Building a Successful Family - Girlfriends in God - May 10, 2017

May 10, 2017
Building a Successful Family
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

A wise woman strengthens her family, but a foolish woman destroys hers by what she does (Proverbs 14:1, NCV).

Friend to Friend

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. 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 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 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 rearview 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 twenty-five years and I still remember that precious night of ministry.

Women are so busy. We fill our lives with good things, but 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 returned home without a job? When was the last time you gave your parents a hug 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. 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. 

When our daughter, Danna, was a little girl, one of her favorite activities was to color a page in what she called her "special" coloring book. The book had several “special” pages, one in particular being a dull, gray picture of a butterfly. Frankly, I couldn’t understand her excitement. When I asked why she liked that picture so much, Danna grinned and said, “Watch, Mommy!” She rubbed her little hands together to create warmth; then laid them on the butterfly drawing. The touch of her hand caused the special inks in the printing to react, and the dull gray was transformed into a vivid rainbow of color. 

Everyone is hungry for the warm touch of someone who cares – a kind word, an act of compassion, a hug of encouragement. I believe God created the family to be the first place where that hunger is best satisfied. Yet, I am amazed that we can stand in silence, watching homes, marriages and families disintegrate before our very eyes. Silence is agreement. 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. 

Family is important to God. He created it before He created the church, and 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 love and trust God, and then allow that love to spill over into our family. 

Let’s Pray

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 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, Amen.

Now it’s Your Turn

Read the following verses of Scripture. Make a list of the action words in each verse. After completing the list, come up with steps you can take to illustrate the character of God in your family relationships. 

  • Proverbs 31:26-28 (NCV) “She speaks wise words and teaches others to be kind. She watches over her family and never wastes her time. Her children speak well of her. Her husband also praises her.”
  • 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

For more information on learning how to trust God with your family, check out Mary’s video download, How to Love Your Family. Connect with Mary on Facebookor through email. Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook

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Originally published Wednesday, 10 May 2017.