A few months back I was feeling a bit restless. My frustration drove me to start asking tough questions about where are we going as a family. Some of these were rolling around my brain…. How do each of us have a special unique place in this family and still in our calling as a whole family unit? How do we steer in the direction we want to go and not allow the days to slip away? How do we navigate the seemingly endless sea of “great stuff to do” to find the best thing for us? How do we make the most of the time we have at this moment right now? How can we foster an environment of acceptance and love and yet also challenge each other to follow God’s call no matter where that takes each one of us? How do we follow where ever He leads and help raise children who are fearless of the world but fear God?
It hit me that Anni was a baby like… yesterday and I do not want to wake up one morning with teenagers and wonder where the time went or wished we would have taken more time to be together as family. We want to foster an openness with our kids so that even when they think we are nerds (or worse) they know for sure we love and value them. That they are special , unique creations that are prized by their Creator and by us. It won’t happen by accident or because we really, really hope for it. We need God’s grace. And we want to be better at seeking Him as a family. Together.
So, out of all this asking came some well spent time reflecting, praying, and in the end a family mission statement. When J and I got married way back in the caveman days we wrote a mission statement for our marriage. It still hangs on our fridge, albeit food splattered and worn having traveled across continents. We decided to create a new statement based on us right now and what we want for our family in the future. I was inspired by my old college roomie and friend from high school in a post she wrote
a while back. I found these suggestions
and these too
very helpful in asking questions and guiding our discussion and jump starting us in writing our own.
J and I discussed, prayed, and talked about where we are going as a family and where we want to be going and how we do not think we will get there without vision and action. What values we want to permeate our home and lives. How each moment is to be savored in the now and each moment in the future is to be anticipated with joy. And how we need to reflect, learn, struggle, celebrate, and give thanks as a family.
So in the hopes of maybe inspiring someone out there to find their own family’s mission here is ours (made all fancy by a FB friend in cyberspace- thanks Amy!). Not perfect, probably too wordy, but ours…….
Each week we are also doing a family meeting that begins with some enthusiastic bell ringing by Annikah and ends with us eating ice cream together. But it is the time in between that has been life giving (even if we have to break up the occasional sister slap down).
We read our vision statement and scripture and then everyone answers these questions (ok, to be fair Evy mostly grunts and throws things)…..
1. What was the best part of your week?
2. What was the hardest part of your week?
3. Can anyone here help you in anything going on?
4. Do I need forgiveness from anyone here?
5. What is going on in God’s world right now? (We talk about a country or people or world news and then pray)
6. What is God teaching me right now?
7. What will I do this week to love God and love people more?
Then we read any scripture pertaining to what we discuss. We also have a special family meeting board hanging in our dining room where anyone can write something they want to ask or dicuss at family meeting. Anni always comes up with some great questions…..
We are recording family meeting minutes that already serve as a sweet reminder of just how good God is in our lives. We just take time as a family to breathe in life and try to help each other discern and understand and process. Our first family meeting Jason and I shared that for us the hardest thing right now was the sadness we feel about not being able to adopt from here. We were shocked when Annikah started crying and said she she wants the baby to come now too and feels so sad too. It was so amazing to process some of our grief about as a family and we honestly never would have known she was holding on to some sadness about it if we had not taken the time to just ask and listen.
So much of being a family is consumed by the daily “musts” and chaos but these are the moments we really get to see how incredibly blessed we are to walk this road together, as a family.