Adopted into God’s Family

A lesson from a family wedding

Posted by Nancy Lee on April 23, 2022
Joey with his bride, Syd and their children, Addie, Wyatt, and Colton

It was an ideal setting for a wedding. The camera captured the edge of the cabin and the log railing of the porch. Sunlight filtered through lush foliage, and the San Bernardino Mountains of California arose in the distance overlooking Lake Arrowhead.

My mother’s apartment in Upstate, New York, was crowded with family members staring at the TV screen waiting for the wedding to begin. We were overwhelmed with the surreal events of the weekend. Just over a week ago our mother was diagnosed with meningeal carcinomatosis, cancer of the lining of the brain, and in a few short days, we were able to get most of the family together for a celebration. 

Besides the family members who were living in New York, my sister Liz came in from Maryland, and my sister Sharon flew in from California, making the sacrifice of attending her own son’s wedding. She invited whoever was still in town to watch the wedding with her on Facebook live.

Our day began with a private family communion service in honor of our mother held in the dining room at her apartment building. Then my mother treated us all to a barbecue in the community room downstairs. It was an emotional time filled with love and family unity. All too soon some family members had to leave.

And now I was squeezed on a couch with my sister, sister-in-law, and brother while my two nieces, son, daughter, and her boyfriend sat on the floor in front of us. We were chatting and joking, enjoying the warmth of family.

We hushed and stared at the screen when my nephew Joey came into view dressed in a black vest, cowboy hat, and cowboy boots that matched his black beard. He looked even taller than his six-foot-one frame today as he smiled and joked with the officiant and best man, both dressed in gray plaid flannels.

Despite the moaning of the wind, we could hear country music start up, and Addie, Joey’s fiancé’s precious seven-year-old daughter walked into view wearing a lacy gray dress and black cowboy boots. A sunflower was pinned into her long, wavy blond hair. She was throwing yellow petals out of a basket.

Then her little brother, Wyatt, a five-year-old with a buzz cut and bright blue eyes walked up to the best man, handed him a small box, and hurried off. He was dressed in a miniature gray plaid Western style shirt to match the best man.

Soon Joey’s beautiful bride, Sydney, came into view wearing a short lace sundress and cowboy boots. A sunflower was pinned in her long dark hair, and she carried a bouquet of sunflowers. Her face lit up with a smile.

The wind continued to howl, and we could barely hear the officiant as he shared some thoughts with the couple. “Marriage is understanding each other’s wants and needs … it is being kind even when you are having a bad day … it is continuing to choose each other forever…”

Then Joey called Addie over and squatted down. “I have a few things I want talk to you about,” he said as he looked into her eyes. “I love you so much. From the minute you came into my life. You’re my little girl, and you always will be.” Joey hugged her as he said, “Thank you for letting me into your life.” Then he looked into her eyes again and said, “Are you okay with me marrying your mom?” Addie nodded. Joey kissed her cheek and hugged her again. He rose back to his feet wiping his eyes.

Next, the officiant asked Wyatt to come up. Joey squatted again, looked directly at him, and took his hands in his. “Little man, you have been a fireball,” he said. “We might not see eye to eye, but I love you with all my heart, and I’m going to do everything I can to protect you and teach you how to be a man. Can I marry your mom?” His response was lost to the wind. Then Joey hugged him and said, “I love you so much!” Wyatt turned to leave and then turned back to Joey. I think I heard a faint, “I love you.” Joey rose to his feet still wiping his eyes.

When the wedding was over my mother practically jumped out of her recliner and said, “That’s it! I got it!”

We all turned and looked at her, “Got what?” we asked.

“I’ve made my decision about the college funds,” she said. 

Three days prior, Mom’s financial planner had visited. She was opening college savings accounts for her two great-grandchildren who had been born during the year. “I have a dilemma,” she explained to him. “My grandson is marrying someone who already has two children. Should I open accounts for them, too?”

“There is no precedent or right way to do it,” he told her. “It is totally up to you.”

“I need more time to think about it,” my mother replied.

Looking around the room at the rest of us still staring at her, my mother explained, “Seeing Joey promise to love and care for Addie and Wyatt made me realize that they are just as much family as the rest of my great-grandchildren. I want them to feel a part of this family, so I am opening college savings accounts for them, too.”

I think of Addie and Wyatt years from now as teenagers or young adults ready to embark on the next step in their lives. The college funds will have grown into an impressive sum, left to them by a great-grandmother who they probably won’t remember, by a great-grandmother who wasn’t even a blood relative. Why? They did nothing to earn the inheritance. Because they were adopted into the family by her grandson, they were treated the same as her great-grandchildren who were born into the family. They were loved the same. They were given the same inheritance.

Now ponder with me for a moment what it means for us to be adopted into the family of God. There is nothing we have done to earn a place in God’s family. Because Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins, we are no longer slaves to our former lives. 

 We are freely adopted into God’s family. We are given the intimate relationship of a son or daughter. We have been given the right to cry out to God, “Abba, Father,” as a child cries out to their daddy. (Gal. 4:6)

Romans 8:17 states, “. . . then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. . .” (ESV). Imagine that! We are co-heirs with God’s own Son! And what is the inheritance that God gives his Son? God owns everything, so that would be our inheritance, everything! This is a mind-blowing thought!

I’m not implying that this makes us rich in monetary blessings here on earth. I Peter 1:3-4 states “… he has caused us to be born again to a living hope… to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”

The blessings God has for us are not limited to the here and now. He has given us the sure hope of eternal life. Of an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading! 

So often I forget that I am a child of God, a co-heir with Christ, and I miss out on tapping into the spiritual blessings God has for me. Perhaps you can relate.

Please join me in a challenge not only to remember that you are a child of God, a child of the Creator of the universe and a joint heir with His only Son, but to live like it every day as well.