By Susan G Mathis
I’d just put my baby and toddler down for their naps when the phone rang. It was Mom, calling to chat. A few minutes into the conversation, she said, “Today is the anniversary of your dad’s death.”
Since he died three months before I was born, I asked her to tell me more. That day, she shared how he became a Christian just ten hours before he died. For me, this became a treasure in my family tree. One day, I’ll meet my father in heaven, and that will be a glorious day!
From this experience and more, I wrote my debut novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, loosely based on my family’s story. It’s about an 1850s Irish immigrant and a 21st-century single mom who are connected by faith, family and a quilt.
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.
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 them. 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. Digging out these treasures and passing on your family story can heal deep hurts, redeem ugly memories, and change our lives.
About Susan G. Mathis
Susan G Mathis is a versatile writer and author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy. Susan has two Tyndale nonfiction books, Countdown for Couples: Preparing for the Adventure of Marriage and The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Life of Love and Happiness. She is also the author of two published picture books, Lexie’s Adventure in Kenya: Love is Patient and Princess Madison’s Rainbow Adventure. For more on Susan, visit her website.