Growing Families God’s Way (vol. 1)

Posted: Nov 28, 2007 in Family, Spiritual Transformation

Intro to Growing Families God’s Way

By the looks of the picture above some may come away with the wrong impression about my family and the same would be true if it were your family, I’m sure. On the one hand it might appear to be one big happy family, everyone smiling, 5 out of 6 are looking at the camera, matching/complimentary outfits and, except the guy in the middle of the picture, its as picture perfect as i could ever hope my family to be. But such perfection as we all know is only for Hollywood, the Hogan and Osbourne family because what we don’t see is the behind the scenes footage of this picture that always offer a good mix and reality of emotions other than happy, happy – joy, joy. To be sure, we love each other BUT the reality is not found in our 1 of 100 plus photos. It is found in the hurtful words that splinter our loving hopes, the broken promises that break a trusting confidence and the truly unbalanced time management that promotes this world above family time with God. Yet in the midst of our imperfections we all hope for something more, don’t we? As such, this little journal of sorts, is a quest that i wish to invite all of you on. It is a quest that will find us sometimes successful but mostly failing at achieving our goal of living like Christ for our families and to the glory of the Father. More importantly it is a quest to teach our families to depend on God as we journey together towards Growing our Family God’s Way.

Spiritual Disciplines for the Family

In Duane Bidwell’s book Short-Term Spiritual Guidance: Creative Pastoral Care and Counseling Series, he states in the intro to Chapter 8: Spiritual Guidance with Couples and Families:

A number of studies correlate family wellness and marital satisfaction with religious/spiritual practice. These studies also suggest, however, that simple participation in religious activities and attendance in worship may not result in a stronger marriage. Rather, as Paul Gibbons notes ‘spirituality to the degree that it is an integral part of the relationship, influencing communication, conflict-resolution, decision-making, and sexuality, among other dimensions, likely results in increased relationship satisfaction.’ A spirituality woven into the daily lives and values of a family–talked about when the children are disciplined, included in the breakfast conversation, allowed to influence budgeting decisions, present at times of play–promises to have a greater impact on family members and their relationships than either a spirituality that remains isolated and fragmented (the possession of the individuals) or a spirituality that is limited to a specific time and place, such as Sunday worship.

The interesting aspects of this notion are that the church assembly is not enough to empower a family to make a long term impact on their children or family as a whole. Life with Christ proves to be more about daily life not simply a one day “spiritual” event. It shows that how we spend our time, energy and resources in this life may have a greater impact on our family than we presume.

Thus, when we are not adequately guiding our family into the transformative arms of God, we are opening our children up to the outside influences that this world pushes upon us. As Christians we must begin to ask ourselves what a rich life truly looks like. We must ask ourselves what the goal of our life is. Then we must measure our lives in comparison to those goals and examine our current path to see if it is leading us in the right direction. For example, if eternal life with God is the goal, then does our private life reflect the image of Christ for our children? Do we spend our time, energy and resources in guiding our families into the way of the light? Are we teaching our family to simply keep up with the Joneses OR to reflect the peace andjoy of Christ’s light into the darkness of the Joneses life?

This is a scary notion when you begin to measure the where, who and how we spend our time, energy and resources. I am afraid that all too often we push our children to the secondary less important things in life: sports, music and pursuits of greatness in this life. As parents we must to impress upon our children those things that guide them to the eternal goal? We must share with them the hope of Christ, so that when the things of this world fail them, and they will, they will know where to turn for peace, joy and fulfillment? The task of guiding our children has been given to us by God. It demands that our lives reflect the image of Christ for them. It places upon us as parents a gift to nurture babes in Christ into full maturity as disciples of Christ. What an honor, what a blessing to be able to baptize our children into the newness of life that is forever.

Remember, if we or our children have all of the God given success in the world, ability to pitch a 90 mph fastball or the ability to compose the greatest of symphonies but have not love, then our and our children’s lives amount to nothing in the kingdom of Heaven. Let us work together to build one another up in the way we and our children ought to go. Let us seek to balance our life and find in that balance joy that surpasses understanding. “It takes a village (or church) to raise a child.” So lets get to work.

May God bless us as we seek to glorify Him in our families.

Stay tuned for practical ways of doing this in your family…

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