different continent. My bio granddaughter who now shares her parents with five other siblings.
“Each kid here has a story and became family due to loss,” reflected Azla in her text message. “Jack and Maddie became siblings due to divorce. Lydia and the boys became siblings due to poverty.”
“And now they’re all family from two great losses,” referring to Dan’s first wife and my first husband who both died of cancer.
These kids—who have experienced their own heartaches—became family because of our losses. And Dan’s and my hearts have expanded to take in more people to love.
No coincidence. No accidental family.
This thought from Ann Voskamp:
And for a string of moments, I remember that I get to live into the dare that though there is suffering in this world, though there is dying of the loveliest and most loved … there’s the grace of a miraculous communion of all the broken. There’s the dare to come to the feast to be shared.
Yes, there is suffering and death on this earth. But there’s also the miracle of the heartbroken getting a second chance at joining together in new kinship.
We live on a broken planet. Abandonment. Human trafficking. Broken homes. Cancer. Hunger. War. And God wasn’t the one who broke it.
But one of His attributes that I appreciate most is His ability to bring good out of our hard places.
What if God knows how to restore and renew and repurpose? And what if we, despite our sorrow and loss, could come together and share in the feast?
He does. We could.
Our daughter-in-law finished her text message: “Life is hard and can be tragic, but also full of surprises.”
These treasured children have become family—not by accident, but by divine appointment. One big noisy, happy, beautiful mess.
This thought from a letter written to the Church in ancient Rome:
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28
Beautiful family, Marlys. Beautiful words, too.
Thank you, Julie!
I love hearing and seeing God’s great handy work!
I so deeply believe that God indeed does cause all things to work together for good to those who love Him! Your family is living proof of that fact, and so is ours. I also believe that we may not always see the full good this side of heaven, but it is so wonderful that our Father lets us get at least a glimpse. Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us all Marlys!
I love how you said this, Tina: ” … we may not always see the full good this side of heaven, but it is so wonderful that our Father lets us get at least a glimpse.” Yes!
Judith Vander Wege
I like your reminder: “God wasn’t the one who broke it.”
A reminder we need to hear from time to time, isn’t it, Judith?
God bless you both as you expand your love unconditionally.
Beautifully written, Marilyn: ” … as you expand your love unconditionally.” Thank you, my writerly friend!
Marlys – This is beautifully written as always. I would love your new address as well. Thank you. Virtual hugs.
Virtual hugs back to you, Kathi!
Marlys, this was a nice edition. I used the address on your announcement to send you a card but it was returned to me.
I’m so happy for you and Dan and your family! Keep the love flowing!
Thank you for your kind words, Peggy. (I’ll private message you with my new address.)
Amen! In this crazy time it’s easy to get wrapped up in the negative and forget who’s really in charge. Thanks for the reminder. It sounds like the wedding was amazing. So happy for you both/all.
You’re so right, Cyndi: ” … it’s easy to get wrapped up in the negative and forget who’s really in charge.” Thank you! (Yes, the wedding weekend was fun with plenty of food and activities before the Saturday afternoon wedding. I loved that our kids and grands could all meet each other in that relaxed setting.)