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  • Tiffany James

Can Someone say "Family!"


A couple of weeks ago, we had our family reunion. There were no words to express the joy, pride, and strength I felt being with "my" family! Yes, you got it these amazing group of people belong to me! I am so tremendously blessed. They are a part of my history; a part of who I am. There is nothing like family! It's hard to explain, but I will do my best to try. Aristotle stated, “If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.” Our beginning is God! When we look back to the beginning we understand the purpose of family and embrace how valuable it truly is. Think about it for a minute… God, who is the Alpha and the Omega, meaning He is the beginning and the end of all things. He was and is and is yet to come. He created the heavens and the earth, placing the stars in the sky and naming each of them. He holds eternity in the palm of His hands. He is the Great I AM. He is everything, has everything, which means He needs absolutely nothing, yet He desired family.  The bible states in Genesis 2:7 that the Lord formed man from the dust of the ground. He created a vessel, but Adam was just that- a beautiful, hand crafted vessel. He was hollow, without purpose or life. It was not until God breathed His breath of life into Adam’s nostrils that he became a living soul. Again, think about this for a moment: God, who is all-powerful, who could have easily spoken and caused the wind to blow life into Adam chose to give Adam His breath. Yes, He gave Adam the DNA of His Spirit. He created a person that would be forever connected to Him. God would have a part of Himself manifested in the earth generation upon generation. In addition, He wanted Adam to know what that felt like to be internally connected to someone beyond words, actions, emotions, and physical location. This is why God put Adam to sleep to create Eve and, why Adam stated, “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” It was family forming here on earth mimicking heaven’s design. The two became one by a supernatural design! Now we can understand why Jesus promised the disciples in John 14:18-20 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”  It’s supernatural, God’s greatest masterpiece- It’s FAMILY.  You never have to worry about if you belong, God created Family so that you always have a place! You belong even when you don't feel like you do. 

Romans 8:37-39 (paraphrasing) reminds us that nothing can separate us from God’s love for He is Love, neither death nor life, neither angles nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow-not even the powers of hell! How can you undo DNA? How can you undo the blood? It baffles me to hear people say they are disowning their family. To disown your family is to disown self, to dishonor/disrespect your family members is to dishonor and disrespect yourself, to judge and try to tear down a family member is to do the same to self.  There is an anonymous quote: “Family is Like Branches on a Tree We All Grow in many directions, yet our roots remain as one.” We are one; we are family. That’s why, for example, when we lose one of our branches (family member), as family, we can all feel it. We become weaker in the moment, but when we come together in love to celebrate the life of that person our roots are strengthen by each other. We are able to carry on their legacy  and the family continues to flourish.

Marcus Garvey once stated, “A people without the knowledge of their history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”  I will put it in a simpler way, that person is like Adam before the DNA (Breath) of His Heavenly father, you are nothing more than a hollow shell.  Family is our foundation. Your family is a part of your history, a part of who you are! When everything else is taken from us, we still have each other because Family should be where Home is. It does not matter if we argue, talk to each other, never met, or live far away, etc., nothing will change the fact that we are family. It’s God’s plan. With family you belong to a people that you can call your own. Remember you can’t undo DNA! People, especially our younger generation try to find their identity in everything outside of themselves. So, they invest their time and energy in superficial relationships, careers, education, and unfortunately technology (phones, social media, and internet) Not that these things don’t have a place in our lives, some of them are very important, but we must remember that some of these investments are temporal and won’t yield us internal and eternal blessings.

Did you know that we are stronger when we  realize that we are part of a bigger story?

I often think about my ancestors from Africa and what they endured and sacrificed. Their story is a part of my history. Yes, I was born in America, but somewhere in my blood line there were those who were taken from their land, enslaved, beat, raped, dehumanized, stripped from their family, forced to serve another group of people that were not their family- yet they endured! From those generations, others emerged and endured racism, segregation, inequality, etc. yet, they endured. They fought so that one day generations after them would be free again! Free to stay together and stand proud together.  I think we do an injustice when we take for granted what was stolen from them- Family! This can be a blog in itself!  And by the way, its not a matter of race because we all have a history. Although, we can't blame everything on slavery or history, but we also can't deny that for many families, mine is African American-  disconnect, dishonoring, and devaluing of each other is associated with it. 

Never the less, I want to leave you with a post that appeared on social media that gained a lot of response: “Family isn’t what it use to be. It use to be a time when you could go to grandma house to eat, hang out with the family, and just have good time. Now everybody chooses who they want to deal with. Aunts and uncles choose which kids to be proud of. Brother’s and Sister’s treat friends more like family. Cousins talk about each other like they aren’t family and like they are not flawed. Grandparents spend time with certain grand kids. And the only time you see everyone together is at a funeral.”  I know this is not entirely true and it also does not speak of all families, but there is some validity to it.

So, take time this week to evaluate what’s important. I know that there are so many different family dynamics but unfortunately, good or bad, they are still your family and a part of your history. Either way, love and pray for your family even if it’s from a distance (lol).  No family is perfect, but they are yours. So, embrace them.

Lastly, if you had a pie chart and you had to divide it up with school, work, friends, social media, phones, social activities, and family. What percentage do you invest in your family?  Let’s get back to having dinner at the dinner table, lets get back to spending time with family a priority, lets take time to talk to each other with respect and without judgement, lets get back to companionship with cousins, sisters, and brothers instead of competing. Remember, we are one! I love to see members of “my” family succeed… it makes me proud! Let’s get back to honoring our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles no matter how grown we are. Let's get back to family holiday's- I know some traditions need to change, but some were good! And gathering with family during holidays was one of them- prayer, laughter, fun, games, stories, conversations, and food create great memories and it strengthens us internally even if we don't realize it. Gathering together in love does our spirit and soul good !  As parents, let’s make investing in our children a priority by listening to them, spending quality time with them, talking with them, helping with homework again, going on walks and bikes rides, and being involved in their lives-make them get off the phone, cut the TV and video games off and pull the ear plugs out of their ears. Let’s pick up the phone again and hear each other voices every once and a while; I love texting too but let it not stand in the way of really connecting with each other. I can go on, but we will be here all day. I am so glad that I grew up with parents that instilled in me the value of family. I never even knew I had a choice to not be with my family, especially during the holidays. I never knew that I could not forgive my family- we did not have to accept their actions but we had to forgive and try to move forward. It’s just the way it was, and I was always excited and looked forward to being with my family. I have the honor to not just know of my great aunts and uncles but to know them and spend time with them. Our girls got a chance to meet their great , great aunts and uncles in their late 90's. When I was growing up they took time to help raise my sister and I. I am lucky to know my second, third, and fourth cousins. Like the branches on a tree, we are all spread out, but our roots make us one and when we come together I feel like there was never any distance or space between. It feels home because family is where home is.  I have so many memories that are a part of me and they strengthen me when I feel alone. I am so grateful for my family. I believe a lot of people feel incomplete and disconnected because Family is not what it use to be! Remember we have the power to change anything. It just take a decision and an effort.  I am truly wealthy! I have great people in my life and I am grateful for those friendships/ relationships, but today I wanted to give a shot out to my Family! I love you and you are stuck with me. I am going to try to do better to make time for family ! 


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