Treasures in Your Family Tree

George and MomI had just put my baby and toddler down for their naps when the phone rang. It was Mom, calling for a chat. A few minutes into the conversation she said, “Today is the anniversary of your dad’s death.” I asked her to tell me more, and what she said, changed my life.

Just ten hours before he died, Mom was so frantic that she went into the hallway to regroup. There she saw a minister who had just left a patient’s room. So she went up to him and asked him to pray for my dad. The man not only obliged but also led my father in a prayer of repentance and salvation!

My dad died three months before I was born, but knowing that he became a Christian before he died was a treasure in my family tree. One day, I’ll meet my father in heaven, and that will be a glorious day!

In most of our family trees, there are beautiful branches of faith, limbs that appear gnarled and confusing, and new growth that struggles for life. But all of the lives in our family tree are precious to the Lord, the Creator of life.

Grandma Graham was my dearest companion growing up. Her strong faith in the Lord, her steadfast trust in Him, her constant devotion to serving God and family taught me a lot during the 13 years she was in my life. She laid a firm foundation for helping me know who God is and why we are here on this earth.

Grandma Grace was a gnarled, grouchy, and sometimes mean woman who had Alzheimer’s disease. She turned deep into herself and did weird things I didn’t understand, like walk downtown in her see-through nightie—which mortified me! But as she lost more and more of her mind, she could still do one thing. She could play the piano. So in her last days, Grandma Grace spent hours playing hymns and singing all the words correctly. Her life, though confusing, was in His hands, and it taught me that God’s word just doesn’t return void.

My brother Paul struggled to live for the first two years of his life. Seizures attacked him daily, and he was in the hospital more than he was home. It was hard to understand why my baby brother had to struggle so, but today he’s a productive man who loves God and cares for our mother.

In every family tree there are shining lights, confusing lives and heartache. Too often we are so busy that it is hard to dig out the treasures buried deep in the stories of each life. Whether those stories are ones of miscarriage, infant illness, childhood tragedies, or long productive lives, there is a sacredness that every human life carries with each one. It may be from a glimpse of a baby on an ultrasound or a struggling life who knew challenges that no one should have to deal with. It may even be self-imposed addictions that ravage a person but he somehow overcomes.

God sees and knows, and our stories are important to Him. We have the opportunity to redeem our story and those in our family tree. We can look at the beauty of each life and see God’s redemption, even in the most broken lives. My dad wasn’t a believer until ten hours before he died. My grandmother couldn’t remember who she was but remembered every word and note of the hymns she had learned as a child. Digging out these treasures can heal deep hurts, redeem ugly memories, and change our lives.

What treasures have you found in your ancestory? I’d love to know!



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