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Article # 9 – Family

It was a tear-filled time, sitting in a living room with long processing silence punctuated with sniffles and Kleenex. A health event, a hospital stay, and a rehab assignment made it more clear than ever….life in our world is about to change. In the words of God, he encourages us to enlarge the place of our tent, lengthen our cords and strengthen our stakes to prepare for this kind of change. (Isaiah 54) Barely above a whisper she says, “We really need more family.” Elaine and I exchanged quick glances and internal, hidden sly smiles. It is time to roll up our sleeves and go to work.

It is now not unusual for biological families to be geographically disbursed. This fact creates the need and the opportunity to redesign FAMILY. Whispering, “We really need more FAMILY” registers loudly on the eardrums of God. God lives inside FAMILY. For this couple it is God’s grace the health event, though certainly scary, was not catastrophic. They have been granted the opportunity to redesign FAMILY.

Their redesigned FAMILY is likely some combination of multiple people. Because of our long history with them, some 20 years now, Elaine and I are included. They live in a large apartment complex teeming with all kinds of people. There are multiple organizations providing stable, consistent, relationships dedicated to home health care. They exist to help people stay vital and independent in their homes and communities rather than collect them in nursing homes or continuing care communities.

The opportunity to redesign FAMILY is also a challenge. It requires a measure of social outreach. It requires taking some emotional and social risk. Elaine and I have learned God exists inside those “risky places” of life. Is it possible a home care giver is in need of a mom and dad relationship? Is it possible there is a neighbor just down the hall in need of a regular cup of coffee or a glass of wine relationship? Maybe the key to redesigning FAMILY is to become FAMILY to someone else….first. The expanded relationships might follow. Continue to explore until the tent of FAMILY is large enough to support you along the way and also when you need it most. Longer chords and stronger stakes add to the support networks and systems. Is it possible this is the very nature of how God works connecting people to become close resources with and for one another?

Creating a soul roadmap in all the ways we are outlining in this enterprise of Soul Guides is creating resources and systems which helps you navigate life as it comes at you. This soul roadmap article is written to encourage everyone to rethink FAMILY and the relationships which come from the very heart of God.

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