Challenge 42: Embrace Your Family

Like many young ambitious girls I knew early what I wanted my life to be like: I would be a professional writer or professor and travel within that line of work. Perhaps a husband would come; maybe there would be children, but what I really knew was that I would be a career woman, working outside of my home. After a short stint as a journalist and academician, I felt the Lord pulling my heart home. I loved my job as a speech instructor and didn’t believe I would leave the workforce after six years in the position, but God’s calling me was so clear. I followed God’s leading though my heart didn’t settle with my body. My heart finally caught up about a week ago when I was on a much needed getaway alone.

I was looking forward to my time away from the demands of motherhood, marriage and ministry. I told my three boys and husband that I really needed a break from all their testosterone energy; I could be alone with my estrogen whims and simply be okay in my own space. On my two-night bed and breakfast stay about a 45 minutes drive from my house (a gift from the women I spiritually mentor), I planned to ride my bike, shop, read and watch an independent film. As soon as I arrived, I settled in then immediately unloaded my bike, rode downtown and continued to engage in my plans. I reveled in my day as I got to stroll leisurely through the town, find some bargains and laugh through a quirky movie. When I got back to my room, I tried to read but no longer wanted to. I was satisfied with what I had done and was now ready to go home.

Where did that feeling come from? I was looking forward to my break. I was in much need of a break but on day one I was ready to go home and be with my family. My trip was already paid for and I had an appointment in the area in two days so going home was not an option. I talked to my husband, went to bed and the next day decided to take advantage of my time and watch some movies on Netflix. Unbeknown to me, each movie, though different genres and story lines, had the same basic meaning: no matter the differences, oddities and distances of family members, the love among them can be life sustaining. And this is the message for us all: Whether natural or spiritual relatives, we need the love of family. Whether high-octane or subdued, familial love can fuel our tanks and keep us going, even if we need to discover that, like I did, after a short break.

Take a Risk Challenge: Take a break from interacting with challenging loved ones, reflect on the value of their love and reengage them as God leads you, remembering God doesn’t desire us to avoid our relatives who need us (Isaiah 58:7).

One Thousand Gifts List

Justus being content in church service
Nate napping in the car for an hour
An enjoyable boat ride with good food, family and entertainment
The breeze coming off the water
Seeing and talking to Wanda Stubbs
The boys squealing in delight
Staying in my pajamas until 4:30 p.m.
A sweet daughter saying I’m a good mommy and appreciating some mothering I give that she didn’t get from her mother
Realizing that holidays aren’t the same with my extended family and coming to grips with that
Finding “Good Hair” on the Xfinity Play Now option