I’ll never forget the look on the face of my father that day. We had just come from the funeral service and were doing what people do after a funeral… consoling one another and eating.
You could see the deep pain in my fathers face, the heartache and emotion that was swirling around inside him was unmistakeable. It was tearing him apart.
When I was 18 years old, we lost someone very dear in a boating accident… my sister Bianca. It was a tragic time in the history of our family. She was 21 years old and in the prime of her life. She was kind, beautiful, witty and passionate about life & health. Our daughter Bianca is named after her.
I attended yet another funeral yesterday… actually, it was a celebration of a life well lived. The room was full of people sharing amazing stories about a wonderful woman who was such a blessing to so many. She was so kind, gentle and giving of herself and her time. She loved her family and her family so clearly loved her.
It’s at times like these when I believe The Holy Spirit prompts you to take an inventory of your own loved ones and family members, hopefully thinking about the relationship you have or don’t have with them. I felt the love in the room at this celebration on Wednesday and I pray that everyone there had a great, loving and beautiful relationship with this woman who had moved into eternity with God.
But sometimes relationships are broken and families are fragmented. There are times when relationships are not repairable or reconciliation is not possible. But at times, pride, ego and the messiness of life get in the way of loving the people we should love the most. We avoid people and family members, we don’t go to family functions… years can go by without any contact. We don’t speak to one another because of past experiences, trauma or drama. We allow our flesh to get in the way of reconciliation and redemption.
This is what happened to my father and his precious daughter Bianca. They had experienced relational issues in their life, big challenges particularly as my sister got older. She made decisions that my father didn’t approve of about many things, including her choices about who she was spending time with… her boyfriend.
Things got so bad, my father disowned her. I remember very clearly him saying, “your not my daughter anymore… your dead to me.” They didn’t speak for over a year.
Then my sister drowned… she was gone.
My father was left to live with the unbearable pain of regret. Filled with remorse about what could have been but what was now impossible.
He was never the same after that.
If we have learned anything in the last 5-years as a missionary serving overseas, it’s this; the people God has put in your life are the most important thing He could ever give you. No other earthly thing is more important than people and loving them well.
Make sure you let them know it – Make sure you tell them at every opportunity how much you love them, how much you mean to them and how precious they are to you. Don’t let pride get in the way of one minute of pouring yourself out for others. Don’t think that you have time to make that phone call, write that letter or make that visit later which could be a step towards mending a broken relationship. None of us are guaranteed another minute.
When Dawn and I or anyone else have asked our girls what they have missed about our life in Folsom or what they miss now about not being in Germany for the year, they have always responded with…”the people.” (We must have done something right)
We’ve missed you. Yes you. You who are reading this. You are precious to us and precious to God. We care about you and pray there is nothing in the way of us loving each other well.
God’s Word says:
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2&3
James Taylor sings these words – “Shower the people you love with love – show them the way that you feel – things are gonna be much better if you only will” (Please play this song at my life celebration when my days on earth are done.)
“What marriage would ever fail – What relationship would ever fail – If the husband, wife, friend, parent, child everyday of their life worked hard, with a sense of urgency, to wear the clothes of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, putting up with each other, loving each other?”
Pastor Kent Carlson
This is our prayer for you and ourselves – That at the end of our earthly lives we would not have to endure the sting of things left un-said or relationships left un-reconciled.
Don’t wait another minute.
Peace and grace to you and yours in abundance…
In Christ Jesus,
steve, dawn, bianca and sofia
Our contact info for the year is:
The Liberti Family
114 Sierra Woods Circle
Folsom, California 95630
Current Upcoming Ministry:
August 13 and 14: “Worship Expedition” Worship Team Training
Sept. 4: Five Church Outreach in Woodland
Sept. 18: Missions Conference Lincoln
Sept. 22: NAB Missions Meeting
Sept. 24: Worship Team Training Davis
Nov. 3-18: Evangelism and Training Closed country in the Far East
Nov. 29-Dec. 8: Proclaim – Intl. Council and Annual Conference, Georgia
Feb. 2017: Advance trip to The Balkans (Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo)
TBA: Multiple trips to Proclaim US office in Jacksonville Florida for training and special projects
Ongoing: Serving and working with partner churches, reporting to supporters, investing in and loving people, recruitment, special projects for Proclaim on West Coast etc.
That Bianca and Sofia would forge new friendships this year and remain connected with friends they left in Germany.
That Dawn would be able to take the classes she needs to accept more bookkeeping duties with our mission Proclaim.
That Steve would be wise with the calendar and not overload himself or the family
Please pray for people trapped in physical and spiritual poverty in South Africa.
Please pray for Jesus to be magnified and God to be glorified through the work he has for us!
Please pray for all the logistics surrounding our HMA Year.
Please pray for the thousands of refugees that continue to enter Europe, that Christians would be bold witnesses for Jesus.
Thank you for your prayers for our family and for the ministry God has blessed us with!