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Family shield stands test of time
By REV. NORMAN HOVLAND

 Twenty-one years ago, when our daughter was married, "family shields" were a fad. As Canada has a "shield," as Nova Scotia has a "shield" embedded in her flag, so our family decided to "design" a family shield to be given to the bridal couple.

 The shield was to be divided into four quarters representing the national backgrounds of each of the four parents to the bride and groom. A motto would be placed at the base of the shield.

 The mother of the groom was of Irish descent, the father of Scottish descent. The mother of the bride was of Hungarian descent, the father of Norwegian descent. This was a truly Canadian family with such a mixed background. Suitable symbols representing these four national backgrounds were moulded onto the shield. The motto tying such diverse backgrounds together was from Isaiah 40:31. "They who wait upon the Lord ..."

 The whole text reads, "They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint."

 Twenty-one years of marriage have now been accomplished. University careers on the part of the parents have been completed. Three children have been born. Two sisters from Nairobi have been taken into the family from their high school years and raised as part of the family. One is now married and the second has completed two degrees and is seeking work.

 When one of their own children was just learning to crawl, she tripped and fell toward a stove and burned a finger; later this same child swallowed a major coin and had to have it removed by medical means. The bride in her early 40s had to have major surgery for a cancer tumor. All appears clear at this point.

 Four diverse backgrounds produced one family with a wide variety of good and bad experiences - much like your family may well have experienced.

 But the motto on the family shield remains relevant - "They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength."

 In the most trying of times, they were able "to walk and not faint" and those were the greatest of all times in the 21 years.

 It may be thrilling to soar as an eagle and to run a race with exhilaration, but to be able to walk and not faint can be among life's greatest achievements.

 If you have not found Jesus Christ to be your strength of all life's experiences, good and bad, I recommend the motto on the family shield - and a commitment to it.

 They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. Isaiah 40:31.

  September 28, 2005  
 
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