'family' tagged posts

Redeeming Family

We’re entering the time of year when most minds turn to family. For many, the holidays bring positive memories and joy from spending time with loved ones. But that is not the case for everyone. Some come from broken homes. Others have lost loved ones, maybe even during the holidays, and instead of joy they feel renewed loss and hurt. The challenge for us as the church of Christ how do we handle these reactions of hurt, or even deep seated scars, for those we now call family?

I recently asked the members of my small group what three words come to mind when they hear the word “father.”  As expected, the responses varied. We do not all have the same feelings or experiences when it comes to our fathers. The reality of our day and age is that, more than likely, at least half of us will not have positive view toward our own father. And it’s not just because of divorce. I live in a neighborhood where the last statistics show that more than 60 percent of the homes are single parent households. Now clearly this becomes an issue for not just how we view our fathers but our mothers as well. But for the church, we use the word “father” a lot.

Sermon on the Mount: A Summertime Plan for Families

One of my favorite things about summer is the change of pace that my kids experience. As homework pressures disappear, and the intense schedule of school and extracurricular activities shifts into summer mode, a different side of my children emerges. They get funnier, they talk more, they revive that long-lost interest they had in robotics… or books… or gardens… or stars. They even get to where they like each other better! And I love it all.

We recognized long ago in the Zinn house that summer is a wide-open opportunity for shaping our characters — our own and those of our children. So we begin praying weeks, sometimes even months, before summer hits — “Lord, what are the best ways you want us to use this coming summer? What are the things you want us to learn? What are the memories you want us to make? What are the risks you want us to jump into?

Something to Talk About: A Couple of Things We’ve Learned About the Dialogue of Marriage

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I still have the email.  Received nearly 17 years ago.  Sent from one side of the country to the other.  The one where he told me he loved me.

With joy I received those words from the one who’d already so completely stolen my heart.

But in the same email he shared his fears.  He referred to an Oscar Wilde play, “Our House.”  In the play the husband and wife of many years stop talking to each, not because they are angry, but simply because they have run out of things to say.  If he and I continued to pursue this relationship, if we eventually committed to a life spent together, would we too someday run out of things to say?

A very ordinary morning or A morning touched by grace

DSC_1671Let’s take a quick look at my very ordinary Friday morning.  I wake up, shower, and get my boys up and off to school.

Now to expand on these very bare details, let’s look at a scenario of how these events could oh, so easily have gone…

Friday Morning Scenario 1

It’s time to get the boys up, but I’m already running a little behind.  This means they must get up NOW, whether they like it or not.  Feet on the floor.  Time to get moving.  Voices raised.  Grumpy kids.  Grumpy mom.

Great way to start the day.

The One Thing It Takes

I sat with my grieving, ever-so-long-time friend. Her son, for whom I had watched her struggle and agonize over the years, had just been diagnosed with Autism. She knew my life, my family. At the moment, she specifically knew of my son, my precious Tillman, with cerebral palsy, autism, borderline mental impairment. She knew also of the source of my strength, my gracious Lord Jesus – a Lord she did not yet share. She looked up at me with eyes full of pain and said those words that haunt the heart of every mother – “I just hope that I have what it takes.” And I sat quiet, loving her intensely – “Oh, my friend.” Deep breath. “You don’t. You don’t have what it takes. And I don’t have what it takes. Let me tell you Who does.”

Permit me to introduce my family. Our oldest child is also the newest to our family – 17-year-old Amber, who joined us five years ago in her oZinn Familywn season of grief. Fourteen-year-old Tillman is next, whom you have already met – followed 40 minutes later by his twin sister Celeste. And rounding out our family in all kinds of crazy ways are 12-year-old twins, Andrew and Caleb. Yes, you read that right. Five kids. Two sets of twins. I’ve been known to say that Brian and I got as far as deciding we were ready to have ONE child – and that is as much of the planning for which God has ever had us participate. Let me tell you – I do not have what it takes.