**I wanted to post this but I don’t actually want my brother to read it here… more than I want them to read it through the life I live. So yeah. It is what it is. -JB
I know we were never used to opening up about our own feelings with each other. I know that we never really sat down and kept each other updated as brothers. The conversations rarely went deeper than what we’ve seen and heard and plan on doing.
I am proud of our brotherhood. Our respect and pride for one another and our family are absolute – sturdy, regardless of what we have done, what we are doing, and what we might do.
I am proud of our parents. Our staunch father, who I reiterate may not have loved us the way we expected but loved us with his best. Our adventurous mother, who loves us no matter how we respond to how straightforward she is.
I am proud of our family and for how we recognize that we stand, not by our own achievements, nor by our blood, but by the blood of our Savior. I am proud of the grace of God present in our family’s triumphs, and the grace of God even more present in our failures and in tragedy.
I see now how as Christ has been faithful to me personally and has rendered me fearless and overflowing in perfect love, so has He been to the Lardizabal family.
Christ is alive in us, and we are alive in Him. By His finished work we are never separated, but forever united with none less than the Creator of all that is seen and unseen. I strongly believe that anyone and everyone we have crossed paths with wherever we have been has seen Christ in some way or form – Pep in the Mediterranean, Kip in Japan, Dad in Korea, Mom in Israel, Pep in the West Coast, Kip in the East, interacting with their generations, Dad as he climbed the ladder, Mom with her generation, in person or over the internet.
Our family shines Christ. And this is NOT because of our own performance and religiosity, but because of His absolute faithfulness. We merely reflect the everlasting promises fulfilled and granted to us by His death, resurrection and ascension.
We may see the said manifestation of the promises in healing, blessing, and/or peace through suffering. These, however, are secondary to the main deal struck by Christ, that is, our salvation through reconciliation, and a true reconciliation by way of union. Christ is all and in all we are, that we would enjoy Him and in effect shine His glory, whether we are in this reality or are with Him forever.
We’ve always been a family who thought for ourselves. We’re all blessed with strong personalities and I know that we aren’t just about to believe anything that comes our way, save for the moments we were willing to wager our dignity if it meant we would gain something significant out of it.
We’ve made our mistakes. And it’s not like it’s always been easy for us. But my point in all this, my full desire for all of us down to my future partner and to the generations we bring to this fallen world – is that we would not operate from fear as the world would have us do, but that we would take the time to take in how deep, how wide, how long, and how high God’s love is for us through Christ.. and conquer the world, propelled from that love.
I regret that I only learned and internalized how Dad loved me so much after the passing of his body. Consequently I regret that I stood by the lie that God’s love for me was existent, but unknown, much like how I chose to understand Dad. I feared him, and I feared God, because I felt it was more convenient. Like there was no other option.
It was only when God’s Word just came alive in me, when I let God do the work in me, opening my eyes to His unconditional, perfect and eternal love – that I realized (and I say again) how Dad may not have loved me the way I expected, but that he loved me with every single fiber of his being, the best way he could.
That’s what kept him going even if I wasn’t the best son to him. And today he is my hero, and there is nothing but more respect for him the more I learn about him, all thanks to the Hero of Heroes, none less than Jesus Christ.
My brothers, we’ve never had those deep conversations, probably for good reason: that what we do know about each other, we’ve already analyzed and expressed to other people.
To that regard, more than the words I write here, I would have you believe that Christ is always with you 100%, ministering to you in ways that you and you would understand, personally and intimately. Because of this truth I am confident in declaring that you are heroes to your wives and children, and in this regard I also confidently look up to you both as your younger brother. You’ve influenced me enough to stand on my own, and you still continue to teach me. By Christ I know that our Mom is proud of you. God willing, I honor you and Mom with a family of my own as well.
I end by saying that we have our challenges, and we have our differences. Nevertheless I am confident that through Christ – the foundation of the Lardizabal home – we have nowhere else to go but onward, and upward, for His glory, now and forever.
Grace and peace and truth to you always.