Monday night I had the fun opportunity to speak at a Mother/Daughter banquet in my hometown. Hometown speaking gigs are intimidating to say the least! I’m happy to have made it through. The theme of the night was family and since today is Mother’s Day, family life is heavy on my heart. Here are the six things I introduced to weave or thread into the F.A.B.R.I.C. of your family.
F – a Firm Foundation
If there is one thing I can be certain about in this life it is this: things change. The world is moving at a fast pace. Ideas, research, and theories seem to shift like the sand along the seashore. One phone call could literally change my life as I know it. Any day, anytime, everything can change. What can we trust? Is there anything solid to hold on to?
In the book of Matthew, Jesus spoke about people who live their lives based on His teachings. He compared them to a wise man who built his house on a rock. Though strong winds, heavy rain and flooding would come, the house built on the rock would stand. Jesus promised. (Matthew 7:24-25)
Is your house built on a firm foundation? There is one thing I have found I can count on, now and forever. One thing that is not subject to the restraints of time nor the decisions of man. I find great comfort, confidence and security in knowing that the nature and character of God has not and will not change. God is unique to that truth. Because I can trust His unchanging character, I can build my life according to His ways, His design and His plans.
For my family, I will show them and teach them and thread through them this truth; we must build our house on a firm foundation.
A- Attitude of Gratitude
Philippians 2:14 says, “Do all things without complaining and disputing,” Really, ALL things? Without complaining. What a challenge. Here is a great quote by Charles Swindoll I heard years ago. This quote was the core of one of the first speeches I ever gave in high school.
The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.
As my mother says, “Be thankful for every normal day.”
For my family, I will show them and teach them and thread through them this truth; we must have an attitude of gratitude.
B – Bond of Peace
We have all been hurt by our family. Somewhere along the line, in some way, whether by something done physically or something said, no one goes through family-life pain free. No one. However, if we want to keep our families together, happy and productive, we must forgive. Let it go already. Have the talk. Send the e-mail. Get it on the table — if necessary — and let it go. Romans says, “if possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
The best way to learn how to forgive is to make a list of all the mean, hateful, selfish, prideful and wrong things you’ve done and been forgiven for. When you see the grace that has covered you, it becomes much easier to forgive others. I am so thankful that a perfect and holy God extends His grace to me. Who am I to withhold forgiveness from another?
For my family, I will show them and teach them and thread through them this truth; we must desire a bond of peace. We must forgive.
R – Respect for Differences
Aren’t you glad we are not all the same? If my husband and I were just alike, one of us would be useless. God is so creative. I admire His artistry as I look at the people in my life. All of us are unique and made for purpose. Rather than assuming differences are flaws, we should respect and admire what makes us different. In Proverbs, there is a famous verse that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is older he will not depart from it.” For years I thought the core intent of the verse was teaching us to train up a child in THE WAY. I agree that is a solid plan. I will do that. But, actually, with a bit more research and learning, I have found that the intended emphasis is on the word he. “Train up a child in the way he should go.” Interesting. We should raise our children in keeping with who they are and who they were created to be. Of course, they should live within the bounds of right and wrong, and it is our job as parents to teach them the boundaries; but in terms of their personality and interests and passions, we should support and encourage them to go their way.
I am so thankful for parents who got this right three kids in a row.
For my family, I will show them and teach them and thread through them this truth; we must respect and even admire our differences.
I – In Tune with THE Mission
The mission that matters is simple; know God and make Him famous. Life is short. It really is like a vapor or a flower that blooms and then withers away. Much of what we do day in and day out is in vain and is temporary. The entire Bible is about God’s desire to have a relationship with mankind. He wants to be known by us, now and for eternity. Unfortunately, we are usually in the way of that relationship or distracted by our relationship with this world. I want my family to be on mission with God through Jesus Christ to introduce the world to Him. I want us to be a part of His team. Not team members wearing jerseys and sitting in the stands, but team members on the field and in the game. Why? Because in the end, God’s team will win.
For my family, I will show them and teach them and thread through them this truth; we must be in tune with THE mission.
C – Commitment to the Cost
Commitment is a thread that has been unraveled in our society. We scoff at the thought. We are so conditioned to freedom, convenience, flexibility and disappointment, that we struggle with commitment. I want my family to be committed to truth, to the mission, to God and to each other. Just because something is hard, does not mean it must be wrong. We will not walk away just because we are uncomfortable, inconvenienced, unappreciated or misunderstood. Commitment is hard. Life is hard. We must consider today what it will cost to be committed rather than waiting until things are a mess to figure it out. I want to raise a family that will finish.
For my family, I will show them and teach them and thread through them this truth; we must understand commitment and stand strong no matter the cost.
For those of you who come from or who are living in the midst of a family whose fabric has been unraveled, I have great news for you:
God can sew.No family is perfect. Mine certainly is not! But God uses imperfect people and messed up families all the time. He is a master at healing hurts, correcting wrongs, putting people and families back together and working things together for our good and for His glory.
We are all a life in progress.