Her.i.tage

(noun)

1. something somebody is born into

2. riches of past

3. passing from generation to generation

A couple ofย  weekends ago, Bapa Frank came over for our monthly tradition of gathering, catching up, laughing, encouraging, and sharing an early Christmas celebration. Our time together was extra special seeing the girls unwrap their baby doll carriages and hearing the squeals as they ran off pushing their baby’s down the hallway and then finishing off the time with some live music. It was so neat for me to experience the origins of Dean’s love and gift of music which is, really, where our love story began. What’s just as neat is my reflection that takes place every time the 2 guys walk out of our front door together en route to Bapa Frank’s home. This time, in particular, I was touched in a special way and the Lord brought to mind just a taste of how amazing and powerful His redeeming love is and the miracles that happen when our will meets His mercy and grace. I was reminded of the time, about 10 years ago, when Dean and I were dating and I would ask questions (anyone that knows me, knows I ask a lot of questions in my analytical nature) but little was said about Dad because, well, the relationship wasn’t incredibly strong (yet). I was reminded of the times 5 years ago, when he called upon us to help him get home after the chains of addiction were just too heavy to drag alone. I was reminded of the drive to the airport 3 years ago, to say goodbye to my husband for a year as he shared his worry of what might happen to his dad while he was gone and his incredible hope to return home to a healthy, sober father. And then there’s now… W. O. W. To merely have him in our home month and month, holding his 3 grand-babies, making himself available to us to share about every aspect of our lives, seeing the spark in his eye as he talks about his new-found love, and his plans to marry Day, and witnessing his life of freedom is n.o.t.h.i.n.g short of a miracle. And the deepening of so many relationships with him is so beautiful. God is so good! He has used Bapa Frank’s life to show me that it is never too late. That He is so much bigger than any of our problems or the pains of this life. He is so able to do anything! He has created us for eternity and that thought alone should send us into spiritual ecstasy.

The one thing that has always struck me about you, ๐Ÿ˜‰ Bapa Frank is your humility. Your willingness to be vulnerable, to surrender, to be open and honest.ย  You were never too proud to say “I messed up” . To know you were doing wrong. And now, to be able to talk about your past experiences, what you’ve learned from them and how they have brought you to where you are today is incredibly admirable and remarkable and is such a testimony and witness!ย  To be able to share your feelings, your faults and weaknesses, sins and all and conversely to proclaim God’s goodness and power in your life. To be completely real.

The whole relationship between our will, God’s intervention & the prayers of the faithful, and then, how they all intertwine to impact a person’s life is a fascinating mystery but I truly believe that our will plays a big part, bigger than most people think. And I think your will to do your part but then to willingly let go enough to allow God to do His has allowed for such a dramatic, amazing transformation to occur. And although this quality was not something that Dean experienced growing up, per se, it is most definitely a trait in you that was passed on to him. It’s in the DNA and it follows all the way to our children.ย  The more I get to know you, the more I see you in our kids and it’s simply wonderful.

Alizea most definitely has your spunk. Your joy for living and for being around people. Your energy. Your passion. Your thirst for learning and your love for music.

Genevieve got your gentle spirit. Your thoughtfulness. Your charming demeanor. Your warm, chocolate-y coloring ๐Ÿ™‚

And Soren. It’s a little hard to tell what his nature is, but we can certainly attribute his physique to his 6’3 Grandpa.

…And I’m still hopeful those light green eyes will influence a future Soto baby ๐Ÿ˜‰

It is truly an overwhelming blessing to have you in our lives. To have you back ๐Ÿ™‚ The relationship Dean has with you is precious. Hearing him share about his business ventures in gory detail and seeing you sit at his side like a dutiful student makes me smile and warms my heart. The relationship I have with you is invaluable.ย  Being able to share about mommy “stuff” and homeschooling lessons, knowing you care and are interested, and the text messaging is so cool! (You’re such a great listener)ย  And then there’s the relationship the kids have with you and well, you know better than I do what that feels like ๐Ÿ™‚ But they just adore you and how can they not? You are apart of their very make-up. Youre blood is running through their veins. You are family and you are irreplaceable.

Thank you for making the struggle, the fight. Thank you for not giving up when it got dark and ugly. For picking yourself up time after time after time and pressing onward. I am beginning to see where Dean gets his perseverance and determination from.

Thank you for being the best version of yourself!

We love you!

4 Responses to Her.i.tage

  1. Oh wow, I am shocked..and amazing! God is SO awesome! I guess people really are never “too old” to change or too hurt to re-establish a relationship. Awesome!

  2. Marisa, I can just imagine how affirmed and loved Frank must have felt when he read this and I can assure you that it meant the world to him. I marvel at your willingness to see the good in people and not dwell on the negative. I firmly believe that, as you say, God has been an integral part in Frank’s journey to the good place he now occupies in your life and in his own. But, I can also state, without doubt, that you, Dean and the kids have played a MAJOR role in his decision making ever since you and Dean became a family and then grew into the 5 of you. Frank, having the opportunity to witness the goodness, wholesomeness and love of each and every member of your family, had to be moved and motivated to strive for better things, just as I do. I’m so happy that the girls have a second Bapa in their lives. We won’t always be here, but the memories we create, the modeling we are able to do, the love-bond we create, will stay with the kids for their entire life. The more of this they can receive, the better!!

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