The Myth of the Perfect Family
Have you hoped for a perfect family? What comes to mind when you think about your familial relationships? Some of you find it difficult to think of your family in a positive light.
Others might have happy memories. Many of us have bought into the myth of the perfect family. Why? Our desire is to believe that if we possess certain family values, our families will be perfect.
For instance, if a family or individual follows Jesus or practices Christianity, their lives will be absent of heartache. Right?
Nope…..I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it isn’t true. And unfortunately, it is a fairy tale that many buy into.
I know because I bought into it. I thought…. hey… if I just practice my religion and follow the rules, nothing bad will happen. Boy, was I wrong.
When I was a little girl, my family experienced divorce, sexual abuse, drug addiction and overdose, death, adultery, illness, and domestic violence. I wondered when God would wave His magic wand to make it all stop.
And there were many occasions when I shook my fist at God in fits of rage because I thought He abandoned me to this mess. My doubts of God’s existence consumed me.
I wasn’t about to believe in a God who allowed all of this horrible crap to happen to me. What happened to my perfect family?
When I became a young adult, I began to understand there is a purpose in all this pain.
No, God did not get me out of the situations I was in, but He gave me the strength to get through it all and helped me realize my need for a Savior. God also helped me learn just how messy relationships are.
Relationships Are Messy
As I took my first wobbly steps into adulthood, I married someone who would eventually break my heart and obliterate our family with his choice to sexually abuse our daughter.
We divorced and the aftermath resembled the chaos of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Again, I wondered where God was in all this and how He could allow my sweet daughter to suffer at the hands of her biological father. My faith was weak at best.
Family members began to view me and my children as outcasts and I felt more alone than ever. My sons were experimenting with drugs and alcohol.
I was grasping at straws to keep it all together. My family was a mess and I couldn’t keep up the illusion of perfect anymore.
Miraculously, the Grace and provision of God helped me to surrender my desire for the perfect family. Instead, God gave me hope for His ability to restore me and my family.
God’s Ability to Restore
After my ex-husband went to jail for his violation, things began to turn around.
God provided comfort for our pain through compassion and love from our church family, He provided a way for me and the kids to relocate, allowed me to finish graduate school to become a Counselor for the hurting, and He gave me a new husband.
A husband who loves God and strives to do the right thing. God gave me a second chance at love and restored our lives.
The hope giving lesson I learned through the pain of messy family relationships is, Jesus doesn’t use perfect people. He uses the broken, the ordinary, and the outcasts.
Throughout the Bible, we read true stories of how God uses broken families to carry out His plan and purpose.
In the story of Joseph, we find a young man sold into slavery by jealous brothers, accused of rape, thrown into prison. Then, he was finally made second in command to the ruler of Egypt because of his faithfulness to God.
Eventually, Joseph has the opportunity to face the brothers who threw him away like garbage.
Instead of seeking revenge, God worked in Joseph’s heart for redemption and restoration. The icing on the cake is when God uses Joseph, the outcast, to save all of the Egyptian people, including Joseph’s family from years of starvation. (Genesis 40-45)
Trading Perfection for Grace
After all of the turmoil, doubt, and pain, I have traded my need for a perfect family for grace. In God’s grace, He offers promise in our pain by working all things out for our good. (Romans 8:28)
When we doubt God’s goodness because we would rather have perfection in our relationships and life, we ultimately lengthen our devastation.
When all is said and done, God’s grace offers the vindication and reward for our trouble by giving us the peace that surpasses all understanding despite the chaos whirling around us.
What is your family story? How has God restored you and your family? Share in the comments below….
References: All bible references are retrieved from Bible Gateway.
© 2016 – 2017, Rhonda Marie Stalb. All rights reserved.
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