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“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19

Saturday, July 3, 2010


“So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.” I Thessalonians 2:8

For the past two months, I’ve been fretting about my lack of time and opportunity to post a blog. I was afraid those folks who told me they read and enjoyed my blog might think I’d abandoned them. But not so.

Since April, I’ve been occupied with creating dude ranch decorations for our church’s Vacation Bible School. While designing a herd of comical-looking horses, cardboard fences, and a stage backdrop 24 feet long and 8 feet tall is fun, it does take an enormous amount of time. In addition, I attended the BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE in May, followed by a writers retreat in Hutchinson, Kansas with my awesome critique partners. I arrived home on June 7, put up the VBS stage set on June 8th, and wrapped up a few loose ends. I took a day to do laundry and re-pack my suitcase in preparation to leave two days later for Pennsylvania where I spent two glorious weeks with my sister and her family.

When I finally arrived home last week, exhausted but contented, I reflected on that contentment and why reconnecting with dear friends and family is so satisfying. Our relationships are one of the gifts God gives us. As a writer, I’ve had the privilege of making friends with other writers all over the country, many of whom I only see once a year. Email keeps us connected in between times, but it’s not the same as a real, live, in-person hug. Spending time brainstorming, working, laughing, and a little goofing off with my incredible critique partners is such a joy (although this year we were saddened because we were incomplete—missed you, Eileen).

God gifts us with special friendships—those people with whom we can be completely transparent and not have to worry about condemnation or rejection. Just when I realize that God has blessed me way more abundantly than I deserve, He adds something extra—a sweet touch of grace. We get to worship together. That connection we have with those dear friends whom we rarely get to see is enhanced by the gathering together and connecting with God in a spirit of praise.

The family visit was even sweeter. My niece decided to plan a birthday surprise for her mother—my sister, Pam, and I enthusiastically went along with her plan. What fun to spend time watching my great-niece and great-nephew win their championships with their softball and baseball teams, and sit around the table with family members that live way too many miles away. Then my sister and I drove across the state, back to her home where more delightful times with more family members awaited. My two nephews are the handsomest guys, and their wives and kids are such fun. I’m sure my nephews grew tired of this old lady hugging them every time they turned around, but hugging those guys feels just like hugging my son. Did I mention they’re handsome?

There were several dozen times during the hugging, laughing, and “reunion-izing” that I felt a wee bit guilty about neglecting my blog (especially after the marketing classes I took at the writer’s conference in May!). But I believe God gives us connections for specific reasons. I’m not talking about the connections one makes marketing or promoting their work. That’s called networking, and it has nothing to do with the nurturing of friendships or cherishing of family members. As children of God, we have a responsibility to make sure those people who are the most important in our lives are assured of that special place they hold in our hearts. God gave me the opportunity to reconnect with great-nieces and great-nephews, all of whom are growing up way too fast, a dear niece who reminds me of my mother, and two nephews (did I mention they’re handsome?) who remind me of my son. And my sister… oh my goodness, the time we spent laughing and hugging. Who needs a therapist when you have sisters?

Let me mention here that this is only one half of the family. The other half lives in Florida, and I intend to spend time “reunion-izing” and catching up with my Florida sister, Chris, and her family just as soon as God works out the details. The most awesome thing about these connections? God is in the midst. Pick the phone or jump in the car today, and go tell someone how important they are to you.

Thanks for letting me share my heart.

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