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Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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22

Friday 8th November 2013

God Made a Family

And on the 8th day, God looked down on the good earth he made and said, “I need people to love and care for each other.”

So, God made a family.

God said “I need a lot of somebodies to show the world what it means to weave hearts, to shape souls, and to stubbornly stick together when you’re tempted to give up.”

He needed whole units, each with a strong, beating heart. Strong enough to pray in the doctor’s waiting room, run on black coffee, jump into the fray, stand up for the underdog, … and to gather shoulder-to-shoulder, at the edge of the soccer field, the auditorium, the hospital bed, the communion rail.

So, God made a family.

He said he needed somebody with a sense of humor. Humor enough to tuck a kid in at 8:30 p.m., get her a drink at 8:32, do the re-tuck at 8:34, check for monsters in the closet at 8:53, and under the bed at 8:57, rub tiny circles into her skinny back at 9:20, and then drift off next to her in the middle of your prayers.

So God made a family.

He said, “I need somebody to hold babies, hold hands across busy streets, hold a kid’s hair when she’s bent over the toilet, hold down the bleachers, hold court around the kitchen table, hold vigil in the living room, hold out for miracles, and hold tight to each other and to the sacred truth.”

He needed people to offer grace when the loudest relatives come over for Thanksgiving dinner, when your mom sends a very long and incomprehensibly auto-corrected text message, and when the crazy uncle leaves embarrassing comments on all your Facebook statuses.

He needed people to prove that relationships can survive if all the hot water runs out, if someone ate the last PopTart, if she breathed his air, and if your brother crossed the imaginary line drawn on the back seat of the car.

God knew people would need somebody to tell you that you have spaghetti sauce on your chin, spinach in your teeth, Playdoh in your hair, or toilet paper stuck to your shoe.

He said the world needed safe places, in an unkind world, to unravel the knots … a place where people could break down and get built back up again, so they could head out into a dark world in need of more light.

So God made a family.

He said, “I need people who will keep on loving when the skin sags, and the muscles atrophy, and the heart weakens, and the last breaths leave the body, shallow.  I need people who will sing and cry, and laugh and sigh … and who will decide right then, that death won’t have the last word, and that life is still worth living right now, and the world needs more babies, and more crazy uncles, and more Thanksgiving dinners, and more moments when you curl up together under the same blanket, after a long day, and drift off to sleep, while you’re thanking the good Lord that God made a family.

Family photos by Joni Michael.

Today’s story inspired by Paul Harvey’s “When God Made a Farmer.” 

  • http://lauraboggess.com/ Laura Boggess

    Oh, Jenny-fer, I love seeing you all like this. Makes me smile and a little teary-eyed at the beauty of a family.

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Laura! Thank you so much. I imagine you adding certain lines to this one, after all you’ve been through the last few weeks as a family. Praying for you, and for the hole in your heart. Love you.

  • Shawn Linkey Persell

    Absolutely love this!

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      What a gift, to have a member of the extended family right here in the comment box! Shawn, we’ve been so blessed by family, haven’t we? I think often about those Taylor picnics growing up, and I regret that our little Lee family of four has done a poor job of showing up for those the last several years.

  • http://3dlessons4life.wordpress.com/ Lyli Dunbar

    Love the pictures. Beautiful family inside and out. xoxo

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Thank you so much. We took the pictures about three miles from our front door. Such a fun afternoon.

  • http://michellederusha.com/ Michelle DeRusha

    BEST pictures ever (your farmer is a hottie – is it kosher to say that?). LOVE the post. Amen, sister, amen. (Except I yelled, “GO TO SLEEP!!!!!” up the stairs last night when Rowan called down for like the 12th time….so maybe I’d better go back and read this one again!).

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Oh yeah. He’s a total hottie. :)

  • Elizabeth Stewart

    Beautiful photos of your family and wonderfully written words.

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      Thank you, Elizabeth. xo

  • S.Etole

    So wonderfully said and the photos are blessing.

    • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com/ dukeslee

      My friend, Joni, took the pictures. She encouraged as to have some fun, as you can see. :)

  • Marcia Steffen

    Beautiful. Tears of thankfulness for my family slide slowly down my cheeks as I read your words, and see your beautiful family. Thank you for this touching message today Jennifer.

  • http://www.wordsofjoy75.blogspot.co.uk/ Joy Lenton

    This is such a heartwarming post, Jennifer. You all look so at ease together in these beautiful photos. Yet your insightful words also hint at the way we survive and thrive somehow in the midst of mess and chaos, crumbs and comfort, tears and threads of love holding all together. God certainly knew what He was doing when He created familes. And even when they are far from picture-perfect, full of angst, torn and fraying at edges, they are still the best growing areas for learning about grace, love and forgiveness. Thank you :) x

  • http://www.dianewbailey.net/ Diane Bailey

    The pictures, the stories, the truth about family. Wonderful blog, Jennifer.

  • pastordt

    Every bit of this – beautiful. BEE-YOU-TI-FUL. Thank you.

  • bluecottonmemory

    This is just beautiful – and so true – every. last. word – and it is my favorite, I think. He needed people reaching – even if it is across the line in the backseat – even if it is embarrassing comments on facebook – it is reaching for relationship! Loved your photos, too!!!!

  • JViola79

    I loved seeing your family! And like you, I am so glad that God made a family. There is no place like home, truly. Thank you for sharing a bit of yours with me. You have a beautiful family! Blessings on you all!!!

  • http://www.adandeliondiary.blogspot.com/ Mindy Whipple

    Beautiful post – and beautiful family you have!

  • Caryn Jenkins Christensen

    Oh Jennifer! Just LOVE this! I can so relate…to all, and smiling. Great pictures of your sweet family having fun and enjoying each other :D

  • Karrilee Aggett

    Oh my friend… it’s like you get me! You really get me!

    I love this… and live this… and strive for it when I fail! I’m so thankful for His making of family and grafted us in… for His grace and gifting. And for you… I am so thankful for you.

    And that is all.

  • Nancy Servold Feekes

    Amazing how the love just seeps through my pc screen and into my heart! I appreciate so much that I can call you my friend!! Love you all!