Monday, May 9, 2011

Talk about family troubles

When we open up the book of Genesis and turn to about chapter 27 we are introduced to the family of Jacob. Think you come from a family with troubles? Think your the only one with scandal in your family? A tree that branches out in every direction? Oh, what we can learn from, Jacob.

First we have, the brothers, Jacob and Esau. Jealousy was already alive between these two brothers. Oh, and now lets bring in the sisters, Rachel and Leah, both married to Jacob. Confused yet? Well see, Jacob is in love with Rachel, but ends up marrying Leah first and then has to work out a deal with their dad to marry Rachel also.

Now, Jacob is married to Rachel and Leah. Do you have a blended family? His, hers, and ours? Wait, is that proper grammar?

We have a blended family. When my husband and I married, he had two children and I had two. Together we had, Jacob. We married when all our children were young. I must say in the beginning things were quite easy. We never used the words step, half or blended. We were a family. All seven of us. Our children have always been close. You ask them how many brothers and sisters they have, they add in everyone!

Lets keep moving ahead. Now, Rachel isn't able to have children. She is madder than a hornet being bothered on a hot day. Why? Because, Leah just keeps having child after child and here is Rachel who feels as though she isn't complete without giving, Jacob, a son. So, now there is a great competition between the sisters, the wives. I think this could have very well been the first Sister Wives show!!

Now, Leah has Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun and Dinah. So now, Leah and Jacob have seven children. Right? Well, Rachel gets her maid, Bilhah, to lay with Jacob. She has two sons with Jacob. Dan and Naphtali. Now, Leah begins to get angry because of this so she gets her maid involved. Zilpah has, Gad and Asher. Whew, do you have all that? Well, we aren't finished yet! Last but not least, here comes little Joseph from Rachel, Jacob's favorite. Don't you just know these brothers all tried grasping for the top. I imagine they all wanted their dad's attention, but only one seems to have found it. It couldn't have always been that way though. Joseph was the youngest. What was life like before he got there? Did these brothers get along? Can you imagine the family dinners?

I must say I think the maids got the raw end of the deal. Really, would you have wanted to be a maid in this family? I can't help but wonder what life was like for them. Laying with Jacob? Having children they would never call their own?

Rachel always was Jacob's princess. He had his eye on her from the very beginning. Now she has had a son for her beloved, Jacob. We look at Joseph as being the baby of the family, but think of Dinah? The only girl in the whole bunch. What a time she must have had in the midst of all this testosterone.

We have betrayal, jealousy, envy and strife of every kind. I am sure more than once that there was a, "He said, she said, moment." We have this huge family trying on every level to come together, each wanting to be accepted and loved. Each wanting to fit in and all wanting to live in peace. It seems the more they tried the more the pot stirred. Ever feel that way? Oh, I have been there. You know the problem. You try with all your might to make it better, but then you have that moment where everything turns and now the whole situation is made worse. Now you sit back and think to yourself, "Gosh, why didn't I just stay out of it all?"

It all began with a look. Jacob saw Rachel and had to have her. In betrayal, Laban, her father, betrays Jacob, tricking him into marrying Leah. You just know that is not a good start to any marriage. I mean, here we have two sisters who already battle it out. One carried beauty within, while the other seemed to have everything going for her on the outward appearance. But was it really? Rachel seems to be the insecure one to me. Makes you wonder if Laban made his daughters feel love. Did they know they were beautiful? Did they really know they were special just as they were? Did he make them feel like a princess? We find them searching for love in Jacob. I am not so sure if he was the best pick. He might have made a great contestant on, The Bachelor. Really, can you imagine his life? Struggling all these women? Trying to lead his family? And having trouble of his own with his brother, Esau?

This family needed counseling. See, your not the only one. I'm not the only one. We all tend to compare our family. You know we do. We look at those other families who seem to have it all going for them. Everything seems in perfect place, but be careful what you wish for. No one really knows what lies behind the closed curtains. The sad thing? We try so hard to have the perfect family. We want others to think we are perfect. Why not just be real? Why not just simply share with others our imperfections? Because then it looks as if there is something wrong with us. It looks as if we have failed. When in fact nothing could be further from the truth.

This is how we show others we are in need of a Savior. Through our trials and imperfections we show others we are walking in faith. The only way we are holding on is through the grace and mercy we find in our Savior, Jesus Christ. When we are real we are believable. When we are real others will allow us to reach into their lives, gaining their trust.

We all have family trials. We all struggle on a daily basis. You find someone who says different, they are not telling the truth. We are imperfect on our own, but through Christ we are perfect in every way. In all those things we try so hard to keep secret, God can use each one for His glory and honor. If we only turn to Him and trust Him completely.

We have to stop comparing ourselves to others. We have to stop looking at other families and wishing we had what they appear to have. We can't compare our children. Nor can we continue to bring up the past when the future is waiting to behold our attention with purpose and passion.

Do you have a family that is having a difficult time? We have all been there. We all have a story to tell. I am sure there were lots of baggage in this family. The sins of the fathers and mothers carried over to their children. But if God could give us a glimpse back in time I am sure we would find good days too. I am sure we would see blessings this family gave praise for. We must not focus on all the difficulties before us or behind us, but keep our eyes on the Lord, trusting Him and knowing He will bring about peace. He will find a way to make it all work out for His good. We may not be able to change yesterday. Our tree might look as if it came from a science fiction novel. We can begin today with a fresh start. Today is a new day.

One person can make a difference. Through the prayers of one many are saved. Peace is found and forgiveness is just around the bend. Joy is reachable. We may not be able to change others, but we can change ourselves. We can work on how we react to others. We can live our life for the Lord and live in complete surrender. When we find ourselves in the Lord in all things, we find that HE will make all else around us right. Just look what He did in the life of Joseph.
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