God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.~James 4:6b NKJV
“I’m running away.”
“Great! Where are we going?” My husband has clearly missed the point.
“I’m running away from you too,” he added, his lip turning upwards at the corner. He needed to know marriage and parenting had equal shares in driving me nuts.
“Oh, okay. I will stay. I’ll be quiet.”
The wedding vows sometimes feel somber. “Till death” it is, but sometimes I genuinely want to get away from them. The space I converted to an office offers no solitude. They always find me. Even when they don’t physically intrude, their banshee and hyena noises do.
The last hunt for isolation led me to our family car, parked behind closed garage doors. I outfitted my new retreat with water, snacks, my computer, and a Bible. Still, even from the garage, I could hear them cackling at the kitchen table. Apparently, roughhousing and chase games are our family values. These compete fiercely with my writing process. Additionally, my folks ask me a zillion questions, and for my help locating a litany of things. I’ve put real thought into listing “professional finder” as a job skill on resumes.
It’s not just that they annoy me, but also that we don’t always get along. At times we are downright mean to each other. Perhaps it’s just my family. Admittedly, we’re an odd bunch. Or perhaps it’s lots of families, and I’m just being more honest than socially acceptable. Pause for the truth. The things we argue about are so trivial, I wonder if the conversations we have are actually happening.
“Is it a hot dog, or a hot dog sandwich?”
“Is boxed stuffing and cranberry sauce better than homemade?”
My husband says the wrong things, which means I get to work on my temper. Our teenager can be moody, which forces me to be a spiritually mature parent—a position I don’t always welcome. Our nine-year-old is really sensitive. That doesn’t fit with me, since my natural contribution to this dysfunctional mix consists of cutting words mixed with sarcasm.
While it’s true my family fights, by the strength of the Lord, we also fight for each other.~Shanda Neighbors, Contributing Author to Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships
Still, God put us together.
While it’s true my family fights, by the strength of the Lord, we also fight for each other. My loved ones have demonstrated extreme patience towards me, grace, humility, and forgiveness. We forget wrongs more quickly and say “I’m sorry” often. Sometimes we speak those words because we feel them, but more often it’s because we know it’s what our Heavenly Father wants.
Humility, to His perfection, holds us together. We lean on His understanding. A round won by the enemy, doesn’t determine the entire battle nor does it change the plans and purposes of God for us.
God says in His Word,
The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.~James 3:17b NKJV
This Scripture offers God’s wisdom for disputes. He counsels me to be pure, peaceable, and gentle. He tells me to yield my right, and to offer good fruits and mercy. When I am sincere in following His guidance, I can be the wife and mother I desire to be.
Despite our ups and downs, my family’s favorite place to be is together. Talking biblical things, dreams, politics, or sometimes not talking at all. We laugh a lot, and we’re way more immature than we need to be. We fellowship around food too often, and we are the laziest bunch of folks on Sundays. We are as opposite as any group of people can be, but we love each other. God continues to teach us that, and sometimes He uses our conflicts and sins to do so. We are not perfect or special. But we are surrendered.
It’s easy to love a perfect family. But what do we do when our reality falls short, and we are sloppy versions of perfection? We resist the urge to judge or fix them so we feel like a success. We let go off the scenario we envisioned, and allow our people to be a flawed work in progress, while we work on ourselves, learning to hear His still small whisper of correction.It’s easy to love a perfect family. But what do we do when our reality falls short, and we are sloppy versions of perfection? #VineWords #ShandaNeighbors Click To Tweet
Even as I say these things with conviction, I realize not all issues are the same. Some require counseling. If these conflicts are factors within your family dynamics, take heart. God has given you some amazing abilities to grow in Him. Remain humble before Him. Ask His correction and direction. Nothing is impossible with God, and He is an expert at restoring families. Take it from a woman who has considered divorcing both her husband and teenagers—it does get better.
What is a godly trait you can model that will demonstrate love for your family?
Heavenly Father, Thank You for my family. Help me to humble myself before You, so I may get a heart of wisdom. Guide me in my treatment of my family. Correct me where I am wrong and lead me in Your wisdom. Help me to walk in Your love toward every family member.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Copyright 2020: The Family That Fights: Author Shanda Neighbors: All Rights Reserved
Meet Our Contributor
Shanda Neighbor’s island upbringing has afforded her the ability to pardon Eve. She too enjoys gardening and picking produce. Her husband eats all she offers him. No questions. She enjoys serving large crowds, but she’s a natural overfeeder. She will supply too much nourishment no matter the crowd size. Food is her love-language.
She was born raised in the Bahamas. This has determined both her internal clock and thermostat. She struggles with being on time, and is not trusted to set the temperature anywhere. You can always find her outdoors…over 60’s and sunny…probably in a jacket. Anyone who invites her to go skiing hates her. Period.
Shanda is a miraculous work in progress. She credits her family with helping that work along. Chief among them is her husband who has demonstrated the power of love and patience. Outside of Jesus, she has had no greater advocate than her beef-and-potatoes husband. The couple shares two daughters who have brought them closer to the Lord, and to each other. Their daughters are their treasures, who have enriched their lives with wisdom, wonder, and play.
Shanda is passionate about truth and the reputation of God. This translates into her speaking, writing, and she shares passionately at events, in parks, stores, or wherever the opportunity presents itself. Her goal is to live amazed by the love, glory, power, and goodness of our God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to share His story with as many people as possible.
Shanda is a contributing author to Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships. She is a devotion speaker at Word Weavers Piedmont-Triad, NC, and she is available for speaking engagements.
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