Family Portraits

New babies coax so many comments from their families. We talk endlessly about how Susie’s toes look just like her grandma’s, or affirm to all that Tommy’s nose carries on the family tradition!

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Family Portrait

When my son was born, I was curious as to which side of the family he would resemble since my husband and I look so differently. But when I saw him for the first time, I realized he was the most delightful combination of both of us! The pure white of his smooth baby skin perfectly displayed the  magnificent Viking hair and challenging blue eyes.

But the most mysterious family resemblance occurred to me when Adam stepped up to his teenage years. Looking at him one day as he dipped his copper-colored hair in acknowledgement of my question and  his eyes cut sideways while thinking about the answer to my question, I realized with a shock that he acted like my brother. Then I began noticing other small ways that Adam mimicked Leonard.

Watching my son as he grew in stature and in strength blended in my memories with my older brother’s idiosyncrasies. Leonard was 8 years older than I and memories of his tall 6’3″ muscularity returned with clarity to mesh with my son’s 6’3″ broad-shouldered football frame. Their identical mannerisms bridged the years in between their lives in my heart. Adam, my son, never knew my brother, Leonard, as he had died suddenly in a car accident at 38 years old, 5 years before Adam was born. But  the little things such as the square body stance, the way he would thin his lips while thinking, and how he toyed with a twist-tie when answering immediately align with my memories of my brother’s similar actions.

In a mysterious way, Adam’s similar body language and choice of words would comfort me as I still miss my brother and am saddened by his sudden death. But they also spoke volumes about the natural connections between families, whether the relative is known or not.

Spiritual Family PortraitBible Marlene

Sarah in the Bible is our mother, a sort of spiritual relative, when we copy her. As we dare to step out in faith and soar above our earthly life, our body language and idiosyncrasies match hers spiritually. We naturally and unmistakably reveal to others that we are spiritually related to her.  My son, who unconsciously revealed traits of his uncle, did not struggle or even acknowledge the relationship. The similarities came forth naturally because they were related.

Look at the following ways in which we are like Sarah. Do not struggle to be her daughter. It will come naturally when Sarah’s Father, God, becomes your Father too. As we draw close to Sarah’s God, her faith will shine through us. Others will recognize the spiritual relationship we have with Sarah as we fulfill her legacy left to us in 1 Peter 3:6.

Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. 1 Peter 3:6

We. like Sarah in Hebrews 11:11, will receive the strength we need to fulfill God’s plan, for us.

Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Hebrews 11:11

So, read on and discover the many ways that you and Sarah are relatives in the dual kinship of womanhood and spiritual motherhood!

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Blessings Make You Busy!

Order the hardware. Put up stock. Price the tomatoes. Call the gas company. Decide on the fertilizer.

Whew! My husband and his brother were busy back in those days of owning a small country grocery store. His  only free time was about 2 hours on Sunday afternoon; that is, if it wasn’t raining. Then the drain pipe would clog, and he would have to go clean it out.

cows huge herd

herd of cattle drinking water

Ussfiyeh Hoard of Tyrian Shekels & Other Coins. Eretz Israel Museum

Sheep farming in New Zealand

thousands of sheep on a hillside

 

 

 

 

 

 

God had lavishly blessed Abraham as recorded in Genesis 13:2. And those blessings undoubtedly created an immense workload for him. Consequently, Sarah would have been a busy lady also! John Butler states in his book, Abraham: The Father of the Jews, that Abraham may have had 1,000 men helping him with his vast herds of cattle, numerous flocks of sheep, and various corrals of camels, goats, and asses. Since theirs was a self-sufficient nomadic life, it would be logical to assume that many women were part of the clan, filling the roles of wives, mothers, maidservants to Sarah, medical personnel, and tent makers and repairers.

Oil Press for Abraham blog about Sarah

Jewelry ancient Persian bracelets for Abraham and Sarah blog Jan 2015

Flour grinding for Sarah post Jan 2015

 

 

 

 

 

How busy was Sarah? Did she fill her days from sunup to sundown with supervising perhaps 500 women?
See more thought-provoking questions about Sarah’s daily life below.

