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Family Matters

by Annie Brown

Cultivating a Meaningful Marriage 

God’s original design for marriage is becoming less embraced or celebrated by the world. With divorce rates over fifty percent, it is more common to come from a broken home than not. Though significant issues such as infidelity and abuse continue to be the primary contributors of legal separation, marriage is simply less sacred. Billboards will tell us to get a divorce because life is short, and bakeries will make celebratory cakes when a marriage ends. 

The Biblical purpose of marriage is to glorify God as man and wife. As seen in the creation account of Scripture, two is better than one. A united husband and wife that is walking both individually and together with Christ has a great opportunity to impact the kingdom of heaven for years to come. Because God-honoring marriage is rare today, the next generation is given a gift in the example of such couples. 

The blessings of a meaningful marriage are undeniable. With all wonderful things, work is required. I choose to avoid the term “hard” when describing marriage. Intentional focus, honest confession, occasional grief, and extravagant forgiveness are fitting terms for a lifelong commitment to your spouse. These things require grit and patience. 

Our walk with Christ requires humility, and the same is true to enjoy the gift of marriage. Philippians chapter two reminds us to consider others more often than ourselves. This goes against our natural human instincts that beg for self-gratification. Choosing to serve our spouse with intent and for the glory of God strengthens us to navigate even the most challenging seasons. While marriage will require us to put in significant work, God is faithful to grow husbands and wives in love and intimacy. 

Practically, marriages blossom when spouses make time for one another. My husband and I call experiences and conversations that benefit our marriage “pocket investments.” From elegant date nights to reading a fifteen-minute devotional together, both are deposits in our marriage account. Over time and with consistency, each pocket investment will accrue interest as we set aside special times to focus solely on each other in meaningful ways. 

As a pastor’s wife, I spend a lot of time right alongside my husband. Because I am equally passionate about student ministry, I choose to attend most all events and church functions with him. We have an incredibly fun time serving together. Yet, if we are not careful, we can count these moments as quality time together. We are learning that it is essential to plan and budget for a regular date night. It was the two of us first, and our marriage is the example we cultivate for generations to come. 

Cultivating a Faithful Family 

Scripture says that children are a gift from the Lord. From conception onward, every life has significant value and purpose. Children are never accidents, and they are always a part of God’s perfect plan. Raising children to one day release them into the world as true disciples of Christ is one of the most rewarding privileges a couple will have. 

The love of our perfect Father is seen in providing for children. We meet their needs because we love them and want what is best for them. There is nothing that our children can do to make us love them more or less. The same is true of God’s love for us. He loves without condition and regardless of our position towards him.

As parents and caregivers, we have the opportunity to raise a generation of kingdom warriors. The role of a parent is exhaustive and never complete for a minimum of eighteen years. Each stage of a child’s development has unique challenges and joys. There is a singular goal for each season. We must point our children to Jesus Christ. 

In cultivating a faithful family, I am reminded of the book of Deuteronomy. The Lord repeatedly commands the Israelites to remember and share both his law and his goodness with generations to come. Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working.” A faithful family is committed to reading, knowing, and teaching God’s Word. This unfolds within every mundane and grandiose moment. It takes place in a household of working parents and stay at home parents. Faithful parents foster fruitful conversations wherever they go and in whatever they do. 

I recently heard a story from a dear friend that had the opportunity to experience a Hawaii trip with her husband and five children. While there, their middle daughter had several unpleasant interactions with another little girl on the playground. My friend knew this family and that they were not believers. After gently addressing the hurtful comments, my friend used this opportunity as a valuable teaching moment for her daughter. They prayed for the entire family’s salvation. In God’s sovereignty, just hours after praying, my friend received a text message from another Christian woman on the trip. The unsaved family was getting to hear the Gospel at the airport, and prayers were very quickly being answered. Paradise was not a vacation from prayerfulness for this family. The Gospel does not get put on a shelf and left at home. It goes with us to the mountain top and valley low. Nothing will ever matter more than making Jesus known. 

Scripture memory is a powerful and practical tool to implement as a family. Guiding our children in their emotions and struggles is best done with Scripture at the center. Practically, we can implement this by focusing on a verse each week. Whether driving down the road to sports practice or before falling asleep at night, we can recall the verse. Proverbs says that we must have God’s Word written on the tablets of our hearts. The best gift we can offer our children is a growing understanding of the heart of our Lord.

Cultivating a Servant Spirit 

Serving as a family means that respect is a centralized discipline. Without respect for others, our children are unable to sense the need for serving. James tells us that pure religion is in how we care for orphans and widows, while remaining unstained from the world. 

In respecting someone as an image-bearer of God, we begin to love without limit. Our belief about one’s purpose and worth grows when we remember the Creator. In seeing someone for more than their situation or even their sin, we can serve, as a family, with genuine concern. 

There are tremendous needs around us. Abortion clinics are full of women who most commonly feel afraid and unsupported. Thousands of innocent babies are killed because a woman felt as though this were her only option. I recently heard a statement regarding the pro-life and pro-choice movements. The person said that these issues are a matter of one’s stance. As a believer we are unwaveringly for life, yet even more so, we are to be pro-love. Being pro-love means that there are actions to back our position. James also tells us that by not tangibly serving a person in need, we have offered no help at all. Christ-centered families are loving the least of these in significant action. 

Though not every family will be called to adopt a child or house a widow in need, every family can play a role in impacting lives for eternity. Statistically, we are less anxious people when the needs of others are placed before our own. Comparison and envy are less prominent when witnessing the difficult circumstances of those we serve. Bitterness has no place when realizing how minimal our obstacles are in comparison to a grieving widow or helpless orphan. This is the type of home to desire, a place of peace and warmth because Jesus and others are at the center of all we do.

May our family unit love in action. We take on the heart of God in our intentional focus of his perfect design. The beauty of marriage, family, and serving is that we observe the Lord in each facet. We see his attributes on display and grow in faithfulness, worship, and gratitude.  





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