This is how they became family after loss | Renew | Repurpose

11 August 2020

This is how they became family after loss

Together, Dan and I have nine grandchildren. Two older teenagers. A toddler. And six kids in the middle.

My new daughter-in-law, Azla, sent a photo of The Middles taken at our wedding. They’re sitting at a picnic table wearing beautiful smiles that range from impish to goofy. They had only met the day before. 


The Middles (photo: Azla Lawry)

The Middles: Azla’s son and her husband’s daughter from previous marriages. My three adopted grandsons, born on a different continent. My bio granddaughter who now shares her parents with five other siblings.

“Each kid here has a story and became family due to loss,” reflected Azla in her text message. “Jack and Maddie became siblings due to divorce. Lydia and the boys became siblings due to poverty.”

“And now they’re all family from two great losses,” referring to Dan’s first wife and my first husband who both died of cancer.

These kids—who have experienced their own heartaches—became family because of our losses. And Dan’s and my hearts have expanded to take in more people to love. 

No coincidence. No accidental family.

This thought from Ann Voskamp:

And for a string of moments, I remember that I get to live into the dare that though there is suffering in this world, though there is dying of the loveliest and most loved … there’s the grace of a miraculous communion of all the broken. There’s the dare to come to the feast to be shared.

Yes, there is suffering and death on this earth. But there’s also the miracle of the heartbroken getting a second chance at joining together in new kinship.

What if?

We live on a broken planet. Abandonment. Human trafficking. Broken homes. Cancer. Hunger. War. And God wasn’t the one who broke it.

But one of His attributes that I appreciate most is His ability to bring good out of our hard places. 

What if God knows how to restore and renew and repurpose? And what if we, despite our sorrow and loss, could come together and share in the feast? 

He does. We could.

Our daughter-in-law finished her text message: “Life is hard and can be tragic, but also full of surprises.”

These treasured children have become family—not by accident, but by divine appointment. One big noisy, happy, beautiful mess. 

This thought from a letter written to the Church in ancient Rome:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28


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About Me

Hello, my name is Marlys Johnson Lawry. I’m a speaker, award-winning writer, and Chai latte snob. I love getting outdoors—would rather lace up hiking boots than go shopping. I have a passion for encouraging people to live well in the hard and holy moments of life. With heart wide open.

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