Emmanuel - God with us. He chose us. He gave Himself. Then, He gave us each other.
Our time and presence is a precious gift that comes with an intentional decision - the choice to stay. What makes the decision gold is how it reflects God's love for us, even when we didn't first love Him, and His great mission to bring us into relationship at all costs. We are to be people that come close even in the fear of hurt, rejection, or betrayal. We are to be people who choose to immerse into life with one another in such a way that the need to give and receive forgiveness will be a daily practice. We are to be a people that choose to stay.
That's family. God adopted us into His family. He also gave me family to love and serve in the daily process of being made more like Him.
We hurt each other. We disappoint. We face fears and uncertainties together. We see one another on the worst and best of days. And, looking back on the imperfect journey so far, I see a beautiful collection of memories that tell a story of being chosen and choosing.
As Emmanuel loves us, we are to love others. I am thankful for Eric and our boys - my family.
Love isn't an obligation. It isn't about what we want or get from others. We are not entitled to relationship because of blood. Love is saying, "I choose you no matter what."
We hold on. We move forward. Together.