Click here to look at a chart that shows the places where Abraham acquired his wealth. Think about the huge compound Abraham must have commanded.   This included females, which would have created the need for Sarah to supervise and train them.

See below for more thought-provoking questions about Sarah’s leadership.

Look again at this chart and notice how many times the word, “all” is mentioned in the Bible verses which make us think about his wealth. Think about all the duties that Sarah may have acquired as the LORD kept blessing Abraham wherever he traveled.

Blessings make you busy!

More thought-provoking questions about Sarah’s daily life:

  • Did Sarah organize her women by teams of experts? Did she have a team of women who repaired the tents and spun the wool to make cloaks and blankets for the cool desert nights?
  • Was she a midwife and trained a skilled group of women to help her deliver all the babies? Did Sarah pass down the legacy of her midwifery skills  to her descendants, Shiprah and Puah, the courageous midwives during the Israelites’ Egyptian bondage?
  • Did she bind up the wounds when the shepherds and cowboys got hurt?

More thought-provoking questions about Sarah’s leadership qualities:

  • How did she help to assimilate the women into their clan while maintaining the status quo of herself and the other women?
  • What methods did she use to help Abraham explain this new faith and fatherhood of a great nation to the women so that they accepted and embraced it?
  • The Bible says she dealt hardly with Hagar and sent her away. Does this imply that she was accustomed to disciplining women under her leadership?

 

 

 

God Honors Our Grief

When our daughter died before birth, we bought a family plot. During those first shock-filled days of my hospital

She Lives With Jesus!

She Lives With Jesus!

confinement, my husband wandered in his own world of agony. Dragging his mind to the surface of sorrow, he chose plots, decided the place of interment, and signed the deed. Honoring Danielle narrowed to this one last choice: purchasing her final resting place. And, today, almost 30 years later, she rests under the shadow of a sweet sheltering tree in a green lush field that gazes upon the changing seasons of the nearby foothills.

Sarah’s death clawed at Abraham’s soul in Genesis chapter 23. And while his heart keened and wailed, he set about to buy her sepulcher. Between humbling guttural sobs and scattering sorrow, he negotiated with strangers. The final honor of providing a burying place for this woman whose legendary beauty and powerful legacy of faith would affect others for thousands of years was his privilege. Her tomb lay quietly at the end of a field, away from the hustle and bustle of business and surrounded by precious trees that stood in silent testimony to her greatness.

God honors our grief when we lose loved ones by providing a final resting place within our lovely memories of them. He speaks powerful words of hope and beauty into our hearts through His Word. (John 6:44) But, with great tenderness and love, His final great tribute to our grief was the death and resurrection of His Son so that we might live! Now, we can say along with Martha as she spoke about her brother Lazarus’ death , “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” (John 11:24) How the Almighty King of the Universe honors us as He inclines his ear toward our pitiful cries of sorrow (Psalm 116) and lifts us up out of the miry clay with His love! (Psalm 40:2)

Sarah’s Shadows

BRCN Picnic on June 2011 with Sid

Sunlight Versus Shadow

The late Spring day was perfect for a leisurely picnic, spread on a tabletop rock tucked into the hills of western North Carolina. Hungrily turning our faces to the bright sun as we walk between the shady trees, my husband searches for just the right spot. Turning off the sunlight dappled trail, we climb a slight hill of luscious green grass growing in the sun, and sit on the large warm granite rock protruding from the hillside. What a view! On top of the world, we sit, gazing at the light and shadow playing in the valley. The Blue Ridge Mountains offer a backdrop of serenity and solidarity in the distance, and sparrows and chickadees offer praise to their Creator. Fluffy white clouds sail overhead, and a soft caressing breeze gently lifts our hair.

My husband returns to the car, and I soak up the sunbeams, waiting in our quiet hide-a-way. After 15 minutes, I walk the few steps to the head of the trail and stare intently through the light and shadows several hundred feet down the path. Continue reading