Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Gift of Family

(Continuing on with posts about Planning with Priorities in my mothering series Forever Close: The Heart of a Mother ... specifically applying these planning thoughts to mothers, but they easily can be adapted to any and all places of career or life.)

Family ~ a word that is filled with varying emotions for different people. It can evoke emotions of overwhelming happiness and warmth, it can bring tears of joy, and also it can bring emotions of anger and bitterness, and deep pain, and also in some cases, emotions of heartache and longing. 

Our great, loving, creative God is the author of family as He fashioned it to be - a picture of Himself, of His Love. A little glimpse of heaven here on this earth.

But since The Fall, sin has entered this world. And the family is affected, as well as every other aspect of the world that we live in. 

And in order for the family to be family as God intended it to be, we desperately need our Creator God to breathe His life into us, and to let His Love permeate us and make us whole. Our families will never be perfect (for perfection is only possible in heaven), but with His Spirit alive in us as families, it is possible for family to be a picture of what His Love looks like.

This does not "just happen"; it is by His Grace alone. And as moms (and dads) with so many things calling for our time and our attention, we must make preserving this gift of family a priority.

And how do we do this as mothers, when so many things call for our attention each day? Here are a few ideas that come to me as I look back on 40 years of mothering (by His grace and mercy alone) ...

keeping our priorities in the forefront as we go through our days - for me, visibly having them written out in front of me as I plan and pray, helping to keep my focus

continually being in prayer for our family - realizing that it is only by His power and grace that the gift of family can be preserved - it is not accomplished by our effort; it is a gift from Him alone

seeking to preserve the family meal together, gathering together as often as possible

making a big deal of special days together - birthdays, and holidays

prioritizing so that family vacations are taken together - they do not need to cost a fortune (we had a pop-up camper throughout the years we had children at home, making it possible to vacation on a small budget)

focusing on really listening to each family member (this is of huge priority, and one that I am continually asking God to teach me more about)

seeking to have one-on-one time with each of our children

scheduling regular family nights and activity together

using creative ways to teach and share of God's love, grace, and mercy

loving unconditionally, and giving grace - as we have received grace

building lasting traditions into our family life and holidays

realizing that we never will be perfect parents - and that all is by His grace and mercy alone

"A family - blended, balanced, growing, changing, never static, moving with a breath of wind - babies, children, young people, mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles - held in a balanced framework by the invisible threads of love, memories, trust, loyalty, compassion, kindness, in honor preferring each other, depending on each other, looking to each other for help, giving each other help, picking each other up, suffering long with each other's faults, understanding each other more and more, hoping all things, enduring all things, never failing!" (Edith Schaeffer, What is a Family?)

Lord, we are desperately in need of Your Grace, Mercy, and Love as we mother our children, and as we seek to build and preserve the Gift of Family that you have entrusted to our care. Please take our best efforts, our weaknesses and mistakes, and fashion our families into something beautiful, for Your praise alone. 

Links to all the posts in this Planning with Priorities series:
Planning with Priorities
First Priority
Loving Our Husbands 
The Gift of Family
Making a Home
Time for Me
Beyond Our Homes

Linking up with:
Fellowship Fridays
Faith Filled Fridays
Titus 2sdays

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cherry! I am your neighbor at Faith Filled Fridays.

    I always liked the family dinner. Sometimes it was the only part of the day where we would be all together. And your point about prayer is so important. How can we hope to be with the Lord if we are not communicating that?

    We did have 'game nights' but probably not as often when the kids got older. I think that might have been a mistake. It wouldn't have to be a long time, but just that being together is so precious.

    Thank you for this great post!