“Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” – Psalm 133:1
I come from a family of believers. I mean a lineage of believers. I had great grandparents and grandparents who believed in Christ. Some of whom could not read or write and some who could only read the bible in Yoruba but their faith was real and living and obvious. Apart from my maternal grandfather who was of another faith, we have always been believers and I know in my spirit and heart that for generations to come, we will always be.
We were not born believers, even though some of us were born to the Christian religion. It was just that at different times in our lives, we each came to the saving grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
My maternal grandmother came to know Christ early in life through the teachings of her Christian parents and though she was given out in marriage against her wish and her parents’ will to a man not of her faith and belief (he was the king of her village so everyone had to kowtow to his wish), she stuck to Christ and raised her children in the way of the Lord. So obvious was the difference her faith made in her life that her other co-wives and their children soon followed her steps to Christ. Her unbelieving husband saw the peace and unity the faith brought to his formerly riotous polygamous household and prudently refrained from discouraging any of them from the Christian faith. And so they all grew and waxed strong in the Lord.
My Paternal grandparents were also Christians, a faith handed down from their parents. My grandfather was a traditional healer and his practice flourished because of all the traditional healers in his village, he was the only one who made no incantation over his medicinal leaves. He prayed over them instead and God honored his prayers. People flocked to him and he used the opportunity to preach Christ. My Grandmother was a trader and travelled far and wide to buy and sell and preach Christ. God blessed her mightily.
My Grandparents are all gone now. They lived long and blessed lives and are now resting but their legacy lives on. I can still hear my maternal grandmother in my mind exhorting us to go early to church and stay to take the final grace because “God sends three angels with blessings during a church service. One comes during the opening prayers; the second during the sermon and the third during the closing grace. And you should not miss any of the blessings”. That always made us laugh and till now we still laugh when we remember her saying that. But that was how simple and steady their faith was.
My mother though raised in Christ and very moral and believing all her life made a life-changing commitment to Christ when she had her first baby. She said she stared at the baby after birth and became overwhelmed at the thought of being responsible for a LIFE! She realized she couldn’t do it alone so right there on the hospital bed, she made a dedication and covenant with God. Her life changed from then on. And though that child who made her turn to Christ left to be with God at the age of thirteen, his life was amazing! Almost thirty years after his passing on, we still hear testimonies of his life. I met a man about a year ago and when I mentioned my name, he asked if I was related to so-so and when I said yes, he told me how my late brother led him to Christ at the age of ten! I cried that day (I’m actually crying again now).
My Dad's submission took a little longer than my mom’s but by the time I was in my early teens, he had taken his place and position in the Lord and it is wonderful seeing the two of them with their children grown and out of the house, serving their Savior together.
We are a large family. Lots of brothers, sisters, cousins many times removed, aunties & uncles from both sides of the family, nephews, nieces, grandnephews, grandnieces and in-laws. But we are all so united. Despite the physical distance and space between us as we settle in different parts of the world, nothing can break the love and unity we have. I believe this is because of Christ.
We not only have earthly kinship but also heavenly brotherhood. And God has been so faithful to my family. No matter how rebellious and misled we might start off as, we always find our way back to Christ. This is because God honors the prayers of our great-grandparents, grandparents and parents. The prayers they offer to God to make “them and their household to serve the Lord”. And the way they raise us in the way of the Lord gives a solid foundation that draws us back to the light.
God has also been faithful in our choice of spouses. We have wonderful God fearing husbands and wives and their families become ours just as ours become theirs and so we grow larger and fuller.
Whenever we get together for a family occasion or holidays, it’s always huge and fun. And when it is time for devotion, I’m sure even the angels pause in their duties to stare in amazement at us!
We have had ups and downs in this my huge extended family, we have lost, we have mourned, we have hungered, we have searched, but through it all God has been our strength and brought us safely through.
I have a wonderful family!