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The Killingsworths…

Ecclesiastes 3:11

“He has made everything beautiful in its time…”

I spent time with a family tonight who call themselves the Killingsworths.

Their best kept secret, all though it’s not well kept, seeing as how you know it as soon as you see them together, is they are all friends! I usually take delight in smattering people and places with flattering rhetoric, in the hopes that I can capture and describe how amazing they are. The problem however with being elocute about someone or something is that, as any good person knows, the very best people in life don’t need unending rants to describe their greatness…often it’s best said in a word…after all, the gospel is as simple as it should be, and not any simpler! And so, the Killingsworths,
quite simply, are Christlike.

This family makes me believe that families can actually simply enjoy one another as friends, and not just sporadically as the familiar faces that you share bathrooms and holidays with.

In all, this family recipe is made up of 4 boys (Paul. Joel, Daniel and Chris) and 4 girls (Ally, Stephanie, Kim and Aimee).
The Mom and the Dad, Beverley and Gary, are two of the most warming parents I’ve ever seen. To sit back and just observe them and their house…it’s gospel. They are a performance set before your eyes…and, much of what riddled my prayers this night marinated on the question of just how much God must delight in their family.

I’ll hopefully not exhaust the use of descriptive compliments but it’s amazing to watch the way the entire house seems to move in Love when they fill every room of it… it’s such an amazing and Godly rhythm to be a part of. Whether it’s the absolute humorous chaos that comes from taking a drink order for eight from the living room…to the kitchen…and back to living room…or the peace that decides to curl up and take a nap around the girls eyes as they are sent back to their still-getting-tucked-in-childhood as Beverley blankets the room in sounds from a quieter world with her harp. (If you’ve never heard a harp in person by the way…make it a priority in life.)

I still remember the way those 10 or so minutes of harp and peace just seasoned the very air we all shared that night. Everything was so still. Senses were extremely heightened, as I found myself actually believing I could hear the tear escaping one of the daughter’s eyes. But the most incredible part of of the evening was not the sound, so much as the affection that was absolutely everywhere.

I, being fairly intuitive, don’t know how I didn’t see it coming!

The beauty of the moment just crashed into me, spilling over my heart like a redemptive tonic. All that was visible from me on the outside, even from the most keen of observers, would have been an out-of-the-blue blink…nothing more than a fraction of the delight that was having its way within everything inside me. I found myself in perfectly stilled awe, not so much watching Beverley subdue this ancient instrument, but rather soulfully lullabyed at the way a Mother’s unending Love was covering her children with a few delicate plucks of her fingers. As if this weren’t enough of a moment to permeate all of my being, causing everything from an eventual blog to a “belonging” that is only of and to God…I then saw the perfect sight to shut my eyes to and retreat back to the music…there was Gary, leaning casually on the door frame of the farthest way out of the room, keeping watch over his sheep for the evening. He was propped up in a posture that made you think this was his first time and his millionth time hearing these sounds, seeing this sight. He was a vision of meakness, and I felt even more safe and secure than I thought possible. How those kids must feel with him as their Dad is beyond my understanding.

So, while I’ve managed to describe about 10 minutes of time in a five paragraph harangue, rest assured that our evenings did actually consist of more than just a heavenly harp. After learning intimately of the neverending promise that the kitchen will just keep dispensing snacks and drinks in the most hosting of ways, I was then rescued from the kitchen table by the most adorable member of the family, the youngest sister, Kim (or “Kit-Kat” as I nicknamed her). I was taken immediately into the adjacent computer room/recording studio where Kimmy and I proceeded to watch home videos. After about 3-4 minutes of the first video, of which I was attemtping not to spill over in tears after seeing how Lovingly this family spends their time together, it then dawned on me that the little retreat that Kimmy and I had escaped too, was now filled with 8 of the 11 people in the house. And so…squashed into a room not meant for 8 people, my elbow wrestling with Kimmie’s for space on the computer desk…I just sat…in perfect calm and in complete silence as I watched home videos of some of the best memories ever caught on film. Let me just say, although I’ve never been to Missouori, I am
now a huge fan of summer vacations there.

All the girls, Mom included, chipped in with gentle, laughing disclaimers halfway through every video apologizing for boring us. I sat quietly, barely breaking my welled up pose of chin in hand, only to steal the mouse and click on another video on before someone decided the videos were finished. It was breathtaking, inspiring to my deepest longing for fellowship and family. It made me Love and appreciate and pray for my family in ways I had yet to experience.

It was an unexpected, and previously believed to be impossible, kind of perfect. I kept thinking to myself..They’re not just family, they’re friends…
every one of them.

The Lord certainly had the Killingsworths beauty in mind long before he ever put the most obvious of providence in front of Gary and Beverley’s lives in order that they should find one another…and add to their already beautiful. The Lord made the Killingsworths beautiful to me that night…and again the following night, and again the later-in-the-week afternoon as I saw them on a busy street in Glasgow all headed to a ‘Mute Math’ concert together.

The Killingsworths were made beautiful long before I ever met them,

they instill in me hopes and desires that will hopefully and prayerfully be what fill up my own family’s
(Lord willing)
                         …joys one day, all the day, every day.

The Killingsworths were made beautiful in the Lord’s timing…and so, it excites me, to exclaim in Truth,

this family is already being made beautiful for the days they do not yet know.

God be with them, as a family, and as individuals

…always, and forever.



About justingunter

I'm recently 29 years old, recently married and ready to change the world for God. He has called me to be a missionary! This means more than just changing zip codes and living in countries where I struggle (for a while) speaking the language the locals dream in. It means a lifestyle of sacrifice, audacious Hope and above all, a desire for Jesus simply because He is who He is. I moved to Franklin, TN in October 15th of 2012 and expect this to be the first of many changes for the great calling on the Gunter's life. Side note...I dig being married. It helps when you're married the best woman ever! Teale and I feel called to plant churches, combat sex trafficking and be a place of refuge and Holy sojourn to all who would seek to join alongside us for good or for a season. For now, Ol' Rocky Top is our home, Zoey is our Great Dane and we, the Gunters, love Jesus with all we have.

One response »

  1. Someone else who knows them

    They are a pretty awesome group aren’t they.


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