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As I drove out of the driveway in the dark of the waning day, my first thought was, "their family is marked by gentleness."

We had just spent an afternoon and evening with the Stewart clan, at least a large portion of them.

Beth and Susan had invited us over to Beth's house for a visit and dinner. This on the heels of baby Owen just being added to their already busy household of four, now five boys.

When we arrived we were welcomed by another grandchild, the daughter of Beth's sister Christy who was visiting, and as the day progressed more of them showed up.

When I say "more of them", I mean more of the nine children whom Susan and Ron have birthed and raised.

We gathered together with five of the Stewart siblings and their parents and little ones. It was an evening bathed in grace as we witnessed the operation of this busy, yet calm family.

Perhaps they will laugh when they read this and think "Ha, they bought it...". But I don't think so. There was in each member there, a quietness of spirit that can't be pretended, but is formed by an environment of calm.

They listened to each other. Even the jesting was gentle and kind and answers were given thoughtfully.

There was a lack of competitiveness and a sweet presence of acceptance.
It marked who they are as a family and we were so blessed. Even when a little one disobeyed and needed to leave the room, Grandma Susan gently and firmly undertook this discipline.

Make no bones about it, we can all be on our best behavior when people are visiting for the first time. We've all been there. And I have no illusions of perfection, but the aroma there was sweet and the gathering a blessing to be a part of.

I was challenged as I followed the moonlit road home, to consider my own family and how I know we need more of that gentleness we witnessed and partook of tonight.

Sometimes we don't know what God, in His wisdom, has ordained when we carry out our plans, but I think that night He was shedding a light, showing a way of peace that has sometimes eluded us in our home, where competition can be fierce and the way of things sometimes too harsh.

This was a breath of fresh air for which I am very thankful.

Thanks so much, all of you Stewart and Prock family. Who knew His plans...?

"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him!...
...Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
"This is the way; walk in it."
Isaiah 30:18 and 21


Joyful Fox said…

What a beautiful tribute to the Stewart and Prock clan!

Ah, gentleness, what a lovely attribute. We too could use a little of that here, starting with Mom, of course.

What a blessing that you shared it - Praise the Lord and Susan and Ron for the path forged together.

Susan said…
Thank you, Ang. The day you and Frank spent with us (you neglected to mention there were 11 - count 'em - ELEVEN little boys under age 10 in the house that day, along with three little girls under 7. Yikes!) It really was a pretty typical "gathering of the clan". Mostly spontaneous and with a hope and prayer that there would be enough food to go around to all the people who weren't expected, but just showed up. We made it that day, but we don't always. :o) Your sharing of fruit and dessert was a big help!

Any glory that seeped out that day goes to God alone. Only he knows what we came from and what we have come through.

And Ang? We were really blessed by your family, too. What a precious "Gang of Four" you have. I hope we can soon do it again...

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