Elise and I were childhood buddies, way back when... I rode in the rear-facing seat in her family's station-wagon, ate all-natural peanut butter sandwiches at her home, tried my best to learn all of her siblings names, and spent many hours playing under the mimosa tree in her front yard. She has grown to be a woman of deep character and wisdom since our care-free days of make-believe, and I think you will be so blessed by her insight.
p.s. Elise also has a daughter named Selah. So fun! Although I will admit to having 'stole' the name from her ;)
After you read this game-changer, you can, and should, check out more of Elise's powerful writings on her blog, Redeeming the Days.
Cultivating a Godly Family: The Invitation
I was asked :
So... how do I cultivate a Godly family? How do I facilitate a big crazy family who loves each other and loves Jesus?!
I smiled wide and responded an excited yes, yes I would be honored to share some of my experiences growing up as the oldest girl of nine children of Christ-following parents, the good and the bad. I do come from a wonderfully big, crazy family that deeply loves each other and Jesus.
I've been told countless times how blessed I am with family. I believe it wholeheartedly, experience it daily, and am eternally grateful.
But it has been a strange thing for me, remembering childhood. I was looking at pictures with my mom recently, and was surprised that when flipping through all these smiling moments I just had this general feeling of sadness. Not because I had a bad or hard childhood... I didn't. I have tons of joy-filled memories. But I look back with adult eyes and some sadness began to creep in because I recognized clearly, in a fresh way, that we live in a broken world. Even the best parents, siblings, families... are broken.
And this was the at the heart of that soul ache that longs for Jesus to come back: no matter how hard I try I can't keep brokenness out of my home. If for no other reason... because I live there.
So even though I had a dozen thoughts from the start about my family's traditions, and how I am passing them on to my children... I could only scratch out a few very poorly expressed lines on each treasured memory, before hitting a complete block. I finally stopped trying and asked the obvious question:
... then what do you want me to share first, LORD? Where do You want me to start?
This is where He lead:
What makes a home?
There is a physical location, full of belongings...
...but mostly He kept impressing on me that home is about who lives there. My Mom. My Dad. My sisters and brothers. Now for me it's my husband, my children. When they aren’t there... home just isn’t the same. It’s just a house. It is the spiritual beings that live there that give home all it’s memorable, defining characteristics.
So, for me, the beginning of cultivating a Godly family is that God must first be invited, and have a dwelling space among our family, our daily life, to live and be with us and therefore effect in the most profound ways the atmosphere of our home.
My Mom told me once, long before I had a home of my own, that when she and my Dad first bought their home that they literally walked the house, and it’s perimeter, and dedicated the physical space to the LORD. She told me her desire to do this was two-fold:
(1) It stood out to her that God told Abraham to walk the length and the breadth of the land that God was giving him(Genesis 13:17), and (2) she told me she was impacted by these verses which indicated to her that unseen spiritual forces could have “authority” over a physical location.
And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling.
Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia. Now I am here to explain what will happen to your people in the future, for this vision concerns a time yet to come.”
~From Daniel 10(you can read the whole story and commentary here)
My parents dedication of their home, and their prayers for protection over it stayed in my mind, and I knew when I had my own home I would want to do the same.
Soon after my husband and I moved into our home we walked into the different rooms, both yards, and settled in the heart of the house, right on the middle of the stairs, and dedicated “our” space to the LORD. We prayed that God would be honored with our stewardship of the home He had given us. We prayed that He would be glorified in it, that He would dwell here in a powerful and peaceful way and pour out His presence on all who entered. And we asked Him to place His protection around us and all who came into our home from all opposing forces, both seen and unseen.
And from the reports of loved ones, and how they have felt in our home(both at my parents home when I was growing up, and in my home now), I believe God has delighted to accept our physical invitation welcoming Him as the Head of our household.
It is the presence of God that brings joy, peace, purpose, direction, laughter, healing, strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
And I see it in all of these other precious memories that I treasure from growing up... they were invitations for the fullness, the awareness, of the presence of God.
He is always with us, but being aware of His presence is what makes us able to think of ourselves in the correct way, think of Him in the correct way and therefore love Him well, and from the overflow of His love and grace towards us, love others well.
So, though it wasn’t the direction I originally planned to go, the first thing God has impressed upon me about cultivating a godly family is that home is greatly defined by Who lives there. If you haven’t yet and would like to, maybe take a few moments to extend a physical invitation to the LORD welcoming Him as the Head of your household?
Sharing some verses He brought to my mind about "home":
"Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain."
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."
"By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures."
That's it... looking forward to hearing your thoughts! Hope you are having a great day!