Recently I was encouraged to gather photographs to begin the arduous task of organizing years of wonderful memories, by my daughter who had just became a Creative Memories consultant.
Much to my surprise I quickly came to the realization that I had acquired a mountain of photographs going all the way back to the Christmas my parents first presented me with a camera and a photo album. At the tender age of 12 years, I was so excited to be given such a great gift. My position of family photographer was quickly established and so it remains until this day.
Each Photo is a Memory of Family Relationships
So I have begun the journey down memory lane. Each photo representing a moment in time captured through the lens of a small camera shutter. It’s amazing how each picture is a reminder of activities that no longer seem to fit into the way we currently live. Yet those pictures reconnect us to the very experiences of life that have helped shape us into the person we have become.
Remembering past events can trigger vivid feelings that we may have experienced at that time. Moments of great joy that stand out are our wedding day and birth of our children, our 25th and 40th wedding anniversary celebrations, birthdays, family gatherings, vacations, and so the list goes on. Also, there were the many people whose lives became entwined with ours because of shared interests. It would be impossible to attach a value to each experience. The best way to describe those memories is priceless.
Perhaps the most significant thing that stood out through the tapestry of this carefully woven fabric was the generational history of strong family ties. Prior to marriage my immediate family lived in my maternal grandparent’s apartment building. Imagine growing up being able to play with cousins, visit aunts and uncles, or feasting on grandma’s authentic homemade Sicilian pizza without ever going outside. Well that was my life until I married Jim and moved away from New York City only to return upon occasion to visit family and friends.
Family was an important part of my heritage. Both sets of grandparents were European immigrants. My parents were born on American soil as were the two generations that followed.
The Benefits of Spiritual Family Ties
Of all the benefits I have experienced being raised in my family, the one that stands above the rest is my Christian heritage. I learned where my spiritual roots began. That is what I pass on to my children and grandchildren.
It all started in a small village of Sicily in the heart of a young boy reading an Italian translation of a Gideon Bible. Those roots have extended through four generations. Although our family was far from perfect, I can confidently say that the social interactions within my family communicated value, worth and significance as well as point the generations toward Christ.
As wonderful as families are in the natural, it is our spiritual family and inheritance that matters most. Early in my childhood, I learned that identity established in Christ cannot be taken from us unless we allow it to happen. Many of my family members have gone on to be with the Lord, but my true identity comes from knowing who I am in Him. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” John 3:1a(NIV).
Just like my grandfather changed the direction of his family for generations to come, I hope that if your family of origin has not afforded you a Christian heritage, that you will begin to establish important family ties for those you love from here on, and establish without a doubt where your real family identity rests—in the family of God.