Bradley and I have a recurring conversation about raising our family, and it usually takes place after watching an episode of Parenthood, or when all of our children are playing together, having fun and getting along. We’ll look at one another and say, “This is great. I hope these kids stay friends like this forever. What can we do to make sure this happens?”
In other words, what will make the seven of us always live in perfect peace with one another?
We try to pay attention to the relationships of other families, noting the good and the bad, especially in adult sibling relationships. Is there mutual love and respect? Do they have good communication? Are they encouraging one another? How well do they know what’s happening in each other’s lives? Do they enjoy being together?
Every family is unique, and even the ones we represent have some similarities, but also many differences. We brought our family backgrounds to our marriage and somehow through years of learning about one another and laying aside our ideas of the ‘perfect family’ we have discovered that as much as we try, the perfect family doesn’t exist. The one I grew up in isn’t. The one Bradley grew up in isn’t and the one we’re growing isn’t. How are we supposed to create what we long for right now and down the road? Not only that, but how do we navigate all the family relationships we’re a part of and love everyone well?
A list of family rules to follow to insure healthy and loving lifelong relationships would be helpful.
Perfect people to love and be loved by would make a difference.
Neither one exists.
So we live and learn and pay attention and work toward this desire for our family to be one that is filled with love, both now and in the future.
I signed up to be on the book launch team for Gary Morland, a first-time author, who is one of the founders of an online writing community I’m part of. He had talked about his book in our community, and the message seemed like one that would resonate with me. Family. Specifically, how to get along with the people who matter most.
But there was something else. Two of the other founders of this community, Hope*Writers, are his daughters. I would hear them interact and listen to their stories, and although it was from a distance–I don’t know them personally–there was something unique about their relationships. I wanted to understand what it was and I wanted it for my own family.
After reading Gary’s book, A Family Shaped by Grace: How to Get Along with the People Who Matter Most, I’m starting to understand how this works. I’ve been given a secret to how my own family relationships can live in harmony and move toward the peace that we long for.
The secret is my own willingness to surrender.
To surrender my desire for control, to be right, to be loved, to be understood.
To surrender my need for acceptance and respect.
To surrender my comforts and my needs.
The secret is my own willingness to live out of the grace that God has given to me and extend it to those I love.
A family that can live in harmony with one another today and twenty years from now has to start with me.
It starts around the table after school and during meals as I ask my children questions about their day
It starts by paying attention to the expressions on their faces and noting the things that are important to them.
It begins at bedtime when I spend a few extra minutes snuggling with my children, talking about whatever’s on their hearts.
It begins with Sunday night trips to Sonic for milkshakes and french fries, making memories and enjoying togetherness.
It begins when I move toward my husband instead of waiting for him to initiate the meeting of my needs.
It happens with phone calls, texts, and emails to my extended family, being interested in their lives and encouraging them in their endeavors.
It’s rooted in an unshakeable confidence that I am fully loved by a gracious God and that it’s only by his power at work within me that I can love and serve those around me.
It begins in my heart.
When you get to this place…you’re becoming one with Jesus’ desire for his presence in you to connect with his presence in the other person or in your family. — Gary Morland
This is how I can get along with the people who matter most.
Gary’s book, A Family Shaped by Grace: How to Get Along with the People Who Matter Most, releases today and if you’re looking for some biblical principles and practical tools that will help to shape every family relationship in your life, I would recommend this book. You can find all the details on how to order, a video trailer of the book, and more from Gary’s heart here.