Generation Cedar

Fellowship.  Friendship.  Relationships.

Building family relationships is a vital part of  what makes a family.  If heart strings aren’t being tied there, if the family isn’t being “kindly affectioned one toward another with tenderly love, in honor preferring one another,” if the closest, deepest, most intimate bonds are not within the home, we should hardly pretend to be Christians elsewhere.

It’s true, the tendency is to take family for granted.  They have to love us, after all.  But if we believe that our faith is built upon a love the Bible describes throughout, that there must be unity among professing believers if there is anything genuine about that faith, then we are but hypocrites if we don’t work to cultivate unity, love, affection and preference for the others in our homes.

It’s Hard Work

But, it’s hard work.  As a mom home with eight children all day, there is nothing I do more than help my children (and oh boy, myself) learn how to deal with conflict, strife and selfishness.  It’s almost a constant job, as any parent knows who disciples children all day.

But I consider it the most important one.  Because as we daily–no, hourly deal with conflict, we are forced to reckon that in our flesh, we are pretty wretched. But there is a cross and a Savior and every messy struggle brings us there again and we get to revel in the glory of forgiveness.  We are faced every minute with our desperate need of a Redeemer because of how He has positioned us in families. We can’t (or we shouldn’t) walk away.  We must reconcile.  Isn’t it beautiful?

We must understand that sibling strife is a reality.  We must NOT accept it as “normal,” however.

We must understand that our own sinful responses are a reality.  We must NOT accept it as “normal,” however.

There are three channels of relationships that have to be continually nurtured in a home:  husband and wife, parents and children, and sibling with sibling.

Time

The most important element I’ve discovered in tying heart strings is TIME.  It is virtually impossible to develop intimate bonds with people unless you spend large amounts of time together.

And time naturally lends itself to purpose.  When a group of people spend time together and share the same purpose, goals and visions, there is an inevitable intimacy.  Psychologists have been baffled by the loyalty displayed in gang members.  Young people willing to risk lives or take lives, bound by a “code” among the members.  The secret lies in the feeling of belonging and being an important part of a group with a purpose.

But even with shared time and purpose, we are not naturally given to “preferring others better than ourselves”, and yet that’s what we’re commanded to do.

In the next post, I’ll talk about practical strategies families can use to cultivate affection for one another and deal with inevitable strife.

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13 Responses

  1. GREAT topic! Thanks for the post, looking forward to the next one! Praying God’s blessing on your home & family, Kelly!

  2. There is so much we learn, so much maturation that takes place being with our children all day, everyday. The Lord has taught me so much, especially about the contents of my heart, by keeping me in the “crock pot” so I can become tender. If my children were not here so much, it would be much easier for me to not be as attentive to the sanctification process. Thank you for these words.

      1. That is good, Antbed! I love the crockpot analogy.

        When we spend time together all day – every day- our flaws come to the surface and we have the opportunity to deal with them.

        We can find answers in His Word for our problems.

        Great post, Kelly!

  3. great post! I was just listening to Joyce Meyer ( she feeds me my vegetables and I love her for it) and she was talking about how we should be treating our family. She said we complain that we can’t change our irritability and moodiness with our husbands and children, but she said if she were to show up at your front door, or your pastor were to knock on your door you would be able to change your attitude in five seconds. Oh boy that was painful to hear.

    I am trying to work on being pleasant, but as soon as I made that commitment I felt instant depression and irritability and I felt very pouty. All over nothing. My flesh is fighting me every second. Thank you for this post, it really encouraged me this morning.

  4. Oh dear. I needed this today. Our home is struggling…mainly our two boys. They constantly bicker and pick. God chose them to be 6 years apart and I thought that would make it easy when that is how it worked out. Instead, they argue constantly. No brotherly love. I find myself easily angered. I don’t end up discipling in love and doing it biblically. A swat alone does nothing. Thank you for this. My husband and I need to figure this out and get our kids hearts back..tied only to us. I am looking forward to your next blog…

    1. I completely know what you are saying about the bickering, Jennifer. I wish I could figure it out, too! My children are all almost 5 years apart and it’s like having 3 only children. Their needs are all in different stages. Sometimes I can hear my attitude in them. Like the tone I use when I am frustrated or the way I withdraw when they disappoint me, etc. They treat each other like this. I only wish I knew how to model right behavior without getting irritated when I know I’m wrong and I’m corrected. Phew…it is a lot about me.

  5. Beautiful. I am really enjoying these! They are a kick in my hiney to find out how I could do more. Our daughter is an only, so there are no issues there, but I must remember my husband. Your last posts have motivated me to make my hubby lunch each morning this week. And breakfast. When I ended my walk early this morning due to FREEZING winds, my flesh was crying for me to sit and have coffee. After gentle nudging from Holy Spirit, I made dh a salad for lunch instead. SO MUCH MORE REWARDING!!! (for me and him)

    I have to be honest. We live a pretty good life (not without attacks, but we are victors). Almost no arguing, no issues, little drama. I was not expecting to get a ton out of this, just confirmations. But it has really motivated me to dig deeper to find ways to bless my hubby. He certainly is enjoying it. But so am I. I get deep satisfaction knowing I am trying my best to follow the verse “Whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord”.

    You are doing an amazing job in this ministry. Thanks!

  6. Thanks! I’m always worrying about how my kids will relate to each other when they grow up. Praying all the time!

  7. “As a mom home with eight children all day, there is nothing I do more than help my children (and oh boy, myself) learn how to deal with conflict, strife and selfishness. It’s almost a constant job.”

    Change that # to 4 and then you have me. 😉 I read a very similar sentiment just last week regarding being thankful that God shows us the sinfulness of our children’s hearts (and our own), so that we can work on it. It changed my perspective right away and I’m so grateful that He loves us enough to expose the parts that need to be dealt with, no matter how hard dealing with them actually is.

    I love this verse when it comes to parenting and more particularly homeschooling:
    “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

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