Through our 25 years here in Italy we’ve seen that God keeps his promises. It’s not been easy, but God is ever faithful. And despite the difficulties, we would tread this path all over again. For it has helped us know God in a greater way. And helped us see his glory, his majesty, and his splendor.
With overflowing hearts, we celebrated 25 years here this month! Joy mixed with sorrow.
- Unable to attend funerals of parents and grandparents, the needed closure takes years longer.
- Until we finally meet new grandchildren, at age 2 or 3, our empty arms ache.
- We’ve missed many milestones in our children’s’ lives, from graduations to first dates, as well as marriage engagements, weddings, and the births of their children.
- Yet God is faithful, and keeps his promises!
Jesus said, ‘Most certainly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and for the sake of the Good News, but he will receive one hundred times more now in this time, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life,’ Mark 10:29-30.
Yes, joy is often mixed with sorrow. Tiny, beautiful Alvera arrived in our son’s home (his 5th), and my mom’s been dealing with scary eyesight issues. The ocean between us, that swells and fades with the tide, in my mind becomes even more immense at such times.
“So,” you enquire, “why do you do it? What makes you stay?”
The Lord’s promise in Mark 10. No, not the lands and houses. If we cared about those, we would never have come in the first place! But the others…so many faces that flash before our eyes. Those who have become as a mother and father to us. Those we regard as our children. For the love of them, we stay. And for the love of the many who have not yet joined ‘the family’. For them we stay, and that makes it worth it all!
And that’s why, though at times our hearts are heavy (we are but only human) ours is a tale of rejoicing!
A tale of good tidings, for we have a good and loving Father, who does far beyond what we could ever think or imagine! Like the incredible story of how we came to own a summer home!
One home for folks like us seems almost ludicrous…but two?
Until my father-in-law’s death, we often visited Mario’s hometown, which we call Beyond Forgotten.
Our children loved that village, which was like one giant playground to them. But in some ways, I dreaded the visits, because Papà never cleaned, and it was always our job to ‘tidy up’. In other words, we loved him, and knowing he needed us, I quenched the tears and rolled up my shirtsleeves!
But after his death, in 2000, we stayed away.
We neither needed or wanted an extra home. Let alone the expenses involved! And with Papà gone, we didn’t really see any reason for going. But Mario’s siblings (12-20 years older than him), could no longer make the trip from NY. Yet they hated thinking of the old place being abandoned. So they begged us to look after the house and use it. “Not everyone has a rent-free home to use,” they said.
And we’ve found that when God gives us something, it’s because he wants to great things with it! His siblings have paid for repairs and expenses! So we’ve fixed the place up. And we’re trusting the Lord to once again do great things.
Why? Because of Mark 10, of course! We’re expecting God to use our summer-house for bringing others into the family!
We can never have too many mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, or children! Don’t you agree?