Family Matters

It’s been a tough start to the new year. I’ve been fighting a nasty cold all week which has forced me to slow down. Sometimes I think I need sickness now and again to get me to slow down. The one-year anniversary of a dear coworker’s passing was earlier this week. She died rather suddenly of brain cancer, and I remember seeing her for the last time and going to her funeral last year. I have also found out some sad news today. My cousins’ mom died, which was unexpected. My cousins are my age – early 30s. I know it will be hard on them because my mom lost her mom (my grandma) when she was 30, and I know how it has affected her life. My cousins’ mom made a lot of bad choices in life that led to her early death and has affected the upbringing of my cousins. One of my cousins is raising his stepbrother right now, who is very young and will most likely take their mom’s death the hardest. I also found out my grandma’s house is going to be rented soon. My grandma has lived in that house forever, it seems. My family went through her possessions this weekend. She had a stroke in June and reality is hitting everyone in my family hard that my grandma will not be coming home anytime soon. She is doing well at the moment, but she can’t take care of herself any longer. My grandma’s five kids (my dad included) are all emotionally in different places right as they deal with this situation. My Uncle Rick’s health is not the best right now either as he fights cancer and undergoes numerous treatments. My mom gives me weekly updates over the phone about my family and lately it’s been very hard to hear about everyone. It’s been so hard on my Mom too. It is not easy living 1,200 miles from home when so much seems to be happening with the ones you love.

I’ve been at a loss for words this week, but God keeps bringing  Ecclesiastes 3 to my mind, so I’ll share verses 1-15 on here:

There is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven ~
2 A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak.
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.
9 What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils?  10 I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. 11 He has made everything appropriate in its time.  He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; 13 moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor, it is the gift of God.  14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.  15 That which is has been already, and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.”

I like verse 11, which says that He makes everything appropriate in time. Other translations say beautiful in time. I do see the beauty through all the sorrow. God has done some amazing things in everyone’s lives lately. My aunts and uncles are growing closer to each other as they band together to help out my grandma. My grandma has a different perspective on family circumstances that have plagued our family for years. My cousin who is raising his stepbrother has a beautiful family who loves the Lord. My uncle has learned a lot through his experiences dealing with cancer and can relate to his son, my cousin, who had cancer a few years ago and recovered from it. I am glad to see that God is working in peoples’ lives through the difficult circumstances they are experiencing. I have no doubt in my mind that God will continue to work in them and through them and reveal Himself in new ways to them. Not all of my family loves the Lord, but I think God is working on their hearts.

Isaiah 61:3 comes to my mind. This scripture is speaking of what Isaiah is called to do as the Lord’s anointed. It says: “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” I think this entire passage in Isaiah shows us God’s caring heart for his people. I know that in time God will make all things beautiful, joyous and praiseworthy.

My prayer is that of Vienna Cobb Anderson, written in 1991. She prays, “Bless those who mourn, eternal God, with the comfort of your love that they may face each new day with hope and the certainty that nothing can destroy the good that has been given. May their memories become joyful, their days enriched with friendship, and their lives encircled by your love. Amen.”

Thank you Lord for my wonderful family. May I never take them for granted and may nothing ever tear us apart for good. Our families are a gift to us, no matter what they are going through and where they have been. Family matters really do matter! I hope I can be a good encouragement to my family right now as they are in pain and hurting both physically and emotionally and spiritually.



About faithfull4him

My name is Christina Rivas. I am a child of God. In the end, it will not matter how much money I made, how many children I had, what I did for a living, or in how many ministries I served. What matters most in life is how I live each day for God. I enjoy photography, writing, card making, swimming, biking, hiking, traveling, and exploring the Great Outdoors in my spare time.
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5 Responses to Family Matters

  1. popsdumonde says:

    God bless you Christina. I appreciate your sharing the difficulties in your and your families lives. I am sorry for your loss and pray a quick recovery from that cold.

    I really like the scripture you shared, it is so appropriate. It is apparent that you have a ministry of hope and encouragement. All things will be made beautiful, I look forward to that day with great expectation.

    I am reminded on a daily basis, that every time I am feeling sorry for myself, it could always be worse. I have a friend who has been very supportive and encouraging to me these past few months. I just learned the extent of the personal “storm” she has been enduring as she has encouraged me. Her parents have been diagnosed with serious illnesses, her children are struggling with health and life issues, a good friend lost her husband in an accident, and more.

    Being reminded of the challenges life presents us with, and the scope of others struggles does not ease our pain, but helps refocus our attention some, and draws us out of our suffering. The best thing I can focus on is, the battle has been won, death is a defeated enemy as are all the devils schemes.

    Your friend in Christ,

    • Hi Stan,

      Thanks for your words of encouragement! I do need to hear them right now. I always have to be reminded too that things could be worse whenever I am feeling down. Lately, I just have to look as far as my family to see it is true. I’m so glad you have a supportive friend who has been there for you and can share your struggles. It helps. My mom and I share a lot with each other, and I’m thankful I can be honest and real with her. It sounds like you are a good encouragement to your friend too, and I’m sure she appreciates your support. The battle has been won! It is a good reminder and it’s always an encouragement to hear. 🙂 Thank you for your prayers and support. Have a wonderful weekend!


  2. popsdumonde says:

    Thanks Christina, hope you have a great weekend

    When I was at my lowest point a few months ago, I threw out a lot of “life lines”. I found out quickly who I could depend on. This group of people consists of, two pastors, a marriage counseling couple, my AA sponsor, two of my sons and several new friends that I met online.

    I don’t want to give the wrong impression about this woman friend. I have never met her, she is a Christian who respects the sanctity of marriage and is praying for restoration of my marriage.

    I share the most private aspects of my life with my sponsor and pastors. My sons have been incredible and are praying and hoping for restoration of our family. It is so good to have fellow believers interceding in prayer. It is also very comforting to have words of encouragement spoken when I send out distress calls.

    I value your words and your respect of a godly marriage. I will remember you and your family in prayer and would appreciate the same, if you are able to.

    God bless you abundantly,

  3. ptl2010 says:

    faithful4him, there is a verse that has helped many of my friends who have been tempted to complain, be unthankful, be unappreciative or just bewildered about what are thrown at them.. it is 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able but will with the temptation also make a way of escape.
    Temptations common to man so you are not alone… in struggles
    God is faithful.. He will never leave you alone
    You will not be tempted above what you can bear
    He will make a way for you. and for your family.

    Praise the Lord He never fails and even when you are far from loved ones who need you, you know you can depend on Him to see them through.


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