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Why you need to be honest about your family’s success and failures

By: Jennifer DeWeil

Growing up, I heard or saw things I swore I would never do or say. But, as a married stepmom to two girls, I have done and said those things more times than I want to admit.

But, there are other things I heard and did growing up, that I wanted to make sure I always did — give hugs generously, have family game nights, eat dinner at the table, talk about God and pray together, fill my heart and home with joy and peace.

My family is different from your family. And your family is different from the family you were raised in. One is not better or worse, they are just different. Or are they?

We can often resort to what is comfortable, what we know, or how we’ve always done things. And while that may be working for you, is it what is best for your family?

The people, events, and experiences of our past surely have shaped us into who we are now, but what was does not have to be what is.

So how can we change from what’s always been to what God wants for our family, our new normal?

Pray

The moment that you asked Jesus into your life, you were changed. You were made new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.” That means all you did, or have been used to doing, doesn’t have to be what you continue doing.

For our family, this meant that my husband and I both prayed to ask God to help us know what He wanted for our family. We wanted to know what our girls would think of when they thought of our home and what kind of legacy we were creating for our family. This was a different way of thinking for us, but we knew that if we kept doing things the way they had always been done, nothing would change.

Talk It Out

After we spent some time praying about what God wanted for our family, we talked to each other. This wasn’t a formal meeting, but casual conversation. And it wasn’t just a one-time thing. We kept praying and talking about it until we both agreed on how we wanted to move forward in parenting our girls.

Single parents, this is for you, too. Find someone you know loves God and loves your family, and talk to them. Share what is on your heart, the desires you have for your family, and let them offer feedback and wisdom.

Share It

Once you are in agreement with what you want for your family, share it with your kids. Around the dinner table is where we have lots of conversations with our girls. We laugh, we talk about what happened at school, but we also talk about big things. So, for us, this felt like the natural place to share with our girls what we had been praying and talking about. Find a time that works for you and your kids, and share this with them.

Live It Out

How we live in front of our children matters. We can create a home of safety and blessing for our children when we seek and serve God. Or, we can create a home of instability and harm for our kids when we seek and serve our own desires and sinful patterns of behavior.

Breaking habits and old behaviors is not easy. And, if you are the only one who knows you are trying to walk with God into a new future and leave your old ways behind, it is easy to slip back into those old ways. That’s where community and confession come in.

James 5:16 says, “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” When you begin to share your life with other people and talk about what you are going through, healing happens. The patterns of behavior you thought would always be, begin to change. And the legacy you leave for your children will forever be changed.

It’s Not Too Early or Too Late

If you are single or married but don’t have kids yet, this is for you, too. Start praying and asking God to show you what He wants for your future family. If your kids are grown and out of the house, it’s not too late! Call your kids, have them over for dinner, Skype or Face Time them, whatever it takes, just tell them.

Even if your past has been rocky and less than perfect, God has a plan for your family. No person or family is too far gone to receive God’s love and His forgiveness. As long as there is breath in you, there is hope for a new future, a new normal for your family.

 

If you are struggling with your past or need help dealing with destructive patterns of behavior, we want to help. Visit the Care Room at your campus on Sunday or connect to someone here.

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