Archive for March 25th, 2023

Family Exile

Written by Julie MacNeil, from the Village Church.

My mother came from a small town in Missouri. She lived among a large and loving extended family. The one exception was her father. He was abusive and often cruel. He made my grandmother’s life miserable, and her health declined because of it. She became thin and pale, and suffered from severe asthma, spending her nights sleeping in a chair, just to breathe. It was determined that the only way my grandmother could survive emotionally and physically, was to leave Missouri and go to California to stay with a cousin there. So, when they were 9 years old, my mother and her twin sister went to live with their grandparents. My mother, although she was loved and cared for by her grandparents, must have felt abandoned by the mother she adored. It broke my heart to hear her tell me that she used to go outside in the yard by herself, and say the word “Mother,” just to remember what it sounded like. The sisters received letters from their mother often, and packages with pretty dresses. But nothing could replace feeling their mother’s arms around them. She was away for 3 years. There must have been times when the sisters wondered if she would ever come back. But all that time, God was preparing a better life for my grandmother and her children. While she was away, she divorced her husband, a brave thing for a woman in her time to do. Her health returned. She found a job, probably the first of her life. She met a man and fell in love and married. The news of their mother’s marriage was met with great trepidation by the sisters. Was he nice? Was he kind? Did this mean their mother was never coming back? They asked their grandmother. Her answer was, “Don’t you know your mother would never do anything to hurt you?” This calmed their fears. Then one day, the door to their one-room schoolhouse opened, and there stood their mother, beautiful, smiling, and healthy! She had not abandoned them; she had come to get them and take them home. So, the shy, gangly twins, 12 years old by now, boarded a train with their mother and went to California to meet their mother’s new husband. They decided to call him “Daddy.” He welcomed them as his own. He is the only grandfather I ever knew and was dearly beloved by all the grandchildren.


Written by Dallas Willard (1935-2013), a professor of philosophy and author. His writings have changed forever how thousands of Christians experience their faith.

Gracious Lord, we are thankful to be drawn into your kingdom. We are thankful, wherever we are in our work, in our family, in our play, or whatever else may be happening, to know that we are under your kingdom rule, that heaven is over us, and that our God reigns. Lord, help us to be simple, humble, and thoughtful as we listen to others and help them come to faith in the One who has given us life. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen

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