What struggles are you dealing with when it comes to your family?
October 31, 2017, 5:00 AM

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14


The family is one of the most central concepts of humanity, but it’s also one of the greatest sources of frustration, disappointment and shame. These emotions happen for a variety of different reasons. For some it’s a bad experience growing up. For others, it involves friction with being married or single. Throw in the pressure of kids on parents or parents on kids and you can understand why many of us view the family as maddening. This doesn’t even touch upon the devastation of divorce, blended families, infidelity and abuse. Even though we believe the family is important, we are well aware that the family is imperfect. Some of us are disappointed with our spouse.  Some of us are disappointed with our parents. Some of us are disappointed with our kids. Some of us are disappointed that we’re still single. Some of us are disappointed with yourselves.


If we’re really honest, our families just kind of happened to us. We don’t really have a firm grasp on what they are or why they matter. The ideal picture we have of the family is a fairytale that leads to frustration. Things don’t get wrapped up in thirty minutes with everybody happy and the problems solved like they do in the sitcoms. The condition of the family has changed over time. Kids are growing up in a different culture than the one we were raised in. The cultural understanding has morphed more than we know. Cultural acceptance hasn’t brought wholeness to the family, but neither has the church’s rejection of those families who are different and who might be struggling. The church has fought hard for the restoration and reclamation of the family. Unfortunately, they’ve also lost sight of another important element, which is the redemption of the family.


The reality is that we cannot just wish these issues away or pretend they don’t exist because the struggle is real. To ignore it would force people and families to wrestle with things on their own. This can’t happen because the worst possible way to struggle is alone. As believers, we have to take a deep breath, lay our limited perspective on the table, and take a step back to address the issues plaguing the family. What would it look like to make things right? Almost instinctively, our minds go back to the way things were. So, we try, fail, and feel guilty. Our efforts pour forth out of the guilt we feel. We hope that if we can just do some things it will make up for what we’ve done or what has been done to us. Yet, this will never work. The way of redemption requires us to let go of demanding things work out.


The danger of disappointment is that we long to go back. The danger of fulfillment is that we long for things to stay same. We can’t be bogged down with the past and it is a losing battle trying to freeze time. There is only one direction we must set our gaze towards and that is forward. God is always working towards redemption. But, redemption doesn’t necessarily look like the way things looked before. We will not find a new story for our family until we let go of the old one.  What struggles are you dealing with when it comes to your family? Who knows about these struggles? How can God begin to write a new story for your family?


This is my Prayer: Father God, rather than trying to rewrite my family story on my own, let me remember that You are a God of redemption. Lord I can’t change the past and I’m incapable of freezing time, but I know You hold the hope for my future.  Jesus help me to let go of my old story and pick up the new story You are writing.  In Your name, Jesus. Amen.