( This “article” was actually printed in Above Rubies magazine a few years ago. But, I wanted to take the opportunity to share it here as well. )
Generational impact! I have been challenged to make a generational impact.
Last summer we were asked to create a t-shirt design for our family reunion. I had something in my mind and explained to my husband the vision I had for the t-shirt. He has amazing skills so he was able to carry out exactly what I had envisioned. I gotta tell you, the picture in my mind was not hard to develop since I had such great material to work with. Let me tell you about my husband’s family, the subject of the t-shirt and the people we have the honor of reuniting with every other summer.
Grampa Keith and Gramma Sara were amazing people. I never had the opportunity to meet them, they passed away when my husband was a boy but, I feel as if they have been a part of my life. Keith was a pastor and Sara a woman passionate about supporting her husband and being a godly mother and wife. Both were first generation Christians. I have to admit, I don’t know their full story but the snippets of their lives that I have had conveyed to me endear them to me nonetheless.
The word of God and adherence to their faith were the foundations of their home. They did not have much materially but they were rich in the blessings of the Lord. Together they had seven children, five girls and two boys. My father in law was the oldest boy. There were times when they lived in a two room house. The twin girls shared a bed all the way through high school , (if I remember correctly, several of them did) and tell of all the joy that those years of togetherness brought. Gramma Sara could stretch a pot of soup very far, not only for their own family but to welcome in those who may visit. Every Christmas an uncle from California would send a 40# box of raisins, a box of almonds and a big bag of oranges up to Oregon on the Greyhound bus for the family to enjoy. They have sweet memories of that and even in their 60’s and 70’s, the seven aunts and uncles share stories of how exciting it was to receive that special delivery!
These seven siblings went on to have a total of 25 children between them all. Those 25 cousins have been greatly influenced by the legacy of their grandparents. Most of the cousins are married and have children of their own. Many of the cousins are in full time Christian ministry. There are pastors and missionaries in more than one country across the world from this line. There are cousins focused on raising their children for the Lord and to strike a blow to the enemy as their families impact their communities around each one. This generation was raised with vision and a full knowledge of their heritage and their part in it.
At current count, there are 76 ( ?) offspring from the cousins. Those include biological children and adopted children ( both domestic and international). Two of the youngest generation recently have gotten married and one of those is expecting the first great-great grandchild of Keith and Sara. Even in this tier of the great grandchildren on our family pyramid we already have many young people engaged in missions , service and hearts for the Lord. The young adults, teens and young children all know the legacy that they are part of.
When we gather at our family reunion, we have hours of sharing time, rejoicing in each other’s triumphs and praying for one another’s burdens. Those of us who married in to the family feel honored to be added in. We are grateful to join with our spouses to share in this legacy of generational faithfulness to the Lord.
Our family T-shirt this summer symbolized what is possible with the Lord. At the top of the shirt is a cross which is truly the foundation and head of this family. Below the cross ( and symbolically, at the feet of it) a silhouette of Keith and Sara. The next set of silhouettes represent the 7 siblings and their spouses and below them, the symbols for the 25 cousins and their spouses. The final tier are the great grandchildren of Keith and Sara, this grouping will be increasing greatly through the next 20-30 years as they marry and add to this lineage. And the legacy will continue as the great grandchildren start coming.
The t-shirt is a nice memory of our family reunion but ultimately, it is a testimony to God’s faithfulness and a people dedicated to humbly serve Him and do His will. When we wear these t-shirts or people receive a notecard with the image on it, may we be a testimony to those who stand there and ask “Who are all these people? Is this for real?” Yes. This is what happens when two people fall in love and seek to honor the King of Kings with their lives. Let it continue with each of our marriages and in each of our homes. May it be unto you and your family as it is to us.