“A wise woman strengthens her family, but a foolish woman destroys hers by what she does.”
(Proverbs 14:1, NCV)
Friend to Friend
Family means different things to different people. What is a family? A family is a group of persons with whom you are doing life. Family is where we learn about God then live out the very nature and character of God in relationships. Family is important to God. He created it before He created the church and, as with each of His creations, He made a plan for it to succeed. At the heart of that plan is love. To trust God with our family demands that we first love and trust God in our own lives then allow that love to spill over into our family.
What a crazy day it had been! It was a day probably like many of yours. I was a young mom with two small children. My husband was the youth pastor at a large church in town. I taught a weekly Bible study for senior high girls and directed a youth choir that practiced one night a week and sang for the early worship service every Sunday. We hosted a youth Bible study in our home every Monday night … and, well, you get the idea. My schedule was almost to the point of ridiculous, and I was exhausted most of the time. But this particular day had been crazier than most.
Both kids had a cold and were grumpy. The house was a mess, the laundry was piled high, and I had a meeting at church that night. I was counting the minutes until my husband came walking through the front door. I needed rescuing.
The phone rang. “Honey, I won’t be able to make it home before church visitation tonight,” Dan said. He sounded so tired that I could not muster up one ounce of anger. Instead, I shifted into overdrive. I snatched both kids off of the backyard swing, plopped them in the bathtub for a quick rinse and impatiently shoved little arms and legs into clean clothes while spooning food into little mouths before firmly depositing both kids in their car seats. Off we went to church for the third night in a row.
At a stop sign, I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw two miserably silent children, tears streaming down their sad little faces. I heard His voice, “Mary, what are you doing and who are you doing it for?” My heart broke. I suddenly realized that I was running the race of life for the wrong audience. Turning the car around, I headed home.
“Hey guys! Would you like to go home, put on your pajamas, make some cookies and watch a movie with me?” Cheers and clapping erupted from the back seat as tears gave way to smiling faces, and laughter and giggles filled the car and my heart. It has been over thirty years and I still remember that precious night of ministry.
Women are so busy. As believers, we delight in finding creative ways to touch hearts and are often passionate about introducing those hearts to God’s love, forgiveness and transforming power – and rightly so. However, I wonder how many of us miss the hungry hearts that greet us each morning across the breakfast table or wait for us to come home each night.
Do we overlook a child’s silent longing for the kind of love that is spelled “t-i-m-e?” Do we miss the opportunity to encourage a weary husband who has, once again, returned home without a job? When was the last time you hugged your parents and thanked them for everything they have done for you over the years? Do your grandparents know how valuable their legacy of love and wisdom is to you? We make the erroneous assumption that the people in our lives know how we feel about them. Do they? And even if they do know, wouldn’t it be great to tell them again?
It is so easy to lose focus and scramble priorities. We get so busy doing good things and miss one of the highest things God created us to do – family. Our public life is only as valid as our private life. Family is the perfect framing for God’s highest work, the litmus test for authentic service and our greatest opportunity to meet needs in His name.
It is time for us, as women of God, to boldly stand against anyone and anything that undermines our marriage or threatens the solidarity of our family. It is time for us to trust God for and with our families.
Father, I want to please You by the way I love my family. Today, I choose to see each family member through your eyes of love and mercy. I will wage peace in my family. I will be quick to forgive and slow to condemn. I will encourage my family members with my words, my prayers, my love and my time. I want my home to be a safe place filled with kindness and compassion, a place that illustrates Your presence and power. Today, I choose to trust my family to God.
In Jesus’ name,
Now it’s Your Turn
Read the following verse of Scripture. Make a list of the action words in the verse. After completing the list, come up with steps you can take to illustrate the character of God in your family relationships.
- 1 Timothy 5:8 (NCV) “Whoever does not care for his own relatives, especially his own family members, has turned against the faith and is worse than someone who does not believe in God.”
More from the Girlfriends
It can sometimes be hard to love the “sandpaper people” in our family. They rub us the wrong way. They are coarse and abrasive. Need help? Mary’s book, Sandpaper People, is a practical guide and Bible Study to learning how to love the unlovable. Check it out!
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