I contemplated whether to even put my thoughts to words with what I am feeling. Sometimes it’s a struggle, ya know, to share certain thoughts. But alas, that’s what this blog is for. It’s a space where I share Holy Encounters, and sometimes those encounters come in times that are difficult. So, here it goes. It’s about to get really raw and personal in this post, and I hope that it doesn’t scare you off.
Family. It can be a beautiful thing, and it can be an ugly thing all at the same time. Hollywood has made us believe that families tend to have no problems, or if they do have problems they’re not “real” problems. TV shows like the Brady Bunch, Leave it to Beaver, and the Andy Griffith Show all gave us the impression that being a family is easy, and everything can be worked out “peachy keen” over homemade pie and a cup of coffee (I LOVE coffee, but even I will admit it has it’s limitations).We were made to view family through rose-colored lens. (Please don’t think I am about to go into some message of how disastrous family is, or that I am about to get really dark here, because that’s not at all what I am hoping to set out to do with this post.)
But there’s something a bit deeper than homemade pie and a hot cup of coffee, when it comes to family. Sometimes the issues and difficulties within family are a bit complex. And sometimes family has ugly moments. Family isn’t all about taking vacations together, eating dinner together, or even laughing together. What family is supposed to be is a place where people who have come together through marriage, birth, adoption, etc. and do life together. This means through the valleys and through the mountain top experiences. It’s a place where it’s okay to not agree with each other. It’s a place where hurts are forgiven. It’s a place where as kids, siblings pick at each other but won’t allow for someone outside of the family to pick on each other. And family is a place where the grace and love of Christ should be more evident than anything else. Now, the grace of God does not mean patting one another on the back, smiling, and saying, “it’s okay,” as whatever the issue is gets swept underneath the rug. The grace of God carries accountability with it. The grace of God spurs us on to do better and become better.
But with all of that being said sometimes family just doesn’t look like what we thought it would. Divorce comes on the scene and family as we once we knew it, is now forever changed. The people we hoped to be close with can turn out to be the ones we guard ourselves from. Some people may even leave the family either through death or just choosing to walk away. And some people are added to the family through marriage, adoption, or simply being a close friend. I am sure I could continue with this paragraph on the many changes a family can experience, but I am sure you get the point. Family is complex. It’s not as simple as Leave it to Beaver had us to believe. And family can hurt.
I admit that I have family members that I guard myself from. I long for a close relationship, but I always find myself feeling as though I have to be guarded. And, I will also admit that I struggle with how to handle these situations in a way that doesn’t steer me away from God. I don’t always handle my emotions and feelings well. I lash out at times. I also can bottle up and stuff away from feelings, and just choose to not speak up and try to work out whatever the issue at hand is at the time. Do I guard myself because I think I am better or that I have arrived at some level of spirituality that my family members have not achieved yet? Absolutely not. Do I feel superior? Not at all. Do I think I am perfect? Not a chance!
Maybe being guarded isn’t the best solution in family. Maybe I am handling it all wrong on my part. I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. But I do know that I can trust in the One who does have the answers. And I know that He will cover it all. And I know that during my moments of wanting to respond with hurt, Holy Spirit nudges me to not have the “eye for an eye” mentality. He doesn’t even want me to have a victim mentality. He wants the best for me and my family, and so He calls me to walk in a higher way. So, I will continue to look to Him and do my best to walk in His ways. And when I stumble, I know He will be there to hold me up and say, “Let’s try this again.”
I’m NOT perfect. I’m NOT better than anyone else. I AM a work in progress. I AM a daughter of God trying to do life the best she can, flaws and all.