This is what I dream about for my future -- all my children coming home with their spouses and children and we sit together at dinner sharing great conversation.
Will it ever happen? I have no idea.
The Reagan family is a made-up family. It exists only in film. But sometimes I think we can look at real families from the outside and think other families must function like the Reagan family.
There might be some ideal families out there somewhere but the longer I live the more I realize that most families are dysfunctional but functional in their dysfunction. God uses broken families just as they are to show the world Himself.
Author Jessica LaGrone writes, "Every family since the beginning of time has been broken and blessed."
Look at the families God showcases in the Bible -- the famous ones He used to start the walk of Faith. Abraham sometimes was a coward and a liar. Other times he was a warrior and faithful. He was called the friend of God
Just read Genesis and you will see the dysfunction. It's everywhere. But those are the families God chose.
And God chooses your family to shine for Him in this world -- in all its brokenness; in all its quirkiness; in all its problems and pain. He chooses your family for His purposes.
It is out of the brokenness He will bless.
It is out of the pain He will inspire.
It is out of the problems He will bring joy.
He will take the mess of us and bring about His restoration if we let Him.
I'm reading a book called Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness by Kathryn Greene-McCreight.
Mental illness is one of the last stigmas in society and in the church that is tolerated. A lot of this stigma is based in fear because illnesses of the mind can be very scary -- so hard to understand. When someone breaks a leg it is easy to see the injury and it easy to understand why it is going to take time to heal. But when there are illnesses in the mind nothing but behavior can be see. And since most people in the world have experienced sadness, even prolonged sadness, the ones who haven't experienced real mental illness think people should be able to snap out of it on their own. But if this is seriously thought about, this should prove false to any real thinker. The brain is the most complicated and misunderstood organ in our bodies.
What does this have to do with dysfunction and families?
A great deal.
(But it is also a tangent I don't need to delve into any further in this post.)
Embrace your family as it is. Appreciate how it functions. Love each family member. Do not compete with each other. You are on the same team. Offer your family to God. Ask Him to use your family just as it is. See family gatherings as opportunities to see God at work. Don't resent family members. They are most likely doing the best they can.