Let me tell you that the day that Stephanie asked me to write for this series, it was not particularly a day I am proud of. I would definitely not put it on my calendar as: “Awesome day with my family! My family is super awesome, today!” Quite the opposite, I was counting down the minutes until naptime so I could have a few minutes of quiet. All. By. Myself. Away from my family. You know we’ve all had those days. The day you can not too soon forget.
Well, that was my day.
One of my children in particular was driving me to my knees. I literally was praying Psalm 40 – “Please, God! Draw me up out of this pit! I feel like I’m drowning in this thing called motherhood! Please set my feet upon a rock. I need You!”
I found it fitting – providential, really – that Steph asked me to consider my family on such a beyond-me kind of day. My mind was stuck in the pit, and I was asked to think about, and write about, what “family” is. Of course it was THAT day. What better day to be reminded of what my family is.
As God does, He used that moment to draw my eyes off of myself, and onto the reason WHY my struggles that day even mattered. Why those struggles mattered so very much. And why my beautiful, crazy, stressful, wonderful, amazing, imperfect family is often right in the middle of it all.
That’s it. That’s what it’s about for me . Family is … sanctifying.
We know that those of us who trust in the Lord to save us are continually being sanctified; changed into His image, if you will. We, “… are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18). This isn’t a “maybe.” This is a promise. This is a “definitely.” Those of us who are Christ’s ARE being made more and more like Christ here on this earth until the day He returns to take us to Heaven and make us whole. Sometimes this can be a fun process. Sometimes it can be a painful process.
So what’s my point? My family is a vehicle through which He makes me more like Christ. This is true for all of us! No matter what our families look like. We are relational creatures. God has made us this way. What relationships do we place a higher value on than our family? Who do we ultimately spend more time with or care about more than or invest more energy in than our family? Family is sanctifying.
My family is me, my husband, and our kids. But it is also our parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, our church. Family looks different for all of us. But always, family is sanctifying.
I love my family so much it hurts. I enjoy them. They are a blessing to me and to many others. That is a fact. I am 110% convinced that I literally have the best husband on the planet. He is so amazing, I could never have enough words to tell you all about him. But let’s be real. We are two sinners married to each other, and life isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. Am I right? The struggles, the arguments, the awesome days, my lack of disrespect, his lack of love, his grace towards me when I definitely don’t deserve it, our forgiveness of the other’s sin – it all serves a purpose! The good, the bad, and the ugly. When we are followers of Christ, we see things in a different light. We see God’s glory. We see Him changing us. We might come kicking and screaming sometimes, but we can trust that it is all working for our good. My family is sanctifying.
My kids are two amazing miracles. I don’t use that term loosely. My son was born twelve weeks premature (I’ll help you with the math. That’s 3 months early). He is courageous. He is five now. Every day I look at him and marvel at God’s faithfulness to our family in sustaining that little boy’s life. This kid is truly something remarkable. I really have nothing to do with that. It’s just who he is.
My daughter is not technically mine…yet. Our little Sweet Pea, as we call her, joined our home and our hearts when she was two months old. Her life was not easy. She’s now a year and a half old. Her life is still not easy. She deals with emotions and pain that a child should not have to deal with. But she is also courageous. She is brave and determined beyond my wildest imagination.
We trust that the court will soon legally tell us what we have felt in our hearts from the beginning – that our Sweet Pea really is OUR daughter. We all look forward to that day eagerly. But, we have waited 18 months, and we will continue to wait on God’s timing. This is so very sanctifying. Yet, even the act of waiting can be used for our good. God cultivates in us a patience that is beyond our understanding. It is a painful thing. But it is a joyful thing to know that we are being made more like Christ! He was perfectly patient. We cannot be perfectly patient in this life, but we can rejoice in God bearing this fruit in our lives!
These two precious little people are a sanctifying presence in their mommy’s life. If you have children, you know exactly what I mean. Being a parent is a crazy adventure! So hard. So rewarding! Lots of tears. Even more joy! All of this – every minute of it – draws us nearer to our Lord. We cry out to Him; we give thanks to Him. We draw from the depths of His strength; we give our hearts in praise to Him. My family is sanctifying.
I’m so thankful that I was forced to dwell on what family is. Because in dwelling on my family, gratitude welled up in me. Gratitude to the God who holds all things together; holds me together; holds my family together.
God answered that desperate prayer of mine. He set my feet upon The Rock. He gave me a perspective not centered on myself. He allowed me to see the bigger picture.
I am so thankful for the privilege of having these precious people to walk beside me in this life. They stir me to praise. And they cause me to realize my need for my God.
I know my family looks different than yours. And that’s the cool thing. No matter what your family looks like, no matter what relationships are represented in what you would call “family,” God uses those people to refine you. To bend you and break you. To pull you and push you. All of this, through “ever-increasing glory” to be near to Him. I’m so thankful that family is sanctifying.