Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dreaming of family

When you dreamed of your family before it ever was to be, what did your dream look like? Did it take on the appearance of a table gathered with great food with every chair filled? Maybe each weekend a yard filled with children and grand children? Vacations, special moments of joy shared together, phone calls on Sunday, going to church together, weddings, babies, just all around togetherness? I know I did. I always dreamed of family. As a child, it was just me, mom and dad. I can say, I struggled being the only child at home. I saw friends who had large families of siblings and I missed that. Even though I never had it, I knew I was missing it. Oh, my mom and dad, made me feel loved, but for me there seemed to always be something missing. When I grew up I was going to make sure my family was close.

We all dream of what family should be. We picture our home filled with all kinds of sights and sounds. We think of hearing that phone ring weekly and getting to talk to our kids. Christmas and Easter filled with blessings overflowing.

Last night I had a dream about my daughters. It was a lovely dream. One I didn't want to wake from. When my daughters were young we were so very close. I would have never envisioned our relationship to be as it is today. It is almost non-existant. I cannot even begin to share with you how painful that is. I miss them so terribly. I would love to have that relationship I always dreamed of having with my adult daughters.

My son and I are very close. Home is special. It is sweet. We spend much of our time here just gathered together. The three of us. We see those special people we miss, but we never forget to see the blessings in front of us. We know how quickly they can disappear.

Family should be love. It should be accepting. It should be forgiveness. Your family should come above all else. The only thing that should come before family is your relationship with God. Family should be comfort. It should be peace. It should be that safe place. It should be truth. A family grows together. It shouldn't be growing apart.

When we differ in opinion, shouldn't we be accepting and know that in love we can agree to disagree? When someone gets angry shouldn't you be able to talk, instead of casting them out of your life? How are you and your family doing? Do you ever feel as though your failing?

We set our sights so high. We dream of so much. When those dreams are scattered like the wind, what do you do? Missing your family can completely tear you apart from the inside out. It can feel like your insides are being ripped out piece by piece. Really, what do you do when you have tried and tried?

You begin to walk on egg shells. You begin to not say anything that might upset another. Your careful in everything you say and do because your afraid someone will become angry and walk away. Without communication, there cannot be a relationship. So many times we misunderstand one other because we simply won't take the time to try to understand. It's our way or the highway.

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself; is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

I believe God makes it pretty clear what love is and isn't. Are you finding love in your family? I think this is where we look across the road at the neighbors and begin to ponder what their lives are like. This might where we begin to ponder, "Is the grass greener on the other side?" We see families at the zoo and wish our family was with us. There have been times I have picked up the phone just to hear my children's voice on the other end. Even if it was just the answering machine. It hurts not to have your family with you. Can you relate?

We begin to wonder, "What is wrong with me?" Sometimes there is no communication and we don't even know why. Many times angry ignites and nothing is said. So, how are we to know what's wrong if no one is telling us? How can we apologize if we don't know what we have done? Sometimes we can be moving right along, thinking everything is great. Out of no where, here it comes once more. That relationship cut to an end. An end that you are left hanging onto with all your might. You don't want to give up. You sure don't want to walk away. Does there come a point and time when you must?

We can look back when our children were young and everything was simple. They wanted to hold your hand. They wanted to snuggle in tight. The more time they spent with you the better. Then, they grow up. Your still wanting to be close, but they are trying to move as far away as possible. That is hard for a parent to understand when you have given so much. Your love for your children couldn't be stronger. But what happens when it's not returned? What happens when you reach out and nothing is coming back but silence?

For me, I have to get to the place where I can let go of my dreams and trust the Lord. I must get to the place where I realize it's not about me. It's not my wants, but it is the will of God that is important. Sometimes family must go through trial and error before they come to that humble place where they can stop looking at themselves and see what is really important. If we don't have a relationship with Christ, can we really have a lasting relationship with another, especially with one who is living out of the will of God?

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

We can take family for granted. We can think they will always be here. We don't have to worry about today, I will give them a call tomorrow. We selfishly think, "I'm not ready to say, 'I'm sorry'". Sometimes tomorrow never comes. Then we are left with what if's and why didn't I's. We should live without regret. There is always a way to work things out if we will only give the time. If we will only open our hearts to truth instead of lies. Sometimes we see only what we want to see. What we must remember is there are two sides to every conflict. But on both, the pain is very real. Healing can only come if we reach out.

I talk to my mom on the phone almost daily. We might skip a day here and there, but usually it's daily. I lost my dad when I was just a teenager. I use to think he would always be here for me. Even after he was diagnosed with cancer I never imagined my dad not being here. I just couldn't accept that. It was a fact that I had to face. It was then that I knew I would never take my family for granted. Sure, I may have made some mistakes. As parents we always do. It is part of growing. I believe we grow up as we grow our children. It's funny really. We all want forgiveness, but we aren't always willing to forgive ourselves. We all want acceptance, but we aren't willing to accept others. We make time for what is important to us. We are busy with what we want to be busy with. Too often we don't make time for our family. We set them aside for later. It's just that later, well, it doesn't always come.

Is there a perfect family? Nope. I don't believe so. Only our Savior is perfect. Through Him we can find perfection. For us? We are all a work in progress. I can say, I am not the same girl I once was when I had my first child at twenty-one. I am growing into the woman God has called me to be. Through those twenty-three years of being a mom I have had those moments where I know the Lord was proud. I too have had those moments I wish I could do over again. Do you? I think if we are honest we all do. The thing is, how can expect so much from one if we ourselves are not living up to that standard? Just maybe if we were all focusing on being the best person we could be in Christ Jesus we wouldn't be so eager to see the faults in others. Just what if we encouraged one another along instead of tried breaking one another?

Gosh, I just don't know. What are your thoughts on family? Where do you go when all is broken? For me, I fall to my knees and seek out my Savior. It is His love that completes me. It is His strength that keeps me moving forward. It is His grace that continues to call me to my knees. It's funny really. We are always mothers. It doesn't matter if our children are young or if they have grown. We are still mommas that want nothing more than to love our children. Many times we never realize the truth of the matter until we too have children of our own. It is then that we will face some of those same issues and many others. But most assuredly, wouldn't it be nice to have your momma there to share them with?
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