I come from a large extended family. My dad had 11 brothers and sisters and my mom is from a family of 4 siblings. This translates into a whole lot of aunts, uncles and cousins. My mom and dad’s families are even more deeply intertwined due to the fact that there are marriages between the two. Now I’m not talking about anything illegal or immoral here. I’m talking about small town relationships where you end up with double first cousins because brothers from one family married the sisters of another.
Anyone who has ever studied geneology or lived in a small town knows what I’m talking about. The rest of y’all probably have the “Dueling Banjos” song from Deliverance stuck in your head and haven’t heard a word I’ve said anyway.
Let’s get this train back on the track before we have a really messy wreck!
Growing up we often spent 1-2 weeks out of our summer visiting with our extended family. It would begin with the family reunion, which is the third Sunday of every July and will be that way until Jesus comes back, then we would take the next week and go camping or just hang out at various relatives houses.
We call it “front porch sittin’.” It’s where you just sit around on the front porch drinking sweet tea while the older folks reminisce about the “old days” and the youngins’ play on the dirt bank out back or in the pond on the side of the house. And if we’ve told them once not to get their shoes wet in that pond, we’ve told them a thousand times. But inevitably someone “accidentally” falls in and not only gets their shoes wet but their whole body.
One of my favorite places to go, as a child and as an adult, has always been my Uncle Calvin and Aunt Blanche’s house. And for many reasons. There’s the food. Oh, goodness there’s the food. I’m talking about biscuits and gravy, sausage, eggs and grits for breakfast. More fresh beans, corn and tomatoes than you can shake a stick at. And they all come right out of their garden. And did I mention the fried okra? I could eat my weight in the fried okra and have tried to on many occasions.
Then there’s the love. There has never been a time when I have not felt completely at home while visiting their house. I’ve slept on the floor, the couch, air mattresses and if you’re one of the lucky ones, on one of the guest beds. But it doesn’t matter because we often stay up late into the night telling and retelling stories and laughing until we cry or pee our pants – which has happened. Not to me, but to a couple of my aunts who shall remain nameless, because I don’t want my Aunt Jo or Aunt Kitty to read this and get mad at me. 😉
But I guess the real reason I’ve always loved going to my Uncle Calvin and Aunt Blanche’s is the cookie jar. Aunt Blanche has this cookie jar that she has had sitting on her kitchen counter as far back as I can remember – which is back to when I was around 4 or 5 years old. The cookie jar is a symbol of consistency for me. It has always, and I mean ALWAYS, had cookies in it every time I have ever been to their house, and one of the first things I always do, after the hugs and hellos, is go to that cookie jar and get a cookie or four.
I love that cookie jar. That cookie jar is a symbol of love, because I know my aunt loves her family enough to always have fresh cookies waiting for us when we arrive. Sometimes they are vanilla creams and sometimes lemon creams, but it is always full.
God’s love is like that cookie jar.
His love is consistent. He is always, and I mean ALWAYS, there for me. I never have to wonder if He’s going to show up or if He’s listening to me. He just is! And He is always. He is the epitome of consistency.
God’s love is fresh and new every day; just waiting for me to reach in and take a handful of what He has to offer. I know that He cares enough for me to provide my every need. He knows what my needs are and that sometimes my “needs” are really “wants”, and He helps me to see the difference.
I know right now, without a doubt, that cookie jar is sitting on the counter in my Aunt Blanche’s kitchen, full of cookies. And I know right now, without a doubt, that my God loved me enough to sacrifice His Son so that I could have eternal life.
And that beats vanilla cream cookies every time.