Tuesday, July 29, 2014

FAMILY...the Good, the Bad, and the Nasty

Whenever you open a book that starts with once upon a time…just know you are most likely setting yourself up for comparison and a short stint of believing that everybody else has life better than you and better than that of your family.

Oh how most of us wish that if someone were to look at our families behind closed doors that they, too, would be able to start an account of our family journey with Once upon a time…or do we?  Yes, it sounds good, but as I look back on the parenting years I must admit I would rather have REAL and all that comes along with that than FAKE.

I was reading in Galatians 6 today and if I were starting off now as a young momma, I think I would be tempted to paint the biggest wall in our living room with chalkboard paint and have my bff paint these words as a daily reminder: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 I would also try to make the time to keep a running list of things not to become weary in doing. 

If only we could remember to keep our eyes on the harvest and not at the never-ending-discipline, bad-attitudes that need adjusting, swallowing our pride and saying “I’m sorry”, not keeping score, and loving the sometimes hard-to-love etc. our families may look a bit more like a Disney story-line…but in most cases it is much easier said than done.

Our immediate family happened to be made up of 4 individuals.  We all happened to have very STRONG personalities…to say the least.  My hubby always referred to our personalities as very passionate…a nice word for STUBBORN…but God knows that it was a tough road in our family to fight for the things that mattered and to let other things go.
I sometimes wished I could have been THAT MOM that could have gently reminded my son that climbing a very tall tree at the age of three was not a good idea…but I distinctly remember screaming at him in disbelief that he would even think about it.  And THAT, somehow, was my hubby’s fault!!

There were the holidays where perfectionism seemed entirely more important than that of the reason we were celebrating.  {Spending days on homemade pie crusts and ironing tablecloths, cloth napkins and the late night trip to Oregon Craft and Floral to make homemade candles in tea cups was not worth being grumpy!!}  Again, everything looked good, but my heart was full of anxiety and I needed to keep my eyes on the harvest.  A well-set table and beautiful decorations had nothing to do with nurturing little hearts.  I am NOT over-spiritualizing this, and there is nothing wrong with clean children all.dressed up in holiday attire and an outsider likening your family to that of a NORMAN ROCKWELL painting, but having a bad attitude and compromising the unimportant for the sake of how thing look is not okay.
Gossiping about one family member to another family member is also not okay.  It can be done so very innocently but with huge consequences.  It is always best to go directly to the person than to bring the whole family into it.

I attended a tea one year and a certain somebody pulled my skirt down a bit as I was informed that it was too short to be wearing.  I immediately hiked it up further and let ____ know that until I had varicose veins I would be wearing short skirts!!  Me and my big mouth gossiped about it at home and painted the family member as an old-fashioned school marm.  So not fair to ____who was trying to protect me from what others might have to say about it.

It would be easy to write from now until 20 years from now giving story after story, family-feud after family feud, disagreement after disagreement, arguments won and lost, hurt feelings that needed attention…but I am not going to bore you or air our familiy’s dirty laundry, but I want to encourage you that family is worth fighting for.  It is worth it!! 

The lives that you have been entrusted with are worth taking the time to help shape and mold.  Every family is unique and special.  Families are to be a safe place where we all learn valuable life lessons.  Sometimes the easy way and sometimes the hard way.  Unlike t.v. sitcoms, conflicts and disagreements are not solved in 30 minutes.  Sometimes they can take years to take care of and sometimes they are not remedied, and that is where God’s grace comes in to look at things differently and to have compassion on hard situations…
Families are to be treasured and protected. Forgiveness should take the front seat and not the back seat.  Ask God for patience to take the place of impatience as you watch your children struggle with consequences.  Take in the times when your child demonstrates compassion to flea-infested baby squirrels even though you could have thought of a million and one other ways to have taught a life lesson.
And when bitterness is being harbored and home is tense and you feel like a string is about to break, call a “come to Jesus” meeting.  There is nothing worse than everybody knowing there is something wrong and nothing being done about it.  Jesus set the example in calling His disciples away and dealing with issues.  This should have been our PLAN A…but usually became PLAN B.  :}  And guess what?  This does not end when your children leave home.  I think it is important to keep the family a well-oiled machine that can function as a unit long after the bedrooms have been turned into craft/room/offices and guest rooms.
Now that we have chatted more about the bad and the nasty, let’s talk about the good…the very good…How refreshing it is to be able to look back on the past and see God’s hand even when we made mistakes.  Our children can know what compassion looks like.  They can feel the immediate relief that forgiveness has to offer.  The chores they dreaded as children provided a determination in sticking with it regardless of how many hours it took them to finish…and they assured you nobody else in their class had to spread barkdust all.Saturday.long.  The furniture that needed re-arranging to fit grammy’s wheelchair in the house for Thanksgiving took time away from the family-puzzle…but it will be taught to their children when they have to re-arrange their lives for us as we age.

ALL in ALL, I wish I could get up on our HOT roof top today and shout out “Don’t give up!!  Keep on Keeping on!!  It is worth its weight in GOLD!!  Reaping the harvest is worth the blood, sweat and tears that goes into the labor-intensive years of the growing and nurturing it takes to make and grow a family.

And when your children call you to inform you of their  “come to Jesus” meeting they happened to have that night, and they end with "but it was so good!!" you will be able to hang–up the phone and smile knowing that forgiveness and acceptance and unconditional love is on the horizon as yet another HARVEST draws near.
How good it is to be a family.

Do you need to call a family meeting?  Ask for forgiveness?  Love a family member unconditionally?  Do something special for a hurting member of your family?    

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