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Dear Susanna,

I try to imagine what it will be like to be you. You are cradled in your big brother’s arms in the light of the Christmas tree while lullabies play over you. Occasionally, he croons a couple lines into your ear. Eventually, the soft notes work their sleepy magic over both of you, and big brother nods off too.

Held. You are held by so many hands and arms and hearts.

Ashley's son holding baby sis

This is what I think family does for us, or maybe what it is meant to be, at its finest, though it does fall short. We hold each other when we fall down, fall asleep, falter, fall into sin, fall prey to evil. We hold one another up when the world is not looking, doesn’t care, doesn’t see.  And you, dear girl, have so many to hold you–what will that be like for you?  I do not know.  So much love awaits your little eyes that struggle to see each face before you.  I pray we will not spoil you, but that your little heart will be ready and eager to love and bestow affection because you have known so much love.

Right now, Susanna, you’re two weeks old– so fragile and needy.  But under our competent facades, all of us are so needy. We need comfort and affection and trust and provision. We need money and esteem and affirmation and friends. We need spouses and jobs and exercise and food.

Ashley's daughter with baby sisFamily can be the trusses that frame a soul in the making.  Our personalities grow in the framework and are shaped by it– all of us, a mixed bag of good and bad.  So, while my hope for our family is that we would hold one another in so many ways, I don’t hang all of my hope on family. And this is grace.

It’s grace because family will fail at times.  It’s grace because that is not the end of the story. Family is not our Savior. It was never meant to be. That’s why there’s hope for the most disillusioned individual begot by the most dysfunctional family.

The hope is Christ. To ultimately hold and heal and make holy.

Our family will accomplish these things to the extent we fill with Christ, let Him shine through.

Susanna Grace, youngest daughter in a family of six, His grace to you is great.  Many hands will hold you.  May your soul fill with our love, His love, and His Spirit and may you be a conduit to pour it back out on a hurting world.

Then may you ever be filled up again and again.