I’d Like to Believe {That Our Family Was Meant for More}

Husband and Toddler {at 9 months} walking through our neighborhood streets in Guatemala. 

Husband and Toddler {at 9 months} walking through our neighborhood streets in Guatemala. 

"Some days it seems like everyone here breastfeeds their baby until two, uses cloth diapers, has a huge garden, cans and freezes everything, and has an amazing home cooked meal on the table every night even with six children {who they gave birth to naturally of course.} I feel like people spend a lot of time talking about vaccines and cooking and raising their child in the 'country living' lifestyle, and not enough time on Jesus and what He said in the Bible…Maybe it’s not something you deal with in Chicago a lot, but maybe some of your readers do."

I almost laughed when I read my friend’s email.

Because a few of my closest friends use cloth diapers, my sister is so deep into whole foods that she doesn’t buy shredded cheese anymore, and I just bought an Essential Oils starter kit a couple weeks ago.

My first thought was that my friend was simply trying to take cover through another set of “Mom Wars” that have a way of poisoning relationships. But when I read her email again, I realized that she was getting at something deeper than whatever Mom Trends her neighborhood currently feels passionate about.

I realized that within the lines of her email, my friend was really saying, “I’d like to believe that my family was meant for more. That my family, as followers of Christ, was meant for more than just striving to live up to the word called 'Organic,' or any other parenting pressures.”

It’s not that caring for the wellbeing of our families should really be called a “trend.” It’s not that it’s bad to breastfeed your kid to whom you naturally gave birth, until they turn two years old. It’s not that it’s bad to have a huge garden from which you cook whole food meals from every night. {Sometimes it even makes me want to cheer, “Yay! Christians who care about their health and the environment!”}

But it is one matter for our lives to contain this long list of trends, habits, hobbies, and lifestyle. And it’s an entirely different matter when our life as a Christian family becomes primarily focused on those things. Finds their purpose in those things.

In her email, my friend attached an excellent article called, Organic Food, Essential Oils, and the Gospel of Grace, by Stacy Reaoch. She writes:

When we strongly identify ourselves with a certain lifestyle choice, we evidence our temptation to find our identity and righteousness in that personal preference...If we find our conversations continually revolving around our current pet issue, it’s time to ask whether that issue has become too important in our lives. If we’re constantly passing others information about the way we eat, treat illness, or school our kids, a red flag should be raised in our minds about what we’re really putting our hope in. As Christians, we have a center and hope that far surpasses these “disputable matters.”

My friend wrote, “I feel like people spend a lot of time talking about lifestyle, and not enough time on Jesus and what He said in the Bible.” And that begs the question: What does Jesus say?

The Bible says many things, but here are just a few I’d like to believe as a family, trying to follow Jesus:

I’d like to believe that our family was meant for more than just surviving or being comfortable. I’d like to believe our family was meant for mission. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. {Matthew 28: 19-20}

I’d like to believe that my family can worry less about what we eat and what we wear, and think more about who else we can help feed, who else we can help clothe. I’d like to believe that my family shouldn’t just focus on themselves, but can focus on “Love God and Love My Neighbor.”  Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear...For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…I needed clothes and you clothed me. {Matthew 6:25, Matthew 25:35a, 36a}

I’d like to believe that my passion to love others would not be fueled by competition, disputable matters, or opinions, but would be fueled by Christ’s compassion that He demonstrated on the cross. This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins…We love because He first loved us. {1 John 4:9-10, 19}

I’d like to believe that my family can seek food for the soul, not just food for the body. Can seek wellness of spirit through the truth of His Word. Jesus answered, “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” {Matthew 4:4}

I’d like to believe that the words in my conversations and the thoughts in my mind can have an eternal focus. That my only effort and prayer and passion and dream for my child can be for them to serve God with all their heart, soul, and mind. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. {2 Corinthians 4:18}

I have seen this done before. This thing where Christian families realize they were meant for more:

My "Whole Foods" sister taking her army of children {whom she bore naturally} to the nursing home to visit the elderly from their church.

My "Essential Oils Wellness Coach" friend taking time to minister to me in my grief when we lost our daughter.

My "Cloth Diaper" friend telling the women of our church, "It is on my heart to get involved with a crisis pregnancy center. I'm not sure what that looks like yet, but I'm ready to take steps to begin."

It's beautiful. Inspiring, really.

And it’s a great thing to feel passionate. 

I feel passionate about a lot of things. About a lot of the decisions we, as a couple, make for our family. {And some of you on Facebook know about my special relationship with Peppermint Essential Oil.}

But only One of those “things” can save me. Can offer me grace. Can give me hope beyond my life and death on this earth. Only One of those things aligns my purpose with my passion. And that is Christ. Christ and the salvation that comes FREELY to anyone who believes. 

I love hearing Pastor Francis Chan talk about marriage and parenting, because his focus is always outward, not just on each other as spouses or as a family:

{God} didn’t make me so that I would walk this planet and enjoy my life with a happy little marriage and happy little kids – He created me for something. I know people who don’t know Jesus who have happy marriages. But we have to be focused on this mission, the mission of making disciples.

And I’d like to believe that. That our family was meant for more.

Missions happens in all places. And it looks different for every family. But it never happens without effort or intention.

Grace and Peace,
Kendra

 

P.S. What about you? As Francis Chan asks, "Do you just think about your family, or what God would have you do with your family?"