Michael Gantt

Planting the Seeds of Renewal


Reflections

 

When we allow ourselves to be alienated from our family we expose them to the attacks of the enemy and make them, and ourselves, more vulnerable to his devices.

(This was actually written several weeks ago while on vacation with my family in Florida. It was quite an extravaganza to have all of my children and grandchildren [all 25 of us] together for such an enjoyable time.  It also proved to be quite an adventure.  During the course of our journeys, I recorded the highlights of our trip on social media. I have since compiled those journals into a little book which, if you are so inclined, you can get a copy of here.  At any rate, the following is an excerpt from that book entitled, EDDIE.  All proceeds from the sale of EDDIE will support my work among the Deaf in Kenya)

It’s 3:15 a.m. on Tuesday morning, and my son Tim just served up an order of Tacos Supreme. Apparently, he was not aware that he had placed the order. It sort of just showed up, unannounced, and altogether unwelcome. It sure made his trip the Magic Kingdom “magical.” Food can give a certain added sense of adventure to a ride on Thunder Mountain and a new spin on the Tea Cups. Certainly thinking about Tim as he flies home on Wednesday. He may actually have a special seat on that flight.

It’s 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning and I’m sitting outside under a giant figure of Roger Rabbit balancing on a can of turpentine and a huge yellow “walkman,” drinking a cold can of Cheerwine. I’m thinking about heading out for a plate of liver mush and grits in a while and getting hungrier by the minute.

I’ve just come from seeing Tim, Heather, and Cadence off to the airport for their flight home. I’ve just learned something about the little one – she is real grouch when you wake her up before she is ready. I will be praying for their little family as they fly back home today. It seems like just such a short time we were fighting to get everybody here and now, over the next few days we all start toward home. The kids will all be flying while Barb and I, well – we definitely won’t be flying – we will be pointing Cousin Eddie northward (kinda) and moving out of here on Friday morning.

You know, it’s hard work having fun with 25 people ranging in age from 5 months to 816 months; from 66 cm tall to 199 cm tall, weighing from 2.7 kg to 143 kg; not to mention getting them to wear the same exact shirt and to show up at the same event at the same time. Its tough to arrange work schedules, travel schedules, housing arrangements and event schedules to work together. (Not to mention one certain little guy’s first haircut.) Bryan has worked (in partnership with Gabe and Abigail) for over two years to organize and direct this little family outing to coincide with our retirement. I am positive he would have had a great deal more fun and relaxation if he would have left us at home and traveled with just his family. However, he has been the rock that has made this thing work. The only thing missing is a red umbrella to carry at the head of the line so we can all find him.

I’m pretty sure he’s had a great time planning this adventure and I’m pretty sure he will NEVER invite us all to come to Florida with him again. However, in the meantime, he’s done a great job and we are all grateful for his hard work and commitment to our family. He is the firstborn, every bit the elder brother; not at all like that elder brother in Luke 15 who despised the younger. Instead, Bryan seems to have taken his greatest joy this week in making sure that his siblings and his parents have an enjoyable time. He has pushed strollers with little ones while their parents have gone off to enjoy an exciting ride or show, and asked his mother at least a thousand times if she is “doing all right.”

It has truly been a typical Gantt family extravaganza; loud, boisterous, everybody talking at the same time, engaging everyone we meet and pulling them into the maelstrom that we call family; and hard to tell which kids belong to which adults as everyone has pitched in to make it a great week. It has been so much fun watching this bunch invade a room or restaurant and immediately, like a band of traveling comedians, “working” the room and then blowing out the door, a caravan of jesters in red shirts leaving unsuspecting travelers wondering, “What just happened?” They are truly a force to be reckoned with. Have I ever told you how much I love my kids?

It breaks my heart to see families broken and shattered; fighting over an inheritance, frozen in a moment by some perceived “wrong;” pushing their own blood out of their lives because of offenses, real or perceived and living in unforgiveness and bitterness; bitterness that slowly chokes the life out of who gave us life – or, those to whom we have given life, or those with whom we share life. When we do this, we not only break our own hearts, we break the heart of God. Our families are the first and greatest gift God Has given us apart from Jesus, our Savior; and, other than Jesus are our first line of defense against the attacks of the enemy.

Satan, from the beginning has worked to drive wedges in the family. He wants to destroy marriages, alienate siblings, harden the hearts of children toward their parents, transforming families into war zones, rather than safe havens for us all. I don’t hold our family up as a model. We have our spats, our conflicts, our troubles just like everyone else. However, there is a model that Barbara and I hold up for our children to see and it is the model of the scriptures.

God has given us vivid pictures of marriage and family and if we will faithfully use its template, we and our children will enjoy God’s blessings and spiritual prosperity it promises. Deuteronomy 6 and in Psalm 78, among others, God tells us that in the context of family, and through the power of Jesus’ blood that we destroy the work of the devil and strengthen one another against his attacks.

When we allow ourselves to be alienated from our family we expose them to the attacks of the enemy and make them, and ourselves, more vulnerable to his devices.

Barbara and I are constantly engaged in warfare for our children and grandchildren. We will allow nothing to alienate us, we reject anything that might divide us, we rebuke in fervent prayer any effort of the enemy to bring destruction into their lives, marriages, or children. We teach our children the principles of Scriptures “that it might go well with them in the land.” [Deuteronomy 6]. Even this trip is not solely about “fun”. It is about fortifying our family against the evil plans of the enemy against them.

We ended our day at Andrew and Hannah’s with Eliana, Alexander and Nessah so their mom and Dad could have a nice evening out together. The kids swam in the pool, Nessah rolled around on the floor and I answered Alex’s “why” questions at least 1,345 times. (I fail to mention that in the middle of all this, I did spend a couple of hours effecting some much needed “Eddie Maintenance” in preparation for our trip northward.

The sun is coming up and another day has begun and I get to spend it with the people I love more than life itself. I leave you with this urgent appeal:

If there are broken places in your family, if there are wounds that are festering, if there is bitterness which is taking root or long ago planted – do not delay, for both you and those from whom you are alienated are in peril of the enemy’s devices and sin is crouching at your door.

Discussion (2)

There are 2 responses to “Reflections”.

  1. Diane O'Neal responded:

    · Reply

    I recall this post well.
    I wept. I wept from depths not heard from for some time.
    May your exhortation to us all be well heeded by us wherever it’s I within our power to do so

  2. Millie Tolley responded:

    · Reply

    Yes, yes….Weeping right now as I marvel at the goodness of God through your voice of love and grandeur about your own family.

    It is the times we live in. So dark and threatening, with much tumult, in a sea of deceit. -Or at least that darkness drilled into our heads more emphatically by the media day in and day out.

    So thank you for a momentary respite of love and joy! How wonderful to love like this! And to be loved like this! How wonderful to pull back and enjoy each other! How wonderful to have such an honorable firstborn!

    Thank you for sharing, and writing as you do. Thanks be to God for this indescribable gift today., for there is abundant fruit spurred on by your writings, though all do not take time to write every time!! – And pray for me to especially receive from the LORD what I need in words and timing to heal a breach within our family.

    The LORD is glorified in you!! Bless you!

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