As children, what we see in a family setting often defines what “family” should look like. Both of our boys love us, and are completely bonded with us.
But one doesn’t often let us help him. He doesn’t want to be entangled by some facets that are intrinsic to being part of a family. He yearns to be self-sufficient, even as he craves spending time together, just the four of us.
Instilling our vision of family into our boys has been . . . challenging. As we try to model family looking like this: helping each other, putting each other first, loving each other through life’s hard, the lessons are hard taught and not often caught. I don’t know how much of the “hard” can be attributed to the adoption aspect of their identities, or just their sin natures (we all deal with this!).
Ideally, family is committing to love each other in our best, and at our ugliest. It’s that safe place where we know we’ll still be loved, no matter what. Sometimes, family members make sacrifices in order for one member to succeed. Relationships and hearts are interwoven, tightly knit together.
At times, being part of a family hurts. It can be inconvenient. As a mom, there’s a constant dying to self. Each day, we’re figuring out how to do life together, as the Takenaka clan.
How many times have I struggled with God’s definition of family?
How many times have I pushed away His love because I felt like I had to prove myself to Him, or to those around me?
How many times have I done things on my own?
God made me a woman who is good at “self-sufficient” . . . for a little while. It’s a gift, but it can also be a curse. That self-sufficiency tends to encourage me to live independently of God.
It tends to cause me to shut people out who want to help. Especially if they have disappointed me in some way. Yes, and I’m hanging my head, I’ve shut my boys out when they didn’t do something, and I did that thing myself. With the disastrous effect of making them feel “less than.”
Though human families aren’t perfect, God is. Though I can, at best, love incompletely, He loves us perfectly, passionately, sacrificially. With complete abandon.
When I embrace His love . . .
. . . His training for me as His daughter . . .
. . . I grow in my understanding of what family looks like in His eyes.
He surrounds us with community so we can learn how to live in His family . . . making mistakes, forgiving, learning how to love well, even as He does.
As I walk out being God’s daughter, I’m hoping our boys are seeing the benefits and the sacrifices of living in the community of family (both our immediate family, and the family of people around us).
We’re going to make mistakes, but family forgives.
We’re going to hurt each others’ feelings, but we will also talk it through and love each other through those times.
We each have the opportunity to be loved by God and to learn how to love others.
Just like God does for us.
What about you? What defines your family? What lessons have you learned that you are living out with family (biological or community)?