Parenting. This is my deepest wound and greatest passion. It doesn’t take much digging into the Bible to find some dysfunctional families, I mean right from the get go, Adam and Eve gave birth to a murder. Abraham sent his firstborn son away so that he could favor Issac. Issac, favored Esau, but don’t worry, the manipulator that Jacob was got even. And goodness, the dysfunction of Jacob’s household is novel worthy: rape, murder, selling into slavery, faking a death….
I think when you grow up in a household where there is favoritism it makes it easier to blame one child, creating a scapegoat, for all the other siblings’s mistakes and screwups and then act like that one child is dead to you, so that you can still think you are a great parent… That qualifies as dysfunction in all the psychology textbooks I have studied. Very much like King David, never dealing with his son’s actions and behaviors regarding the rape of a young woman, which led to brothers killing brothers… This is how conflict was dealt with in my family of origin. David tried to act like nothing was wrong, ignored the injustice in his very own household and carried on like no big deal. Probably, very much how David himself felt as a young boy when his father overlooked him and he was not even called in from the fields to be considered for Samual’s kingly anointing.
Some of the lessons I have learned from counseling and years allowing God to fix this wound in my heart is that you don’t always recognize the sickness unless you have been well. Since I left home when I was just 19, I have had almost as many years out of the environment as in, and I have a the ability to see, feel, and taste what health and wholeness is all about. It has not been easy to realize that I don’t need to be perfect in order to be loved, and that I don’t deserve to be blamed for things that other people did. Some of the most eye opening realizations come from just talking to people. Families come in all shapes, sizes and degree’s of wellness. It has opened my eyes to see that my own childhood was far from normal and most clinical experts would agree it was oppressive, if not out right abusive.
Healing comes as I accept that I can’t change the past. I can’t make people love me, I can’t earn affection. I can’t even look at God as a good father through my earthly lenses, I need a fresh revelation of the goodness of God, how loving, kind, generous and faithful He really is. So I search the scriptures and underline the character traits of this amazing heavenly Father we have and it slowly it transforms my thinking and not only that, enlightens my ability to bring these characteristics into my own parenting. I am thankful that my kids have a father that loves them without condition and without restraint, they know they don’t ever have to earn love and affection, and that their daddy loves to give them good gifts. They also know that we love them enough to discipline them, we don’t turn a blind eye to wrong, we make sure they are grounded in reality and not living in a fantasy realm. We embrace each one of our children as an individual, responsible for themselves, while still creating a sense of community and teamwork for the greater good of our family. Our home is a safe place, no one walks on eggshells wondering what is going to set off an outburst today. Everyday, my children are prayed for, blessed and told they are loved. Simple things that create a lasting impact and create a sense of wellness in our home.
Maybe you share a similar story to mine, but I want to give you the freedom to change your future. Seek wellness, go to counseling! Find out what healthy feels like and pursue it like its your number one goal in life. Stop the cycle of dysfunction and create a safe and loving environment for the next generation. And then forgive, let go, mourn for yourself as a child, but don’t let bitterness take root. Psalms 68:6 tells us that God places the lonely in families. Ask God for a new family, ask Him to show you what healthy families look like. You might have discovered, like I did, that no family is perfect, but many are very good. And you might even be shown that there are a lot of healthy high functioning broken people in this world that don’t allow the past to determine their future. This is the camp you will find me hanging out in. My life is far from perfect, and some days I struggle to make it to bedtime and maintain my sanity, but it is good and blessed.
This is the blessing/prayer we pray over our children every single night as we tuck them into bed. It is such a lovely generational blessing, since it is the same blessing my father-in law prays over his own children, friends and loved ones whenever he gets a chance.
“The Lord bless you, and keep you; The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.”(Numbers 6:24-26)