Family Matters

We’ve started watching “Little House on the Prairie” with Audrey. She has loved the first couple books in the series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, so we thought the show might bring some of the stories to life. We’re enjoying it! It’s wholesome and educational and sweet; the true story of a family who pulling together and finding joy even through the very real hardships of pioneer life.

In the episode last night, a hailstorm destroyed the family’s entire wheat crop and Pa had to walk miles and miles to find work to replace the lost income he’d been counting on. He landed a grueling job slinging a hammer all day, breaking up huge boulders that needed to be cleared to make way for a railroad. The love and selflessness Pa displayed as he did the back-breaking work to provide for his family; as well as the ingenuity and determination Ma showed at home by gathering the women of the town to salvage what wheat they could from the all-but-ruined fields, stirred feelings of “right-ness” within me; a sense of “this is the way it’s supposed to be.”

I couldn’t help but start to compare and contrast the sacrificial devotion this father and mother had to their family to where we are as a society today; a place where the “Me First” movement has elevated individual autonomy to be the ultimate goal; where selfishness translates into “life well-lived”.

We’ve been sold the lie that we have to look out for number one; that we can depend on no one but ourselves. And the people in our lives have proven it to us over and over again. I am the product of a broken home. I’ve been in more than my share of toxic relationships. I get it. Trusting people is hard when all they ever seem to do is hurt you.

It seems wise to protect ourselves; to disassociate from relationships that, in our experience, bring nothing but pain and bitterness.

This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.

Family is supposed to be beautiful.

We only have to look to the first chapter of Genesis to see God giving Adam the gift of a wife and telling the two to be fruitful and get started on some babies! God loves family! It’s his idea!

We also don’t have to look much further to see sin and destruction enter the world. This was not God’s idea. But here we are.

Sin and selfishness have damaged the family since the beginning. And you can bet that the Ingalls family, loving as they were, did their share of hurting one another, because they were all sinners, too.

Throughout history, people have abandoned God’s instructions and chased after their own selfish desires.

Throughout history, Satan has tried to destroy what God calls good. And he’s not doing a terrible job.

So what’s different about today? Are things getting worse? I think so. These days, the very fabric of the nuclear family, the gift given to us by God, is being torn apart at the seams.

Here’s what the world says:

Marriage is here today, gone when something better comes along.

If you do get married, women, you need to hold onto your independence! Don’t combine your money, and for God’s sake, don’t stop working! You don’t want to live a meaningless life as a domestic, do you?

And men, don’t you dare take on the responsibility as the head of the household! Just talk about your feelings all the time and make sure you aren’t being whatever is viewed as toxic these days. And please don’t chop wood. That’s so 1870.

Children are drains on the ecosystem, the wallet, and the social life. It’s ethically irresponsible to have more than one or two. Better yet, don’t have any at all. I know a place that can help you with that.

Sex is not just for marriage. And it’s not just for men and women. Or just for two. Anyone. Anywhere. Anytime. And don’t you dare say anything different.

Also, what is a woman?

Family is no longer valued, because “self” is ultimate.

The family has never been perfect, because it’s made up of imperfect people. But it is still God’s design and it is still beautiful. How many misguided but precious people are going to miss out on it because they’ve been told to value their “autonomy” above all else?

Marriage can be hard, but marriage is also beautiful. A godly marriage is a man and woman desiring to love and serve one another through the ups and downs of life. It’s having your very best friend by your side no matter what. It’s a lifelong partnership. I never dreamed I would be gifted with such an honest, caring, supportive husband, but God has blessed me beyond my wildest imagination. And it’s so good! Not perfect. But worth it. Marriage is a picture of the everlasting love God has for his people.

And children? Well, they are a gift from the Lord! Do they hinder our social life? Um, yes. But if we are still trying to find fulfillment in happy hour, maybe we’re listening to the lie that we can’t be satisfied at home. They are expensive. And sometimes they smell like poo. But there is nothing better than a sweet little head snuggling in our your shoulder while you watch Little House on the Prairie. I’m just saying.

The departure as a society away from God had led to a rapid departure from family values. It has plunged us into chaos and confusion. People are literally chasing after their imaginations in order to try to fill the void and to find a sense of meaning, belonging, and identity. None of it will ever satisfy. The self-obsessed life will leave us empty and hopeless (been there, done that) because our hope and identity is found only in God and in his good plan for us, which includes a family that honors him and tries to love one another according to his instruction.

A return to the family values given to us by God is the antidote to the Me First Movement that is systematically destroying everything it touches. When we live sacrificially; when we resist sin and selfishness; when we choose to stick it out; when we forgive and reconcile with one another; we shine the love of Christ into the world. Some may hate it and mock it; call it old-fashioned. But some will recognize that it’s just what they’ve been searching for.

I wasn’t brought up in a godly home. But Audrey will be. And I’m thankful.

Angela

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