Happy New Year, Clan! This is the perfect time to write about family. My mom was a prayer warrior. She made praying for her family, church, missionaries, and friends a priority every morning. I was her caregiver for seven years and saw her dedication first hand. This is one of the greatest legacies she gave me.
In the eyes of the world, I may be a little short on immediate family, because both parents and my only child are already in Heaven. I don't have to pray for them - they pray for me! Dennis has a stepmom, and we each have a brother and sister-in-law in KS. My brother's three kids and their spouses are spread around the country. They have given me seven great nieces and nephews and another on the way. I am a BLESSED Aunt JA! We weren't able to make the trip to Goshen, IN, where my oldest nephew lives and all the rest of my side of the family gathered at Christmas, but I experienced my first Facetime call and was able to see and talk to all of them! I know I'm behind time on this, but I'm learning new things all the time, kids! Besides our brothers and their wives, we are blood related to around 35-40 more, which includes aunts, uncles, and cousins.
I decided to count up all the others we call special family. This amazing group comes from our daughter Stacie's friends, who call us mom and dad, her former students, who call us grandma and grandpa, (and their kids are our great-grandchildren!) and kids of friends who have graciously shared their families with us and consider us family. The total was over 50, taking into consideration a pregnancy or two. That's a lot of family to keep in my prayers. But it's an honor to fill my mom's shoes in doing so.
At the end of 2019, I decided to divide them up, so I had a certain group to pray for every day of the week. I call it my Family Intercession List. It keeps me in touch with those on the list as they send me special prayer requests, and it keeps me in touch with our Heavenly Father on their behalf.
I am so grateful for my extended family. My daughter chose her friends well, and I have been a beneficiary of those friendships. I love them all. Like family. Several on my list are foster and adoptive parents and kids. That's always been near to my heart, and I love that they have chosen to share their love. Most of these family members names can be found as characters in my books, something I loved doing. Good characters. (I had an agent once who was less than complimentary about my book. She became a not-so-great character...'nuff said.) I would include photos here, but I might forget someone, and there are honestly too many, so will just enjoy looking at their precious faces myself.
As you enter this new year and new decade, I encourage you to put praying for your family, by blood or by choice, into your schedule. It's been a BLESSING to me in so many ways. Also, don't be surprised if we are together and you bring out your pictures of children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews to show me, that I do the same. I have plenty of "family" photos in my phone, too!
In my Tales of Tresia books, I call these amazing prayer warriors "Vanguards" and the prayers they wield for their families are called "Wind Words." What we do keeps the Kingdom from the enemy. It's an important job. Want to join me by becoming a Vanguard for your family? Do it. I promise you will all be BLESSED.
J.A. McPhail is the author of five books, has been married to Dennis since 1974, enjoys living in the North Carolina mountains. and is an avid collector of books and book related stuff.