The greatest story every told, is a story about a family. Through the illustration of the family, God describes His relationship with us. Through faith in Christ we are called children of God (Gal. 3:26, 4:7; Rom. 8:14; 2 Cor. 6:18; John 1:12). The Bible also likens the church to a bride (Eph. 5:22-27). Why would God use the illustration of Father and Husband? Because He planned the family to be the home of our most valuable relationships. In family, life is given, developed, and released into destiny. God designed family to be critical to every stage of life, from conception to death.
Our families, and the relationships within them, are precious to Jesus. Whether we are single, married with children, married without children, divorcees, or empty-nesters, we all have some sort of family experience. Whether we grew up in the perfect sitcom family, or lived through total dysfunction, we have been shaped by our families. Our family background does not define who we are, but it is part of our story, and God wants to use it.
My parents did not grow up in church; they met Jesus after they were married. They both came from very broken and hurt environments. After they gave their lives to Christ and began attending church, their entire lives changed. In one generation, they turned from total family dysfunction to a family marked by love and support. We were not perfect, but I am in awe of what God did in one generation because of two people who set their minds to create a Godly family.
Now that I have a family of my own, my desire is to raise a family who loves God, each other, and the church. I thank God for the choices my parents made. Their decision to follow Jesus has affected every generation that will follow them. This is the way God intended family to be, that one generation would pass His word on to the next and each generation would become greater. We will go from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18), strength to strength (Ps. 84:7), grace to grace (John 1:16).
Not everyone was raised in a family that was safe for development. The idea of God being a father or a husband may be terrifying. Not every home taught the best way to live or spoke about who we could be in Christ. But God takes our broken places and will heal them as we allow Him to. The brokenness my parents experienced growing up could have caused our family to fall prey to the same issues, but my parents allowed Jesus to come and heal their lives. My prayer for your family, whether it feels fractured or strong, is that each person will experience God in a real way and fully believe His goodness and greatness.
My husband and I are passionate about seeing families healthy and strong throughout the church. The series in September has been on the Vision of our church. One Sunday, as I sat listening to the message, I was struck with the thought that the entire family needs to be part of the church vision. Although children may not understand the same illustrations we do or be able to sit through an entire message, they want to be part of what God is doing in the church just as we do, if not more. Out of that moment I wrote a three-week family devotional relating to the key words of our church vision – BELIEVE, BECOME, BUILD.
These devotionals are meant to be quick, family-friendly times of discussion, no longer than 10-15 minutes. They can be done after a meal, in the car, before bed, or any time. There are separate discussion questions for preschoolers, elementary age, and teens. My prayer is that this devotional will be used to pass on vision to the next generation, just as my parents passed it on to me. Let’s see what can be done in one generation through our lives!
With love, Katie
Katie and Phil have been married for 15 years and have three boys. They are non-staff pastors at The City Church. Katie is passionate about marriage, family, and the local church. She serves on the service production team, leads City Groups and teaches Middle School Math at City Christian School. In her free time, Katie loves to be outdoors with her family (watching her boys play sports, go hiking, swimming, or roasting smores) or writing devotionals for her blog.
To connect with Katie, join her City Group, Team or follow her blog for working moms at thatworkingmomlife.wordpress.com.